I stick with the following six principles when creating our monthly layout cards and pre-assembled page designs.
1. Focal Images
Think of your page as a theater production. Select the best photos to be the "leading characters." Those images will be featured on the full 4x6 single or double mattes. In our July Layout Sketch (included each month with your membership), there are two double-matted spots for focal images and two additional co-stars with single mattes.
Compliment focal images with groups of smaller items. These are the "supporting characters" of your theater production. This sketch has several sets of sub groups. The smaller spots can also be an ideal location for journaling or non-photo embellishments.
3. Anchoring Strips
This is the "backstage crew" of your production! Anchor elements on the layout with 12" strips to prevent that uncomfortable "floating" feeling. Anchors can vary in width and be created with strips of paper, ribbons or even a row of stamped images. I like to alternate with horizontal and vertical anchoring strips.
In addition to strips, another helpful grounding tool is a block of solid or printed paper beneath a group of items. I frequently use complete sheets of 8.5x11 paper as an anchoring block. It also subdivides the page into smaller areas and can make the space seem less overwhelming.
I like to separate elements on the page with equal spacing within groups. Notice how all of the elements on the double page spread have a perimeter of roughly the same distance. This helps create a cohesive feeling within the group. Avoid trying to distribute the pieces to the top, bottom and outside edges.
Note the difference in the page below with the lack of anchoring, grouping, and spacing principles.
A tangent simply indicates that two things are touching. And not in a good way. Avoid a tangent created by two corners/edges touching or aligning with one another. The first illustration below shows ideal placement of corners.
Study the differences in the layout below to discover the newly-formed tangents. The vertical anchoring strip is aligned with the edge of the anchor block, and the photo matte in the lower right corner forms a tangent with the right edge of the page. The other newly-formed corner tangents are not as problematic, but the above layout is a better arrangement.
Here is a real-life layout using July's Oopsie Daisy Layout Sketch with papers from the collection:
Members, don't forget to download your layout sketches every month for instant inspiration and complete paper trimming instructions.
Have fun and design well!