Was it my mother that said the road to Hell is one paved with good intentions? Mom? Was that you?
The last time I did a Design Do-Over was in June. Sigh. Where does the time go? Good intentions indeed.
Enough with lamenting what could have been, it's time to present Design Do Overs: the December Edition. And this installment is oh-so very timely, as the subject of the page we are re-doing is a subject on a lot of adult womens' minds: hot vampires and hot werewolves. That's right. Twilight has come to Design Do-Overs.
The "keep in mind" catch-all disclaimer: I'm redoing pages in my style, and my style, while it may not be for everyone, will in fact illustrate some pretty basic principles of design.
(Note: I use Photoshop CS4 and InDesign CS4 for all of my digital processes. I will throw in PSE tips where applicable, however, this blog column is not meant to be a comprehensive digital instruction, but rather, an overall study of page design.)
DECEMBER'S LESSON: Working with text-heavy designs
This edition's page comes from scrapbooker Katie Pegher, an extreme Twihard fan who made a simple and well-written page documenting her Twi-love. She submitted her simple 8.5 x 11 design and said it was "…missing a certain je ne said pas quoi." (That, of course, is French for HELP ME, CATHY-WAN, YOU'RE THE ONLY ONE!) Let's look at her layout, shall we?
(click on layout to see larger in a new window)
When I read the journaling, I actually laughed out loud at her bullet point about Breaking Dawn being a potential freak show on film. I thought her journaling was funny and well written and I could absolutely relate on several Twihard levels. I wanted to take this design and let her words shine just a bit more. Here's how I did just that.
STEP ONE: Commit to a two-page design
With all the text and the lovely photos, I knew right away that when you have a lot to say, you're going to need a bit more room to say it, ergo, I would start with a two-page base for the layout.
Using Adobe InDesign, I created a two-page document, then created a very quick outline/overlay box with two rounded corners using a special script that works only in InDesign. (To learn how to make objects with one, two or three rounded corners in PS, see this tutorial.) Even though most of what I'm going to show you was created in Photoshop, the Adobe Creative Suite works so well together and some programs let me do things a bit more quickly. Once I drew the box in InDesign, I simply dragged it into my 11 x 17 photoshop document and rasterized the artwork.
I started with an 11 x 17 document because I needed to see the entire spread together. I simply dragged a guide to the midpoint to help me see the center of the spread. My plan was to give the text its own page and typeset it very close to the way Katie did on her original page. Then, the second page would be home for her photos.
STEP TWO: Begin building the spread
I pasted her journaling directly into the space on the left side of the page, and then created shapes to hold the photos on the right page.
I created one black box using the Rectangle Shape Tool, rasterized it (Layer > Rasterize > Shape) into an editable object (Layer > Simplify Layer in PSE), and duplicated the shape to create the different layers to hold my photos.
On her text, I replaced her asterisks with bullets, and then chose a simple, easy to read typeface, Archer.
Note: the font Katie had used was fine, but I didn't have that font on my system, so I made the switch.
The journaling was a bit long for the space I'd created, so I set out to do some finessing. One way to finesse a bullet listing of type is to create hanging indents, where your bullet hangs in the margin, and your text lines up neatly along it's own vertical plane. This is fairly easy to do in Photoshop using the Paragraph control (Window > Paragraph). You simply type a bullet, and then add one Tab between the bullet and the first word of your journaling. Do this for the entire journaling block, then highlight your text, open the Paragraph dialogue box and type in numbers that will tell your journaling where to tab to and where to hang to. Like this:
I used "8" in the first field, and "-8" in the second to achieve this effect. The other thing I did was add a bit of Paragraph spacing in the field just below of "3" points. What this does is put a bit of space between all of your elements. It's a bit more refined than simply adding a full return.
Note: PSE users, I'm sorry to say that these refined paragraph controls are not available to you. You'll have to use full returns between entries, and use forced returns (Shift + Return, then Tab over to create the hanging indent effect.) However, when you purchase templates that include this type of paragraph spacing, it will be retained in PSE, if that makes sense, as long as you simply highlight and type over each entry.)
I also cut a few words here and there to fit the space. Keep in mind: you can always find a few words to cut and in the end, your writing will be a little bit tighter and more succinct.
STEP THREE: Choose your title font
The one thing I thought was fun about Katie's page was the Twilight-esque font for the title. However, as fun as it was, I felt there was a just a hair too much of it. When it comes to funky fonts, also known as display fonts, you need to use them with restraint, or they can overwhelm your design. So, I picked a free font, Bleeding Cowboys, (download here) to use as part of her new headline. And I decided to use it very sparingly, and vertically:
To make a vertical headline in Photoshop, just use the text tool to create your words, then click away to the Move tool and go to Edit > Transform > Rotate 90 CCW (counter clock wise). In PSE, Image > Rotate > Layer Left.
Notice, just "Twihard" is in the Bleeding Cowboys font, and "Confessions" is in the same font as the journaling, only in the Bold weight. You don't need a lot of a funky font to make a statement.
STEP FOUR: Complete the design
The last part is the fun part: filling in pictures and, in this case, the digital papers. Katie had some photos pulled from the Internet, so I decided to pull some more. I mean, if you're going to pull shots from the web down, why not go for broke?
IMPORTANT NOTE: Now we all know that you cannot use web images for anything you plan to sell, publish etc. However, I feel for use in your personal scrapbooks it is acceptable, lest you think I'm advocating stealing images. I am most certainly not. However, I did find some cool ready-to-download wallpapers of Bella, Edward and Jacob that I decided to use to complete this design. So, my words of advice: Twilight cougars of the world, use your best judgment.
STEP FIVE: The results
(click on layout to see larger in a new window)
Ahhhh. Let your obsessions breathe with more space and total vampire and werewolf hotness. We started with a great idea and compelling journaling, and we simply expanded on that theme. We played it up with one gothicky font paired with very easy to read type for our expansive journaling. Black, red and white enhance the overall mood. I added the rest of Katie's former title as a smaller subhead, beneath the title. Twi-love, indeed!
STEP SIX: Why it works
1. The journaling has more room to breathe and feels more inviting. When you have a lot to say, you have to find a way to make it seem less intimidating. Katie's original layout felt a bit squished into a single page. Expanding the size of this layout was essential to making it feel more open and inviting.
2. Using funky type sparingly is the right choice, every time. Display type is fun because of all that nutty personality it brings to a design. Use it sparingly to make a stronger statement.
3. Photos grouped together are visually pleasing and make sense. Creating a gathering of six photos on the right side of the spread makes for a nice solid visual anchor to the design. And the hot vampire and werewolf don't hurt.
4. The entire design is framed with a common margin on three sides. Always pay attention to how you are using space. Equal space in and around elements is subtle, but makes for stronger designs.
5. Simple and restrained use of color allows your story to shine. Just a touch of red pops out on this otherwise neutral group of papers. Sometimes, that's all you need to create the perfect mood for your design.
I turned this lovely Do-Over into a template you can get over at Designer Digitals. So, if you need to document your Twilove, there's nothing stopping you now. The template comes as two 8.5 x 11 files for easy printing when you're done. The tabs and spacing are also all set up for you. PSE users, as long as you simply highlight your text and type over the placeholder copy, the spacing will all be preserved. Just remember to download the free Bleeding Cowboys font to use with the design.
WANT IN?: Submit your pages for Design Do-Overs
If you'd like to see one of your pages featured here, in this occasional blog column, send me a low res scan of your layout and why you're not digging it. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and put "Design Do Over" in the subject field.
Katie will be receiving her choice of 4 digital products from my line at Designer Digitals. Thanks, Katie, for playing along!
See the entire Design Do Overs series here.
And if learning about design is something you're interested in, there's plenty of time to sign up for Design Your Life, my 12 week workshop from Big Picture Scrapbooking. Class begins on December 31st. Kick off the new year by giving your design skills an upgrade. To read a recent Q&A about the workshop, click here.