Digital vs Traditional Scrapbooking

Is it my imagination, or is there a bit of ‘us and them’ going on out in the scrapbooking world between traditional scrapbookers and digital scrapbookers? A sort of elitism where scrapbookers are divided into two camps; each believing that their sort of scrapbooking is the absolute best way.

I ask this question because I’ve seen a few threads on various message boards over the past few weeks where there seems to be a bit of bagging going on from scrapbookers of one genre for scrapbooking of the other genre. Traditional scrapbookers who consider that digital scrapbooking is not ‘real scrapbooking’ because it’s not tactile enough or physically dimensional enough. And Digital scrapbookers who look down their noses at all the mess and trappings surrounding traditional scrapbooking.

This seems totally pointless, unnecessary and destructive to a great hobby which generates such a wonderful community spirit. It definitely needs to be nipped in the bud. In my view, there is nothing to be gained by dividing the scrapbooking world into two camps. Both approaches share the same objectives and characteristics. The tools used to create the layouts should not be relevant. And if the layouts created by the two methods have a different look and feel to them then surely that’s a good thing. Adding to the richness and diversity of the craft.

As a hybrid scrapper I enjoy the best of both worlds. I enjoy looking at both kinds of layouts, and admire the skill behind their creation. And I like to print out my digital layouts and add ‘real’ embellishments to them. It’s all scrapbooking!

I think that we’ll see a lot more hybrid scrapbooking in the next year or two and hopefully this will serve to bring the two scrapbooking ‘camps’ closer together. Here’s an excerpt from a great article I found:

The gap between traditional and digital scrapbookers has already narrowed in recent years with the rising popularity of digital photography.

Traditional scrapbookers downloading images from their cameras onto the computer quickly found they were able to view, edit and share their images through Web sites like Kodak’s EasyShare Gallery, Flickr and Google’s Picasa. Social networking through blogs, camera phones, message boards and sites like also drove the movement to share digital images.

Image creation and manipulation software like Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Elements has also helped traditional scrapbookers design pages faster and easier. And in some cases, the results have been better-looking. With computers, scrappers can make straighter lines, generate neater-looking lettering and experiment more without having to commit. Virtual papers and embellishments, which become available as soon as digital designers create them online, have also allowed traditional scrappers to acquire the trendiest, latest products without having to wait months for them in stores.

But many traditional scrappers, still preferring the tactile nature so inherent in scrapbooking, see hybrid as the way to have the best of both worlds. They use digital elements to create part of their pages and physical embellishments to finish the job.

Digital scrappers have also gone traditional. Many of them — frustrated with the flat, fake look of virtual ribbons, flowers and tags — started printing out their pages and pasting real buttons or bows over the ones they’d digitally created. And even though the industry has responded with more photo-realistic adornments, many digi-scrappers have decided they like the mix. Now, many of them are printing out their cyber designs and turning them into 3-D gifts like cards, albums and even decoupaged home décor.

by Lisa Hutchurson

Scraps of Mind is a blog about scrapbooking. All kinds of scrapbooking, and then some.

I think all my readers enjoy the diversity that different styles and methods bring to this craft. Let’s spread that message to other scrappers.

OK I’m stepping carefully down off my soap box now. But I’d love to hear your views.

18 Responses to Digital vs Traditional Scrapbooking

  1. Hannah July 12, 2007 at 12:19 pm #

    Wow, I’m surprised to hear this. I personally haven’t noticed any of the division or “looking down” on the other type that you have seen. Sad that it happens at all, really. I can’t see why it’s an issue.
    I’m a paper scrapper, I’ve never tried digital scrapbooking because I don’t have the computer software to do it. But I have always (and still do) enjoy looking at digital layouts and I’ve been inspired by many of them. I have even “scraplifted” a digital layout! So there is no reason for each camp not to look at all kind of scrapping and appreciate the talent each type requires.
    I hope the message boards that were having these “wars” soon learn to appreciate both digital and paper scrapping, as each has a lot of merits and neither one is better than the other.

  2. Janine July 12, 2007 at 12:44 pm #

    I have seen this on a message board I belonged too.
    There was a discussion about them both and some
    people got quite emotional about it all.
    I say each to thier own at the end of the day we
    are both still scrapping whether it is paper
    or digital. I do think you are right and we will see
    more hybrid scrapping going on. I have noticed in the
    last 18 months that a lot more magazines are starting to
    feature digital layouts and I say about time too.

  3. Diane July 13, 2007 at 9:03 am #

    I also did not know there was such a controversy about it. I think
    they are both great. I started out as a paper scrapbooker and am now
    getting into digital scrapbooking and will be doing both. I will
    most likely be more of a hybrid scrapper. Some things I have been
    doing is laying frames on my digital pictures using different softwares,
    saving them as a new image, cropping them to a 4×6 or whatever size I
    want and then print them at my local photo printing place
    and then use them in my paper layouts. They really look neat,
    especially the slide frames. If you haven’t tryed this, do. I love them!
    And most of my frames have been downloaded as digital freebies.
    I haven’t done this yet, but I plan to print some of my digital designs
    onto my paper scrap pages and then add my pictures and other embellishments.

  4. karooch July 13, 2007 at 9:25 am #

    Yes Janine, it’s good to see some of the mainstream magazines becoming more ‘digitally aware’. Hopefully that will help to bring the two streams closer together.

    Glad to hear that it’s not something that you have seen Hannah and Diane, but unfortunately it is out there. Hopefully not for long.

    Love your hybrid ideas Diane

  5. Jess (Scrapbook Ideas) July 14, 2007 at 11:08 am #

    I totally agree Karen!! I always feel awkward when I hear that kind of talk, because I LOVE digital AND paper, and I can’t see myself giving up either. I often combine both to make hybrid projects. I DO think that hybrid will become more and more mainstream – it’s the best of both worlds! By-the-way, have you seen the new magazine that is all about hybrid scrapbooking, Scrapbook Dimensions? Anyway, I think the industry leaders can foresee this, and are making little changes here and there to represent ALL types of scrapbooking. And some of my all-time-favorite digital scrapbooking designers are also designing paper lines as well. So there is a lot of crossover. OK, well, I could go on and on about this, but I just wanted to say I KWYM :)!

  6. karooch July 15, 2007 at 10:29 am #

    Well hopefully the more balanced view will prevail Jess. gs get more involved with digital that may help to promote a ‘one scrapbooking’ mentality.

  7. Olga July 17, 2007 at 3:01 pm #

    I have never been a traditional scrapbooker I have just scrap digitally, and my opinion is that a traditional scrapbooking project is lovely and very tactile and so on. It looks wonderful for instance as an invitation to a party or birthday celebration or wedding. But there is the issue of keeping all those memories, and so long as keeping it is involved and also money, traditional cannot compete with digital. You can preserve photo albums more easily is they are digital, you can preserve more easily anything. Just back up.

    And so long as you don’t mind the tactile issue, digital is simply better as you can do much more stuff. Of course traditional is more emotional as there are more senses involved in appreciating the card, invitation or page. But all that is just so immediate that can easily be overcame if what you are interested is preserving a memory or feeling. Time issue tilts in my opinion the balance towards digital.

    Best wishes. :O)

  8. Quirky Kristen July 18, 2007 at 1:32 am #

    Girl I so know what ya mean! I for one have tried the paper way and I just SUCK at it compared to digital, Not so much a mess thing as I have a ton of crafts that are messy! For now I’ll stick to Digi land but only because I don’t have the cash flow to deal with my inevitable screw up and goners when I do the hybrid or full paper :):) I have such awe for those of you that tackle those!! Takes all kinds my friend to make the world go round and I guess Scrapping isn’t any different :)

  9. Marjorie July 18, 2007 at 5:53 am #

    I have to say at times the sb industry and it’s participants really know how to create
    some fun comotion, even when comotion isn’t needed.
    I can see that digital vs. traditional is a matter of preference.
    And honestly it’s not really for anyone to say one is better than the other.
    Then again they may feel that way for themselves and that’s cool.
    What’s easy for some and difficult for others won’t always be the same.
    The same goes with what works and doesn’t work for you.

    I enjoying scrapbooking for the art that it is.
    And if a LO looks great, it doesn’t matter to me if it’s a Digi or Trad.
    It’s a personal preference.. no debate needed. =)

  10. karooch July 18, 2007 at 11:14 am #

    I absolutely agree Olga, Kristen and Marjorie. How you choose to go about your scrapbooking is totally a matter of personal preference and suggesting that one way is ‘better’ than another is ridiculous.

  11. Antoinette July 20, 2007 at 5:56 pm #

    Paper scrapbooking and me just don’t go well together. I get glue everywhere, except on the spot where I want it, can’t cut pics in the right shapes and I hate the mess of papers, embellishments etc lying around (because I don’t have space to store it). So the only choice for me was DS. Although I’ve noticed the “looking down”, I’ve never experienced it myself. My paper scrapbooking friends admire my DS layouts and v.v.
    Life is too short to be living in two camps – let’s all work together!

  12. karooch July 20, 2007 at 9:43 pm #

    Hear hear Antoinette. It’s all great scrapbooking.

  13. Sharon July 13, 2008 at 6:34 am #

    Believe me it’s not just scrapbooking. It’s working mom vs stay at home mom. Republican vs Democrat. Any anything else you can think of.
    I am 50. It seems we had much more freedom when I was younger, yet people seem to think we have progressed as a society???? I have no idea what happened to allowing people to enjoy different pursuits, people having different points of view and people making different choices. I guess it comes down to lack of respect. I also wonder what kind of priveleged lives these people live that they concern themselves with this sort of thing.I wish that was all I had to worry about !
    It is true that if we were all the same it would be a pretty boring world yet some people seem to want to go in this direction and for those who don’t fall in line they are berated.
    People need to get a life and quit juding others choices. In fact I am so sick of it that as soon as I start reading any of this junk on the net about any subject I stop immediately. It makes me sad and yes, sometimes angry. Grow , get a life and realize that what you choose is not right for everyone and end the end…..this IS the small stuff.

  14. karooch July 13, 2008 at 1:39 pm #

    Yes, in some ways we’ve come a long way as a society. And in other ways we seem to have taken steps backwards.

  15. Liz September 16, 2009 at 5:52 pm #

    yes, Sharon, you are absolutely right!!! I crochet a lot and knit a little and the knit vs. crochet thing gets interesting. Then there’s the quilters: machine vs hand. Horses (another hobby) English vs Western. And on and on it goes. These are hardly earth shattering decisions. I mean like, who cares??? Aren’t these things people are supposed to be doing to RELAX???

  16. Liz June 3, 2011 at 1:24 am #

    Scrapbooking has (and should) always be about preserving memories (and the stories that go along with it!)…and if that can get accomplished using way cute layouts and designs…then all the more power to us!

    I personally like digital because I don’t have the space for traditional….and I really like the “undo” button!

    BUT…I also print out my pages in hardbound books because I like the tangible aspect of scrapbooking. Yup….I want that book out for others to really look at…there is almost nothing that compares to a tangible scrapbook!

    Hope you all enjoy!

    • karooch June 3, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

      Yep. Know what you mean about the hard copy scrapbook layout. I love digital scrapbooking for the reasons you’ve mentioned Liz. But it’s not really real until it’s printed out and in my hand. And it doesn’t hurt to show off either :)


  1. » Blog Archive » Digital vs. Traditional Scrapbooking - July 13, 2007

    […] Blogger Karen has a written a thoughtful post on the “digital divide” in the scrapbooking community: “Digital vs. Traditional Scrapbooking.” […]