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by Barbara Bennett and Brian Bennett

of MouseMemories Logo

Let's get started today by taking a little quiz...

TRUE or FALSE: Scrapbooking is a creative process. TRUE

TRUE or FALSE: There are no wrong ways to do anything because your scrapbook is a reflection of you and your tastes. TRUE

TRUE or FALSE: The colors you use on your page don’t really matter. FALSE!!!

The use of colors, the right colors, on your layouts can take them from OK to fabulous. Color has a huge role in the final presentation of each page. If you pay any attention at all to trends in interior decorating, you know that for several years now designers have been incorporating wall color into great rooms. Gone are the days of all white or off white walls. Why is that? Because color evokes emotion. Cool colors are calming. Warm or hot colors can indicate excitement. We’re drawn naturally to great color combinations, but we cringe when we see someone who has chosen clothing pieces that just don’t quite coordinate. Your layouts can evoke the same kind of responses, from "WOW" to "Something's not quite right."

There are lots of different ways to combine color to enhance your pages. If you're having trouble getting started, we suggest that you start by looking closely at the group of photos you're planning to use for your layout. Is there a color that is predominant in your photos? For example, if you are doing a layout of your adorable children meeting Mickey Mouse, you most likely have a lot of red, black, and yellow in your pictures. For Ariel, you would have more colors in the teal family. Your predominant color(s) might also come from the clothes your family is wearing, or from something that is in the background of some or all of the photos.

In an earlier article, we suggested that one simple recipe for your layouts is to use patterned background papers, plus one or two coordinating solid colors on your pages. To follow this recipe, you would want to find a patterned paper that includes in it the predominant color you have chosen to emphasize. Then choose a solid color that matches your predominant color. We often will choose a second solid color as well. It can be monochromatic – a varying shade of the predominant color, or it can be a contrasting color.

For example, on the page below, we noticed that a light blue could be found in virtually every picture. The children's clothes, Alice's dress, and the stripe on the Mad Hatter's Hat as well as his vest all were in a similar color blue. That took us easily to a patterned paper in the blue family. We chose the green from the Mad Hatter's Hat to be our solid color for matting. That resulted in a muted effect for the whole page. Notice that 3 of the pictures have been double matted. We matted them first on a solid blue color that coordinated with the patterned background paper. Then we matted them in the green color as well. We could also have chosen the bright rust orange from the Mat Hatter's jacket if we wanted to add an extra punch to the page.

Final Layout
Coordinating the colors of the page with the colors in the photographs make for a great finished appearance.
Mouse Memories, 2008.

Another example, using more colors and contrast is below. For this Tigger layout, featured in a previous article, we chose an orange patterned background paper that coordinated well with Tigger's obviously predominant orange color. However, to make sure that everything didn't all just fade into that orange, we used bold solid colors both as photo mats and as border elements on the page. How did we choose what solid colors to use for this layout? If you have a strong desire to be a student of color and color combinations, we'll give you a lot more information on that next time. For now, here are some easy cliff notes for you. If you choose a multi-colored patterned paper that includes your predominant color, the designers of that paper have already taken the guesswork out of color matching. Pull your coordinating solids from the colors used on the background paper. The orange patterned paper below has a repeating pattern of small bright blue shapes on it. There are also yellow components of those suns that made the bright blue and yellow colors we used on the page natural choices.

Final Layout
The final page layout with final journaling added.
©Mouse Memories, 2008.

I know you've seen families wandering the Disney parks that are all dressed in the same color. Often this is designed to help the parents easily keep track of the brood. However, if you think about it, those coordinating colors will help with obvious color choices later when working on scrapbook pages. We've even known scrapbookers that have fallen so in love with particular papers in a certain theme that they will buy the papers and take them clothes shopping so they can buy clothes to wear in the pictures that will coordinate with the papers. That might sound obsessive to you. Think about it this way: It's the perfect excuse to buy new clothes. Most of us women will take those excuses anywhere we can find them.

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