“Theme” can be one of the most difficult and most important aspects of designing a layout. I always see paper that I like and take it home, only for it to sit in a box because I don’t have any photos that match the ‘theme’ of the paper. However, there a number of little ways that you can adjust the theme of your photos or paper to make your layout more cohesive (and perhaps overcome an artists block!).
One of the ways you can adjust the theme of the paper you are using to suit your photos (or vice versa) is to adjust your colours. This month’s design kit had a number patterns that were black and white. Doris took advantage of this to add her own custom colours to personalize her layout. Doris used chalk inks for her colouring, but you could do the same with your favorite colouring tools, whether it be markers, watercolours, distress inks, or even pencil crayons! While Doris didn’t use a photo on this layout, you can also adjust your photo with most photo viewers before you take them to be printed. I often just add a filter over my photo to make it pinkier or more blue, or change it to black and white (depending on the paper line of course!).
Another way to make your page more cohesive with your photo themes is to use ephemera (or make your own!). Doris has done this a couple different ways. The way she has arranged her zebras and ribbon at the bottom of the page reminds of the petting zoos you often find at old carnivals, and widens the range of themes of the page (perhaps a day at the zoo?). The balloons bring out the carnival theme in the paper, and tie in the hot air balloon.
I love the way that Doris made the cotton candy pop out on her layout. She did this by stretching out a cotton ball and colouring it with distress oxide ink. The bright cotton candy gives the layout a very summery feel, and could help adapt the paper to use for photos from a farmers market or other sweet summer pursuit.
Layouts are easy when the paper theme and photo themes match, but there are so many ways you can bend those rules if need be. Take a chance and personalize your paper!
Until next time!