Design Principles for digital scrapbooking layouts – Digital Scrapbooking Tutorials


Maybe you have heard of them, maybe not but most probably you have already used these principles already but I thought I will list them here so you might like to spend more attention to these things in future.

There are five basic design principles (important for digital scrapbooking layouts):

1. Unity

Unity is a very important design principle. Repetition, continuation and closure belong to unity. A layout which supports this principle is pleasing for your eye. Have a look at the layouts to see the design principle in action:

Design PrinciplesThis layout is created by Emst. Elaine creates unity in her layout because she adds to the small photo on the right a bigger, blended photo on the left. This helps to keep the layout balanced although the big circle catches the viewers attention. The christmas balls on the bottom right also help to take the attention away from the circle and round up the layout. Elaine also duplicates the christmas balls and snowflakes to underline the unity.

2. Emphasis/Focal Point

The second design principle is something you do not just when you create a layout but also when you arrange your furniture or decorations at home. You put something you like in a special light, you put emphasis on it. In digital scrapbooking this is most probably a photo. Because – after all – the elements and papers should just underline the beauty of your photo and not dominate the page. Therefore depending what you want to do with your layout, take care that the photo is still in the focus, even if the colors of the kits are strong.

Design PrinciplesOn another beautiful layout from Elaine created with Carena’s kit “Winter is coming” you can see this principle. Elaine put the focus on the little girl on the left and decorates the frame with fir and cones as well as frozen leaves. But because the background is unique and in the same color than the background is the viewer still pays attention to the picture and the elements are not overwhelming.

You can create emphasis with contrast, isolation, placement, and even the absence of a focal point (e.g. when you place the photo on the bottom left of the page).

3. Balance

We don’t want our elements and papers in a layouts are going to topple one another. Imagine in the layout above the christmas balls were gone – it would feel as if the small photo would fall out of the layout. Therefore it is important to get the “right” feeling. I know it sounds strange but if a layout is not well balanced you feel it, you just know that it needs another element or paper to keep the balance right.

You can balance a layout by reflect a photo, or by creating a contrast you want – e.g. adding just some small elements to the bottom of a page while on the top is a bigger photo. This works, it´s just all a question of balance.

Design PrinciplesIf you look at the layout here you can see how perfectly Elaine has added the pictures and – to balance them – on the bottom the elements. You do not need to worry that your pictures are going to topple out of the layout.

4. Movement

Another principle of design is “movement”. When you see a layout with its emphasis on movement your eye flows through the layout again and again from one photo to the other, from one corner to the other. Persiancat, one of our members, has created this perfectly.

Design Principles

Although there is no movement in the page itself your eye flows from top to bottom and back as there is a lot you can look at.

Let’s talk about one more design principle:

5. Contrast

If you have elements and papers which have an obvious visual difference you will catch the viewer’s attention by creating interest and attention because of the variety. You can create contrast not just with adding different colors but also by using different material, e.g. a crafty background with elegant lace or a patterned paper with unique colored tags. Contrast can be created with many things, just try it, it´s fun.

Have a look at elitka’s page. She uses a patterned background with bright and colorful elements – definitively a contrast but it works perfect!

Design PrinciplesBeauty always lies in the eye of the beholder of course. So don’t hesitate to try out different things. This is also the beauty about digital scrapbooking – you can arrange things and re-arange them again – without losing valuable papers and elements.

If you have any further questions about design principles just post them here in the comment section 🙂

You can find the PDF Document here. Just click on the link and download the Printable to your Computer.

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