Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Color Cordinating Cards, Components & Challenges

To better understand the design ingredients for making cards, scrap pages, 3-D elements, or pretty much anything at all (I love how vast basic design principles can stretch across all aspects of your life) we need to understand that a recipe needs key pieces to make them more finished. In no particular order these key pieces include
  • A color Scheme: The color wheel is your best friend when it comes to schemes, trust me! Also look to nature for inspiration "what colors occur naturally" 
  • A Focal Point: a photo, an embellishment, anything imaginable as long as it is the number one thing on your project - like a bow on a beautifully wrapped present. A lot of people will use a picture on a scrap layout whatever it is make it the focus of your project.
  • Theme: Concept of the card - yes it is crucial that you have this game plan in place prior to starting. Some basic themes are baby, seasons, and holidays. A lot of themes are pre-designed with colors so you don't have to come up with your own scheme. For instance a baby girl is naturally pink and white and Halloween is orange and black.
  • Embellishments: the frosting on the cake. Embellishments can literally be anything you have and are meant to give the project some final touches.

Since I'm such a big fan of colors I am going to start our lesson this week on color coordinating. When you are creating a project you should take a second in your design phase a focus your attention on color. Color is the most important factor in creating mood for your card or page layout and is such a hard concept for so many people - myself included- hence why the color wheel has became my best accesory.
Ok so basic design: The color wheel in the simplest form has primary colors (Y,R,B) and when mixed those primary colors become secondary colors (O, P, G) and when anything beyond that is mixed it's considered an intermediate color (think red-orange or pink.)
For those of us that are a bit more visual here is the complete breakdown:

Oh yea! I love the warm & cool colors as well as the complementary colors - btw all wonderful color schemes.

So what's a color scheme?! A color scheme is simply a combination of colors that when used together work mingle and look fantastic.

A good design tip is to stick with 3 colors and use them in a 60%- dominant, 30% - secondary, 10% - accent ratio. If you follow the schemes outlined below you will have little trouble and soon be off exploring all on your own.

Analogous Scheme: This scheme takes 3 colors that are right next to each other on the color wheel and sticks to them. Think Yellow,  Orange, and Red.

Complementary: These are those colors that are opposite each other on the wheel - they create very high contrast which in turns creates a very intense appearance. A good tip here is to use 2 complementary colors and then use a neutral for the dominant color - this helps to keep the balance on the design. Think of Christmas for this one Red and Green with white.

Some other easier schemes include the primary scheme which uses red, yellow, and blue (remember those primary colors) and creates an informal or lively - child like layout. This scheme is often used for kids, parties, school, etc....
There are also cool and warm schemes, look back up at those color wheels...better yet print them out and hang them in your craft area! Warm schemes include reds, yellows, and oranges and create a sense of liveliness, warmth, and cheerfulness or of warm objects like fire or the sun. Where cool colors like your blues purples, and greens recede from the viewer and create a since of serene or coolness - think water, snow, forests.
Monochromatic Schemes: These schemes choose one color and use many different values and intensities. This scheme creates a peaceful mood and adding a soft texture or pattern can help capture the mood and add interest to the project. This is the easiest scheme to use successfully and therefore is often the first theme new scrappers use.
Neutral Color Schemes: You know, all of your beige, browns, blacks, whites, ivory's, ect.... These color invoke a formal, earthy, or neutral feeling. Themes often associated with neutral themes are weddings or pictures of nature.

So there you have it. The basic color schemes when discussing designs for scrapbooks and cards. Remember that when designing or planning your project colors should enhance your focal point (not overpower) and all colors used should be appropriate to the theme of the card.

If you are still stuck on where to start try to pull out a primary and accent color from the photograph and use a neutral to tag along with it. Try using a complementary color (based off your focal embellishment or picture) and create a vibrant layout.  Start out by making a monochromatic card and get used to using the color wheel.

I also have a challenge for both you and I this week. Over at the "My Favorite Things" blog they host monthly color palette challenges and I am going to take part in it and challenge myself to design a project with the use of these beautiful colors they have chosen.

Who doesn't love those wonderful spring time colors. What a lovely set of pale analogous cool colors ;) Seriously though they are great colors for Spring so if you are interested share your project with us and don't forget to link up to the My Favorite Things blog not later than Wednesday, April 2 at noon EST.

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