Choosing colour schemes for my scrapbook layouts has often been a challenge for me. I have blown away many hours since I began scrapbooking in fiddling around with different backgrounds and elements (both digital and paper) trying to hit on the perfect colour combination for my layouts. Whilst some of that dilemma can be reduced by using scrapbooking kits which usually come with colour coordinated papers and elements to help with your choices, ultimately it still comes down to you making your colour selections to get the ball rolling. So you still need to work out what type of colour scheme you want because different colour combinations will influence the mood of your scrapbook layout and the presentation of your photo(s).
So I thought we’d spend a couple of articles looking at colour, what messages it sends to the eye and brain, and what principles can be followed to help in your choices to achieve the effect you want for your scrapbook layouts.
The Colour Wheel
A colour wheel a great aid to understanding the relationships of colours with each other.
The colour wheel is divided into three Primary colour segments linked to each other by the colours created by blending proportions of these primary colours with each other. The Primary Colours are red, yellow and blue. These are the basic colours and cannot be mixed from any other elements.
Secondary colours result from mixing two primary colours; such as mixing yellow and red to create orange. And Tertiary colours result from blending a primary colour with a secondary colour; eg. blue and green mixed together produce teal (blue-green), which is a tertiary colour.
Neutrals are shades of white, gray, or beige. Usually neutrals are tinted with another colour.
Colour the Mood of your Scrapbook Layout
Colour is one of the most dominant elements in a Scrapbook Layout design. It can dictate the entire mood of your layout. Generally speaking, colours fall into either warm or cool categories. Colours like purple, blue and green (cool colours) tend to inspire feelings of tranquility and peace. The warm colours such as red, yellow and orange evoke energy and playfulness. You can mix warm and cool colours on your layout, but you do need to pay attention to how you mix them as this can affect the mood of your layout.
And the value and saturation (also known as the depth) of colours can also impact the tone of your scrapbook layout. Choosing deep, dark colours will suggest a formal or regal atmosphere, whereas using light, pale colours will create a delicate soft feel. And earthy colour tones also have a lot of appeal as the colours are neutral and don’t compete with other tones in your photos.
If you’re not comfortable in creating colour schemes, it’s a good idea to stick with colours that have the same value (degree of lightness or darkness) and the same level of saturation (brilliance or vibrancy).
How do I juggle all this colour information to choose a colour scheme?
Basically colours in your scrapbook layout should either complement or enhance the focal point on your photo grouping. Typically, there are a few colour schemes that can be followed:
- The Monochromatic Colour Scheme. This colour scheme uses a single colour selection in different shades.
- The Complementary Colour Scheme. In this colour scheme the colours used are selected from the opposite sides of a colour wheel.
- The Triadic Colour Scheme. This Colour Scheme selects three colours of the same tonal value. This means they must all be soft, bold, muted, light or dark.
- The Split Complementary Colour Scheme. This Colour Scheme utilises one colour from your photo and one or more complementary colours.
When it comes to selecting colours to build your colour scheme always remember; less is more. Experiment with a maximum limit of three colour choices. The more colours you use on your scrapbook layout, the more competition you introduce for your focal point. The fewer colours you use, the easier it is to use them well.Try to use colour in the right proportions on your layout. Aim to choose a single main colour and then accent it with one or two other colours. You need to vary the amount (or weight) of each colour you use on your scrapbook layout. If you try to use the same amount of three different colours on a single scrapbook layout, you run the risk of making your layout all about the colour and not about the subject of your layout. As a rule of thumb aim at using a ratio of 60% for the dominant colour, 30% for the complementary colour and 10% for an additional complementary colour. Black and White are considered ‘non-colours’ and you can include these in your colour schemes in any proportion you like. Also neutral colours such as cream or beige and brown are unlikely to create any conflict when you bring them into the mix.
I hope this article has been helpful and perhaps given you some assistance in what sort of things to consider to create the ‘feeling’ that you might be trying to achieve with your layouts. In a follow up article, next week, we’ll take a look at some of my scrapbook layouts and analyse which of the above colour schemes and principles they follow. And we’ll also look at some on-line colour scheme tools that are available to help you choose your colour schemes.
If you think other scrapbookers might find this information useful, please help to spread it around by clicking on the StumbleUpon button below or submitting it to Delicious or any of the other social bookmarking sites.