Sunday, May 31, 2015

Howdy, Placement, and Geometry

First of all, a big howdy to the new subscribers who found Simplicity via Operation Write Home! I'm so grateful you're reading and hope you find plenty here that is useful, encouraging, and occasionally funny.

Sometimes, I'm even funny on purpose! By the way, if the pear jokes confuse you, you might want to check out THIS POST for context.

Anyway, welcome!

Today's post is a design lesson on placement and visual triangles, with before and after cards to illustrate the point.

First, I'm using a new Hero Arts set, Stamp Your Own Cactus, which I purchased because my in-laws live in western Colorado and it might come in handy for cards for them. It's been a fun set to play around with. I particularly like the combination of block and outline stamps.

The saguaro is just adorable, so I stamped it simply in Fresh Ink Mojito and proceeded to embellish the layout with a triangle of flowers stamped in Fresh Ink Harvest.

GACK!!!!! WHAT NOT TO DO!!!!!!

My thinking--erroneous as it turned out--was to integrate the sentiment into the design better by placing the third flower down below it. As soon as I stamped it, I knew I'd made a horrible mistake.

Can you spot the problem?

Both flowers on the right align with the y-axis of the card. They form a straight vertical line...which results in a pretty awkward design, does it not?

Of course it does. In this design, only the trunk of the cactus needs to be purely vertical. It's so thick and centered and heavy, the other design elements need to create some tension to break the symmetry of it. Note that the stamp designer put the arms on the cactus asymmetrically. She/he did that on purpose.

So I tried again. This time, the triangle is irregularly placed, and not one side of it aligns with either the x-axis or y-axis of the card.


Doesn't that look so much better? Nice, solid, unified. Makes you want to sit up and say, "Howdy!"

Like a good CAS design should.

So don't be upset if you place things awkwardly on a card the first time. Just learn from the mistake, make it right, and move on. After all, it's only paper.

stamps: Hero Arts Stamp Your Own Cactus
ink: Fresh Ink mojito and harvest, Memento espresso truffle
paper: Papertrey Ink white
accessories: tiny little rhinestones


  1. I love how you break down aspects of design. What a beautiful result.

  2. Thanks for another lesson in design, Susan. I did see that the second design is more appealing, but now I also understand why.

  3. When say "can you spot the error", I take the challenge! I knew I didn't like the 3rd flower placement...I just didn't know why. Thanks for the geometry lesson!


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