Thursday, December 19, 2013

Get It Scrapped: Breaking the Rules

Over the last few years, I have spent time working on a better understanding of design principles. Sometimes I have felt that I have a strong understanding of those concepts. Other times, not so much. I really never realized how ingrained the design concepts had become within my process until I was asked to break the rules.

Breaking the rules sounds easy. In practice, it's so much harder. Design rules when practiced regularly become a habit. As we all know, habits can be very difficult to break. Before I could break any rules, I had to sit down and think about which of the rules I used the most often. The most obvious rule was the visual triangle. It is, so to speak, my design crutch. Adding a visual triangle is the easiest fix when I am looking at a layout and it seems off to me. This leads me to repetition. It's a concept that often works hand in hand with the visual triangle.I also tend to fall back on the need to add contrast. I often choose to find a contrasting color within my paper to make the photo stand out more.

When breaking rules, it seems advisable not to break too many. One or two rules broken and life becomes interesting. Break them all and big trouble often follows. Since I rely the most heavily upon repetition and contrast, I chose to exclude them from the layout.

What Will the Future Hold by Christy Strickler Supplies| Cardstock: Colorbok;Letters: Basic Grey; Embossing Paste: Wendy Vecchi; Stencils: JBS Mercantile; Wood Veneer: Studio Calico, Basic Grey; Coloring Medium: Gelatos, Watercolor paints by Yasumoto; Button: Queen and Co.

I began by choosing a picture without a specific focus. This is a double exposure print which features a silhouette of my son. Rather than find a contrasting paper, I chose to blend it into the background. The background is created with embossing paste and a set of stencils. I did not repeat any of the stencils designs throughout the layout. I added one stencil at a time, allowing them to dry between each layer.In some cases, I dripped white gesso onto the background. Once I was satisfied with the overall look of the background, I painted it with watercolors. I did my best to match the watercolors with the colors of the photo.

The title is comprised of white stickers. It's not clearly placed on the layout and I painted over the letters so that they too blended in with the background. I scattered jewels and a series of wood shapes in a diagonal pattern across the layout. I was very careful not to repeat a shape. I also colored them with a white gelato to give them a milky haze.

The concept of this layout is to express the uncertainty of the future. Breaking the rules helped me to add more meaning to this particular layout. It reminds me a bit of an art journal page, but it also provides me with the feeling of tension and possibility of the unknown.

I found it very difficult to break some of my design habits. Doing so with purpose allowed me to support this particular story. I don't think I will be breaking the rules very often. However, I now see it as a useful tool.

Have you broken some design rules to tell a story with more meaning? If so, please share it over at the Get It Scrapped Gallery.

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