Now there will be some who might disagree with me on this, but if there is one thing I have come to believe over the years I've been scrapbooking, it is that subtle or solid backgrounds really are the best way to create a visually pleasing page. Don't get me wrong, I love patterned paper! As a designer, I loved creating patterned paper. I use patterned paper. I am careful about how I use it though, it is an accent piece, like an accessory.
My scrapbooking secret is that I use solid papers or almost solid papers for the main background on the majority of my layouts. Very subtle prints like a faint stripe or a gentle monochromatic pattern are also good choices.
Why? Let me give you a few reasons:
1. I like the focus to be on the photographs and the journaling. If those things have to compete with a busy background, they will get lost. Photos just look better on a subtle background and text is easier to read.
This was posted on The Daily Digi the other day because I used the fun Scrapping and Snapping kit (even the template came with it!) Very simple layout but it was fun to be able to include so many pictures from one of our mini-golf outings this summer.
2. I think the first reason I listed is enough, but for those of you who still might need some convincing I will point out that your page embellishments will stand out more and serve as a better complement to your pictures and story.
3. Some scrappers might feel limited by a solid or subtle background. Let me point out that solid doesn't have to be boring. Look at the above layout and see that the paper is very interesting visually, yet not overpowering. When you pick something subtle for the main background you can get away with adding more goodies to the page if you like. While I love a clean and simple scrapbook page, sometimes it is just fun to play with embellishments and design.
Do you love patterned paper? Are you wondering how you can still use it and make great layouts? Here are some examples of how to add fun patterns and details to your pages.
1. Consider using patterned paper it for a border strip or an accent paper pieces. It really is better in small doses.
2. Go ahead and use patterned paper for a background, just be sure the print is not overwhelming.
3. When you want to have some fun with several patterned papers, just be careful how you mix them. It is nice if you give the eye a break by including an area of solid background for a visual rest. It is also good to mix small prints with a few larger prints. Don't put all large prints together, use some variety.
4. If you want to use a bold print, go ahead! Just limit the print within a boundary. It will be much more enjoyable to see a bold print in a confined space like a photo mat instead of all over the entire page.
Now for some follow up:
- Look through your own layouts to see how you have used solid or subtle print papers. Take a look at how you use patterned papers, especially those with busy prints or bold colors. Make some notes on what you like and dislike. Can you read the journaling? Are the photos prominent on the page? Do your paper choices allow the layout to shine?
- When you shop for kits and supplies make sure you have a good selection of solid and subtle papers to use. I won't buy a kit unless I see that there are at least a few good choices for an overall background. I love the prints, but I know those will be accent pieces. Look at this beautiful kit by Kristin Cronin-Barrow - I can see 6 solid papers on the preview and several of them are in neutral colors. It will be easy to get a lot of use out of this kit and it has plenty of fun prints and accessories to jazz things up as well.
- You really can't go wrong using Kraft paper type backgrounds or white or black backgrounds. These are timeless and complement any type of photograph.