3 Tips for Better Titles

… on your Scrapbook Layouts

Guest Post by Melothria.

It was a great challenge for me to find more eye-catching and meaningful titles for my layouts and to make them look like… titles! Until I had the opportunity to discuss this with a long-time paper scrapbooker friend. Here are the suggestions I got from her for developing creativity on titles, the result of 3 hours critiquing a selection of my layouts!!

1. The title is not just descriptive.

Instead of writing the name of the place you went to or the event that you’re scrapping, “think twice, look beyond the obvious, digress, use a pinch of salt” I was told! Let’s take an example:

I spent an afternoon at a Basketball stadium to watch my young neighbour play. I wanted to offer him a layout with pictures of the game he had won and at first, I came up with the following titles: ‘A Game to Remember’, and ‘And the Winner Is’.

Of course, I thought it was still better than ‘A Great Basketball Game’ but I was told by this lady, who’s been scrapbooking for 5 years, that I really had to look below the surface of things to add a slice of irony. After a few minutes, spent considering, I came up with ‘Beware of the Champion’ and after more consideration, my final choice was ‘Tony Parker’s Worst Nightmare’. My little neighbour was delighted!

So this final title doesn’t use the words the viewer is expecting to see regarding the pictures I have used, like basketball, win, game, champion etc.

2. The title doesn’t say it all.

I was also told to create titles that make the viewers want to look closer at my layouts and also read the journaling. Let’s take another example. This might help for when we do portraits of people we love and there is no special event to scrap. I will not write ‘Stacey’ or ‘A Wonderful Girl’. Nor I will write ‘My American Friend’ on this layout I am doing for my wonderful American friend Stacey :)

So to think this through more carefully, I can:

  • think about the word that best describes her. She’s generous. Of course, I am tempted to write ‘The Most Generous Person in the World’ or ‘Generosity’ or ‘A Very Generous Girl’. But with a little distance, after being told that giving, as in ‘Do You Ever Stop Giving?’ was still a boring title, I came up with ‘No Bounds’ as in ‘Your Generosity Knows No Bounds’,
  • think about what she holds dear but I will not just write ‘San Francisco’. I came up with a title like ‘Soon’ as in ‘Soon You’ll See San Francisco Again’ and ‘Flowers in Your Hair’ (and this last one was the one that I ended up choosing) and
  • I can think about turning negative things about people I know into positive. So I can think about my friend’s worst flaw, which is laziness without any doubt, and I would have the following title ‘Laziness Makes People Beautiful’

So the final title here, not only doesn’t use the words the viewer is expecting to see but says something more, something that the pictures do not necessarily say.

3. The title surprises the viewer.

It doesn’t take long to get the distance needed for better titles and really hit your viewer’s eyes. If you think twice, without that much consideration, you often come up with a thing called a synecdoche, which is a rethorical figure of speech that consists in using a part of something to represent the whole (as the law for police officer), and this apparently works for most scrapbook subjects.

Let’s use some examples for a week in Scotland, a friend’s wedding, an evening at an Indian restaurant and the day I was reunited with my cats.

  • ‘By the Loch Ness’ was already a better title, I thought, than ‘Our Week in Scotland’. After thinking of a part for the whole, it has turned into ‘Looking for Nessie'; Nessie being that part of the whole.
  • ‘A Wonderful Wedding’ after thinking of a part for the whole, has turned into ‘Yes, I do ‘ (this was my favourite moment of the whole week-end, when I cried!)
  • ‘We Love Indian Food’ after thinking of a part for the whole, has turned into ‘I’ll have a Tandoori’

Now let’s have a look at a layout, to sum it all up. The little girl is my cousin, who took care of my cats while I was away. This layout is about a little girl taking care of a fat cat for several months, not only is he not her cat but he’s not a nice cat and spends all his time eating.

  • I didn’t use the first words coming to my mind: little girl, brave, kind, fat, cat, care (just a flat description)
  • I didn’t use the first words I was tempted to use to convey the idea like : A Big Hearted Girl (no distance at all)
  • I didn’t use the ideas following the first ideas like: Cats’ Best Friend and so on (no additional information, no surprise).
  • So it’s Who’s the Lucky One? which has all the elements for a great title.

And if you’re still struggling to come up with some innovative titles, there’s a great tool over on Hummie’s World that can help you out.

Thanks for reading, finding a nice title is one of the most difficult things for me when I scrapbook and I hope this has helped a bit those who find it difficult too!

Scraps of Mind would like to sincerely thank Melothria for this Guest Post.

11 Responses to 3 Tips for Better Titles

  1. Hummie September 25, 2007 at 9:04 pm #

    Oh no…my incomplete title list! lol…A better resource can be found for sites with titles in my link list.

  2. karooch September 26, 2007 at 1:38 am #

    Hey Melothria, your article looks great from Italy too.

  3. Janine September 26, 2007 at 5:50 am #

    thanks for sharing that Melothria, it was a useful post and it will certainly make me think twice about titles again.

  4. Melothria September 26, 2007 at 6:54 am #

    Oooooh Karen I am so happy to see my article on your blog today!!! :) enjoy your holidays and again many many thanks!!

  5. Scrapper4Life September 26, 2007 at 1:26 pm #

    Great article on titles. I am sure I will use this to think about mine from now on. I discovered mine are a bit flat *LOL*…What a great way to think about them and I love the layout with Melothria’s cat *S*

  6. Antoinette September 27, 2007 at 6:44 pm #

    Thanks Melothria – that’s a great article and helpful indeed!

  7. Rachel September 28, 2007 at 1:01 pm #

    What a great read! You have really opened my eyes and I will definately put a little more thought into my titles now. Thanks!

  8. Census January 18, 2008 at 3:24 am #

    You’ve got me thinking!! I need to spare more time to think about my titles and not just jump for the obvious! Thanks!

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