Hello! Aly Dosdall again here from the design team for another installment of our July design series. So far we’ve gone over the rule of thirds, balance, color and contrast. This week we’re going to learn about a design principle that applies most often to layout, or graphic design, though it can apply to other creative disciplines as well. We’re going to discuss a few ways to anchor, or ground, elements on our pages.
Anchoring elements on a layout means to connect them to another element so that they don’t seem to float freely on the page. When elements of a page are not anchored, the page feels disjointed and confusing to the eye. Elements can be anchored to a page several ways. We’ll go over three, starting with lines.
Example: Life is Fabulous with Friends
The scrapbook page I created above using the Enchanted Power Palette demonstrates how to use lines to anchor elements. The red punched border together with the green paper ribbon (complementary colors, remember?) help to anchor the decorative paper loops to the title and photos. They connect those elements together. Take a look at the image below where I blocked out the anchor lines.
The page feels more disjointed and has less visual impact than the image with the anchor lines visible. Notice the small sub-title cluster at the top right corner of the page. Do you see an anchor line? Yep. It’s the green ribbon again. Without the anchor line there the subtitle would seem to be floating aimlessly on the page.
Another way to anchor page elements is by using backgrounds or mats. In design the relationship between figure (the element we notice), and ground (everything that surrounds the figure) is very important. This applies to scrapbook pages as well. Any important page element (i.e. a photo, title, or journaling) can be anchored to the page using its surroundings, or background.
Example: Thankful Card
Notice on the card above I created using the Gratitude 12 x 12 Paper and Photo Mat Pack that the main elements of the card (sentiment and flower accent) are both matted, or they are both resting on a visually interesting background. The backgrounds carry less visual weight than their elements do so those elements are still the focus of their spaces on the card. But the backgrounds do help to anchor those elements on the card. Take a look at the image below where I blocked out the flower’s background.
See how the flower accent now seems like it doesn’t quite belong where it is? Like it doesn’t really have a specific purpose on the card? It makes us feel a little uneasy that it’s not grounded or anchored to something else.
The last way to anchor elements that we’re going to discuss is by using proximity. Placing elements close to each other on a page anchors them so they don’t seem to float around disjointedly. This is sometimes referred to as a collage or cluster of elements (attention all readers…that was your hint for next week…now back to your regularly scheduled blog post).
Example: CHA Fun
This layout I created using the Mediterranean Market Papers and the Cheerful Seasons Cricut Cartridge is a good example of using proximity to anchor elements on a page. I was able to include seven photos on this single page without it feeling too busy by clustering them into three photo groups. Keeping the photos close together anchors them so they don't feel like they're floating around on the page, and thus the page doesn't feel too cluttered.
Be sure to come back next week when I share our final design principle. Please feel free to ask any questions you might have in the comments section below.