In a scrapbooking design class I took long ago, it was emphasized that the first thing to do when creating a layout is to decide what is to be the focal point. The focal point is what our eyes see first when we look at a layout, and we want this to be the most important part of the layout. Usually it's a photo, but it could be journaling or something else. Furthermore, we want the other elements on the page to lead the viewer's eye toward the focal point.
Here's a quick layout I created to try to make a non-example. While it's not bad and anyone who loves my daughter would enjoy having it, compositionally it is lacking. There is no strong focal point. Where does the eye begin to look at this page? What message is this page intended to convey?
Here are some ways to create a focal point.
1. Our eyes are attracted to pictures over text.
2. Make it larger than others like it on the page.
3. Ground it on a horizontal or vertical strong line (think of the rule of thirds grid).
4. Frame it.
5. Cluster elements around it.
Here is my improved layout with a stronger focal point.
Which one pleases your eye more? It is a bit subjective and the most important thing is that you like your layouts, but try the ideas above and see if you like your layouts even more.
The layouts use Jeanine's Be Aware kit available in her store here. The kit is on sale 25% off right now, and $1 of each purchase is donated to BreastCancer.org.
Happy scrapping! ~Michele