I don’t know how they manage it, but the Jot Girls always seem to be speaking my language with their Jot Mag Mood Board selections – this time with my favourite colour combo of all time for the March Mood Board. Who ever said “blue and green should never be seen” certainly wasn’t on the same wavelength as me, it’s definitely one of my go-to combinations and no more so than in my sons baby album which is where this layout will end up. In fact the Pebbles Family Ties line features heavily in this album and just so happens to be the perfect choice for this mood board, with its mix of blues, greens and sunny yellow. To begin with this layout came together really easily and I was really very happy with the outcome but after letting it lie on my desk for a few days, something wasn’t quite sitting right with me and I kind of felt like it didn’t feel entirely finished.So what do you do when you’ve made a layout that you like but, you find as a whole, it’s not quite working? This is the time where a little tweaking might come in handy. Below on the left is the original layout, on the right the updated copy to show how a little subtle work can make it that more pleasing. First of all you need to identify what is working for you and where the stumbling block or blocks are. For me I was completely smitten with the paper line and that the design showed off each of those 6×6 papers to their full effect by colour blocking. I also liked how each quadrant of the layout had something different going on that was working with the overall design not against it. I loved the centered photo and especially the layering behind it. Tucking the die cut pieces within the layers also helped to bring the focus straight to the photo while letting the papers shine at the same time. Of course the yellow Heidi Swapp chipboard was just the thing to finish off the central motif. We all know I love me some Heidi and in my mind she almost never fails to make me happy with a layout. Using these as an example some questions to ask yourself are: Are your colour choices and patterns working together? Is your focus going where you want it? Are elements competing against or with one another? Is their too much or too little of an element on the page? Is there something on your layout that you love for no other reason than it makes you smile or are you just slogging through to get it done or get it used?
So now you’ve found what was working, but what in particular about your layout doesn’t thrill you? In this case the banner was toning down the possibility of the small-flowers-on-the-white-background pattern, making the layout look there wa too much white going on. But the banner had nothing to ground it to the layout and just looked like it had been left to float. I liked the text strips but they looked, in a word – messy. It felt rushed and unfinished and I didn’t like how the handwritten text didn’t seem to gel with the more linear style of this layout and the classic lines and patterns. There were issues with kerning (letter size & spacing) and the text running-on in spots where it didn’t need to. I also felt like there needed to be some sort of dimensional element in that quadrant to draw the eye. More questions you could ask are: Is the colour balance weighted too much in one direction? Is there trapped white space or elements not grounded to the layout? Does the style of text or font match the feel of the layout? Do the patterns compete or complement one another? Is there a balance between dimensional and flat elements?
So what were the subtle fixes that took this layout from ‘meh’ to ‘hey, I actually like that’. I cut a strip of washi to act as a hanging element for the banners. The small stripe on the washi has the same weight as the small floral pattern but brings more of the same light blue into the design that features in both the larger floral pattern, the photo and the small floral and therefore doubles as a unifying element in that capacity. I removed the handwritten journaling strips and printed them out on white paper tape using a Dymo labeller. I also edited the text slightly to make it fit better. The last subtle shift was a small piece of yellow twine to bring more yellow into that quadrant and draw the eye from the focal point of the photo to the next important element, the text.Other pluses with this layout were that it actually uses quite a few left over bits and pieces. If you look closely at those layered papers behind the photo you can see that I’ve used an embossing folder on one or two of the pieces of vellum, it wasn’t the most successful of embossing runs and probably wouldn’t have worked as a feature element on a layout but it works well to add a little interest in a subtle fashion right here. In fact layering is a pretty handy way to use up scraps that need a home or those papers and things from a collection that are ok but that you don’t love. The green tag in the layered cluster was such an element, it was a nice colour but the sentiment on it is one I know I’ll never use. The banner is a leftover remnant from a previous layout in the same album that this is going in. Likewise the yellow twine was an off cut from another layout I’d been working on. So not only did I manage to figure out some fixes to design issues I was having but bonus I got to quiet the hoarding instincts in me a little and prove that yes I really do use my scraps. So I’d say that’s a pretty successful layout.