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Scrapbooking as an Art Form:
Ten Principles of Design & Composition

Scrapbook layout ideas
Think: shapes, color, and
overall design...and have fun.

A scrapbook is more than a photo album with a few cute stickers. It's a visual recording of your life and loves. A way to communicate with generations to come.

It's also the basis of a multi-billion dollar industry - and it's an art form all in itself.

Here are ten basic design principles to guide your own creativity and lend natural balance and flow to your scrapbook pages.

1. Designate your focal point, first thing, by choosing your layout's main photograph. Ask yourself, "Where do I want the viewer's attention to be drawn first?" Then you can choose your supplementary, supporting photographs, if appropriate.

2. Group accents and small embellishments in groups of three or five. Aesthetically, we are drawn to groupings that contain an odd number of items.

3. Place related accents close in proximity so the eye processes them as one unit.

4. Create a triangle on the page, placing photos or embellishments at each of the triangle's three points. Our eyes like that, too.

5. Create sections in multiples of two. Two sections or four sections are more aesthetically pleasing to our eyes than 3 or 5 sections.

6. Apply the "Rule of Thirds." Think of your page as a grid, divided into thirds horizontally and vertically. Place your focal point on one of the convergences of these lines.

7. Maintain balance with the size of your elements. Consider both the size and complexity of your page elements as you distribute them in your layout.

8. Achieve a natural sense of flow by placing the photographs so that the eyes of your subjects turn toward the center of the page - or toward your focal point.

9. Use repetition. Repeat shapes, textures, sizes, colors, or other attributes.

10. Sketch your favorite layouts in books and scrapbooking magazines. Try to determine which design principles are at work to create such visual appeal and work to incorporate those principles into your own layouts.

The first rule of art, of course, is not to be bound by rules. Now that you know the basics of what our eyes are naturally attracted to, see what kind of beauty you can create.

About the author...
Susie Cortright publishes a free weekly scrapbooking newsletter, featuring best of the net design ideas and advanced techniques:

also see -> Family Photo Journal Scrapbooking

More about scrapbooking layout and composition around the Web:

Making a Scrapbook, Layout Tips

Scrapbook Layouts - Layout Gallery

Scrapbooking 101


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