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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Scrapbooking Design Principles - Proportion 1 comments  
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using proportion effectively in your scrapbook layouts

Last month I discussed the first of five design principles - balance. This month I am moving on to proportion. Proportion isn't as easy to explain as balance. Who am I kidding? I have trouble spelling it! However, it is definitely worth taking the time to learn about because it is a very important aspect of design.

Here are a few principles of proportion to keep in mind:

1. Usually the human body is used as a scale - especially in architecture and paintings. Alterations to the scale with respect to the human body can be used to achieve interesting results. Buildings with a larger than average scale can make one feel small and insignificant. In fact, many churches were designed with that effect in mind. Alternatively, a chair shaped like a oversized hand can be used to make a statement and be outrageous.

2. Large proportions make something eye catching or impressive. - Again the example of a church comes to mind. Gothic style cathedrals used large proportions to create a sense of wonder. Large bold prints on a pillow, or quilt similarly draw the eye when contrasted with a more simply colored sofa.

3. Large patterns can overwhelm small objects - A large print on a small pillow can draw the eye, but the same print on a baby's dress might be overwhelming.

So, how does this apply to scrapbooking? The example of prints is important in scrapbooking because the choice between large and small prints is important. Probably the most important proportion rule to keep in mind in scrapbooking is the golden ratio, the rule of thirds if you will. This can be used for the ratio of colors, the placement of photos paper and embellishments, and even the composition of your photos. 

I found this diagram of good and bad proportion and think it's just perfect! it's from

The first example of good proportion is pretty much the rule of thirds. Halves and quarters are bad, thirds are good.

Here are some scrapbook layout examples. For this page I used a sketch, but notice that the main interest is situated not on the horizontal half point of the page, but about a third of the way up. Also, about 2 thirds of the color is pink, and the other third is white/black/blue. (disregarding the kraft) Finally, notice the scale, the photos are small, so the details are small. The larger letters in 'LOOK' really stand out because they are larger than everything else.

Here I went the opposite way. The photo is LARGE! The tiny pins and spool of thread would have looked silly with a photo this large, so I went with larger letters, large bold circle accents and even a larger scaled polka dot print. Also, the photo takes up about a third of the page.  The title/journaling block takes up about a third of the non photo block.

Finally, on this page, the center of the photo block is situated just above where a line would be if the page was divided into thirds.  The smaller polka dot print works here with the smaller scale of the photo. Compare this polka dot print to the one above. The large flowers, however, are a bit out of place and therefore serve to add some interest and draw attention. 



Supplies used in this reveal:

Posted by megamay

Reader Comments ...
jnet . Northern California
12/7/11 8:30 pm
This is very helpful - thank you so much!