the basics - composition

thebasics - composition

I thought of today's basic tip while I was working with new materials I purchased recently. Some of you may work with stamps, stickers and scrapbooking materials like paper die-cuts, so I thought I'd mention just one thing about composition in simple projects.

I'm getting affected by the holiday season jumping up all around us, so you'll excuse introducing holiday stamps so soon. Even the kids keep asking me why stores are already decorated.

Symmetry or Asymmetry
As you see on a couple of the gift tags here, symmetry works perfectly fine. But what if you throw things off balance? I like to push shapes off to the sides to see what happens and predictably that move makes everything change completely. My favorite part of this, is that the white space suddenly becomes an active participant. It goes from being just the background to an interesting part of the composition.

thebasics - composition

Notice the difference between the wreath and snowflake at the bottom with the top versions of the same stamps? The bottom tags don't look terrible, but they seem so uninteresting to me. The same stamps that are simply cropped off to one side, look so, so much better.

Don't take me wrong, centering something is perfectly fine. That tree stamp, for example, would certainly look at home centered on a card. As a matter of fact, symmetry was something that took me a while to stay away from when I first started a graphic design student (way back when!).

The bottom line is to look a bit beyond the obvious. Just play around and experiment.

• • •

About the stamps...
- Allium Stamp (Paper Source)
- Scandinavian Wooden Stamp Set (Martha Stewart)

Instead of scrambling for last minute gift tags, I'm making a handful to have ready. And believe it or not, these are the first stamps I ever purchase. I love carving out my own because I can never find anything I like. Some of these are still a bit on the frilly side for me, but having them will get me out of a bind for the holiday season—I'm focusing my energy on other projects. For now this is just one more thing to add to my wish list—designing my own stamp collection.

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