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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

What makes a layout 'pop'?

Sometimes we create layouts and stand back to admire them but there's just something missing. My solution is to go back to design elements and principles. Some suggestions for you to check out if you get stuck, follow:


My Minds Eye Sophie paper

Ruby Rock-it felt frames

green Tara flowers

Glimmer Mist

Crafter's Workshop template


striped ribbon

droplet stickers - don't know where I got these

but everything else is from Scrap N Craft with T - of course

Line, shape, space

We need lines, actual or implied, to move the eye around the page eg the implied lines created by the triangle of 3 repeated green felt oval elements. The actual lines from the ribbons that draw the eye across the photo. The swirls and water drops also imply direction.

Shapes help create mood and movement eg the organic shapes of flowers and swirls create a relaxed feel to the layout.

Open spaces ('white space') around page elements allow the eye to rest and give more emphasis to the focal point. It helps balance the page. I added subtle decoration ( mask and mist, water drop stickers) to the white space because it was such such a large area and it helped direct the eye.


The textures on a page help create dimension and visual interest as well as supporting the theme and mood eg water drop stickers link to swimming, the soft textures of the felt, ribbons, and curled flowers enhance the loving mood of the relationship of the two subjects.

Dimension is added through 3 D layers and curling of papers giving more appeal than a flat layout.


Colour scheme should suit the theme eg blue green cool colours with swimming photo. They are also restful, peaceful colours.

Contrast in colour values adds interest eg small amounts of the dark teal in the flowers amongst lighter greens to create unity and balance.

Focal point

Is the main focus of the layout on what you want - the main photo? Focal point is emphasised by contrast in size, colour, line and shape, and placement. In this layout the photo is matted in patterned paper and white in high contrast and most embellishments surround it. It is a rectangle amongst curved shapes and at an angle but most significantly, my daughters face is in the "sweet spot" (imagine the page divided in thirds horizontally and vertically - where these lines overlap are the sweet spots or positions most appealing to the eye). While the focal point stands out it still has unity with the rest of the layout.

OK schools out now!

Hope this can help you too.

June B

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