28 November 2012

Digital Hertiage Albums: Playing With Color

I hope you've enjoyed my post about creating a cover page for a family history scrapbook. Today I want to combine two previous posts about using color palettes to help you make color choices for your heritage album. To view those previous posts click here and here.

Selecting a color scheme for a family history album is probably one of the most exciting, and sometimes difficult, parts of creating a scrapbook. With paper scrapbooking, one would spend hours trying to decide what colors and color combinations work best. It would be very costly to cut and glue your pictures to a combination only to decide it doesn't look as good as you hand hoped.

Thankfully, digital scrapbooking makes it affordable, and fun, to try different combinations of colors and papers until you find the one that works for you. Let's see how I used one a layout with three different color options.

Cover page template with photo and title in place


As you can see, I can have three or four colors in my color scheme. The template designer has given me a few hints of where the light and darkest papers should go. And, I want the picture of the family farm in the sent to not get lost.

If you have a digital scrapbook kit with papers and embellishments that meet your needs, stop reading this post and start creating your pages.

Unfortunately, I don't always find kits that have all the papers I want. Or, the kit costs more than I want to spend. So, I usually pull digital scrapbook papers from a variety of scrapbook kits for my heritage album. Since I'm not a designer by trade, I need help knowing what colors go together.

The first stop is to look at a collection of color palettes from Colorcombo.com. I came across this color scheme that I thought would work nicely for my heritage scrapbook. This is a nice blend of rich colors that isn't always brown or black and white.

I found different pieces of scrapbook paper on my computer that I thought might work nicely. I opened them in my photo editing software (Photo Shop Element or Paint Shop Pro). As I opened each piece of potential paper, I weighed them against the color scheme. I tried to match them as closely as I could (notice the maroon color is now more a mauve). I also looked at the sample papers against each other to see if they were compatible. In the end, I came up with this layout option.


Title Page created using  Color Combo 34



Then I decided I wanted to try a monochromatic green color palette for my family history album. The color scheme that I found has four different shades of green: two dark, one medium, and an interesting light choice. I could have chosen a softer green color palette, but I lean more towards the royal colors in life and scrapbooking. That doesn't mean a light green palette wouldn't work. It's just personal preference.

The light green from the ColorCombo proved to be very difficult to find on my computer. So, I transformed a piece of paper I already had to be closely related. As I selected other green papers, I kept finding myself using the color palette as more of a guideline (2 darks, 1 medium, and 1 light).


Layout inspired by ColorCombo 52


Though the palette isn't exactly like the one I tried to emulate, I did find a pleasing color combination. I also decided to decrease the size of the outer mat. The layout seemed out of balance with the color choices I was making.

Since there is no rule that says I have to follow the template exactly, I modified it. I think this looks nice. I also played around with the title. I separated the location information out of the main title. I chose a tag embellishment and placed the information on it. This gave the layout more balance and flow. I also added a line of digital stitching to separate the upper border and the lower section. It was a nice touch.


The next color combination I decided to try was one with a black, brown, royal blue, and cream. This time, I thought about finding a piece of pattern paper that has some of these colors together.

Layout inspired by ColorCombo 11

I found a black paper with navy and cream pin stripes. I loved how that enhanced the quality of the dark top border. I tried looking for a medium brown similar to the sample color palette. I found quite a few browns with rich texture on it, but nothing closely matching the sample color. So, I decided to compare the browns to the black with pin stripe paper. By doing that, I finally found a brown that worked nicely. And, it was fairly close to the suggested color recommendation. Sometimes, changing how you look for paper (match to the color recommendation vs compliment to papers already selected) helps you pick the right one.

I loved how by placing the dark brown in the outer mat of the picture made it resemble a picture frame. When I used the dark brown as the title mat, I found the white text contrasted to the dark paper pleasing. Since the closer you come to a black and white color contrast increases the readability of writing in print, I knew this was a keeper.

The next question was what to do about the dark blue. I knew if I added another dark color to this layout that the papers would blend together as they wouldn't have enough visual contrast. So, I decided to use the blue as a guide (what type of blue, navy, blue-green, red-blue) and to find a lighter version of the color. I found a nice light, dark blue. When I added the piece as a background to the brown frame, the layout came alive. For the inner picture mat, I went a few shades lighter than the select blue and kept it a solid color. After adding a few accents, the layout came together nicely.
I hope this look into how I select a color scheme for a layout or album was beneficial. Whether your doing a paper or a digital scrapbook, it pays to play around with color combinations. Your favorites will vary from mine, but that's the beauty of it. Variation is the spice of life.

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