Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Fall Elegance: Balance and Harmony Happen...Sometimes (edited)

Card #1

Card #2

Fall Elegance is truly a magnificent set to work with. Those swirly leaves and vines are so pretty and yet crisp (like fall, really) and the pumpkins make my knees weak. I'd marry this set if polygamy was legal.

Today's cards, though similar in many ways, show how color and balance can make or break a card. I made Card #1 first and kept it out in my craft room for days just staring at it and smiling a lot. It has everything I love in a card: lots of white space; clear, crisp lines; lots of right angles on a grid with hints of asymmetry to liven things up; rich, smooth colors; beautiful images. See how the swirl in the sentiment block sort of flows from the upper left block? That was an accident, and if I made the card over again, I'd line the swirls up better.

Creating a relationship between blocks in a grid is good design.

Card #2 isn't exactly bad, but it's not as strong a design as #1 for two reasons. First, the shapes are floating on the background rather than grounded by a matte. They wouldn't look so floaty, I think, if the card base had a good relationship with the blocks. What do I mean by that? Well, there's no kraft on the blocks, and there's no color from the blocks in the kraft. Sometimes, that can work by creating a nice contrast on a very simple card, but these blocks are stamped with busy patterns that beg for unity with the base. A cream, pumpkin, or chocolate base would have worked much better than kraft.

Why don't I think of these things until everything is stuck down on a card?

The second reason Card #2 doesn't work quite so well as Card #1 is that the blocks aren't quite as balanced. The pumpkin block has just a little too much white space compared to the other two blocks. A swirl moving from the pumpkin block to the swirl block would fix that. The word block, on the other hand, is a lovely balance to the busier blocks and draws attention to the sentiment nicely.

That said, I really like the four rounded corners and the placement of the blocks on Card #2.

So there you have the musings of a highly trained literary critic applying her skills to cards. We English majors are so versatile!

[Edited to add] Brenda asked about the size of Card #1. It's a 5" square, and the small squares were punched with a Creative Memories 1.5" punch. Card #2 is the standard 4.25x5.5". Hope that helps!


  1. well, for the record I love them both. but I always learn a thing or two from your "ramblings" -- probably more than I ever learned from my English teacher :D

  2. I second what Donelda said. One of the few blogs that I look forward to the text as much as the photo of the card!

  3. Are you ready for case-ings every time you make a card with this set? I hope so. I can see why you left the top card on your desk and stared at it for a few days. It's great! I will confess, thought, that I like the bottom one, too. My fingers are itching to stamp now!

  4. OMGosh I love #1. I feel that you are providing so much education to help me make better cards with your comments. I wonder what size card #1 is.

    Thank you.

  5. I love both cards but I must admit I'm partial to card #1. Love it!

  6. I LOVE your elegant fall cards. The layout of the 2nd one is so creative!

    I have an award for you here:

  7. Quit overanalyzing yourself! ;) Your work is fabulous! I really love card #1!

  8. Hi Susan, for the record I love both your cards! I have to admit that I am drawn to your second card as I really like the layout and am always a sucker for a bit of kraft cardstock. Thanks for sharing these elegant beauties, Jo x

  9. I made almost the same layout (card #1) around the same time (in my SCS gallery). I'm an accountant (a place where creativity is not always encouraged, LOL!) and LOVE symmetry. Nothing makes me happier than a square card with a square in the middle! The rebel in me is attracted to assymetry - so I like card #2 and I love reading your thinking on it. I think it has tons of potential variations (good design always does (I read that somewhere LOL!)). Thanks for sharing so much of yourself with us! I feel like I visit with you every time I come to your blog!

  10. I love them both....I think the rounded edges and rectangular image on the second one catches my eye the best!

  11. Two great cards from the same set. I like how you reflected on the design elements of each one. I do agree that the flourishes moving from one block to another on the first card make it more lively and interesting. And there is good balance. But I also like how you cropped the images on the second card and rounded the corners. I think they are both winners.

  12. Both of these are just what I love. There is loads of inspiration here. If only I had more time...


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