by Debbie Hodge
I approach making scrapbook pages by asking myself questions that are based upon my understanding of:
- 5 scrapbook page elements (canvas, photos, journaling, title, embellishments), and
- 6 design principles (emphasis, contrast, balance, alignment, repetition, and flow).
It’s not really as formal that sounds, though. The premise is:
- If you know what the 5 page parts (or elements) are (and can hold them “loosely in your mind”) then you know what pieces you might be working with.
- If you know what the 6 design principles are (and I always think “ECBARF” or emphasis, contrast, balance, alignment, repetition, flow) and you “hold them loosely in your mind” and trust the process—you’ll make a page that gets the job done!
Is that too much “loosely holding” for you? Don’t worry. The more you do this, the more subconscious the process becomes.
Here are three questions to work through.
1. What is this page’s purpose?
Knowing the answer to this will drive your page element choices and decisions.
There’s a good chance your purpose in creating any page will be one of the following:
- for your creative expression.
- to provide an opportunity to experiment and/or play with product and/or design.
- to explore a topic and better understand it.
- to create a record of a something that happened (anything from a brief moment to a big event).
- to express how you feel about a specific subject and/or person.
- to convey a message to whoever you plan to share this page with.
- . . . or it may be something else . . . just figure that out and hold it in your mind as you move forward.
2. What role will photos and journaling play on this page?
Ask yourself about these two page elements first because they are the ones that usually define space needs.
ask yourself about photos:
- what photos do you have?
- which do you want to include?
- which do you need to include to achieve the purpose of your page from step #1?
For more on the basics of making photo selections and organizing photos:
- Scrapbooking Stories on Two-Page Layouts
- How to Select Events Photos for Scrapbooking
- Organizing Events Photos
- Organizing Everyday Life Photos
ask yourself about journaling:
- how much journaling will this story require?
- how much space (relative to other parts) will you need for the journaling?
For more on rendering journaling as well as the kinds of considerations to keep in mind:
- Scrapbook Page Journaling: Justification that Strengthens Design
- 10 Ideas for Placing Scrapbook Journaling on Your Page
3. How will title, embellishments, and canvas support your photo and journaling choices?
Everything becomes more intertwined.
Start to think about these three page elements and how they should be approached to achieve a solid design. You’ll circle around, revisiting these pieces in your mind – not for a long time, but as you begin moving things around on the page.
It will be an iterative process.
- do you need a title?
- would you like to use a clever title or would a simple label work?
- how much space does it seem you have for your title given the photo and journaling requirements?
- would you like your title to be a strong part of the design?
- would you like to use it to create flow?
For more on choosing and rendering a page title:
- Scrapbook Page Titles
- 10 ways to make a scrapbook page title
- 4 Formulas for Generating Scrapbook Page Titles You’ll Love
- How to come up with scrapbook page titles from sayings, quotes, titles, famous lines & lyrics
- Given the amount of space it appears your photos, journaling and title will need, what kind of a design will work well? For example, will you need to fill the entire page or could you create a design with generous white space.
- Given your page purpose what kind of tone do you want to set? A linear or blocked design will evoke different feelings than that of a freestyle design with flourishes and layers and unusually-shaped white space.
For more on the canvas:
- Scrapbook page elements: the canvas
- What is your scrapbook page foundation?
- Improve scrapbook page design with white space: 1 layout 3 ways
- Scrapbook Page Design: Asymmetrical Balance
As you start to understand how things are coming together, keep in mind the tone you want to set, and, thus, the type and number of embellishments to include.
- What motifs will support your meaning?
- How will you use color?
- Will you use your embellishments to guide the eye around the page (i.e., create flow)?
- Where’s the “charm” factor?
For more on embellishments:
And now start moving things around the page
The approach described here entails becoming familiar with the 5 elements of a scrapbook page and 6 design principles for visual design so that the questions presented here become second nature as you move things around and make a page you love.