Ever liked a stamp --except for the fact that it was a little too big? Large-image stamps can be tricky to use and often don't work with your favorite layouts. I've used a big teddy bear stamp on this cards to illustrate some quick layouts you can use with any large-size main images, and common mistakes to avoid when designing. Enjoy this design tricks article and watch your stamping skills improve with Song of My Heart's simple principles for papercrafting you can be proud of.
1. This first layout is a basic vertically-oriented card base, with the large image placed center above the mid-line. Patterned paper down below (4.25 x 2.5 inches) helps the card balance and reduce top-heaviness. Not sure what I mean? Imagine this card without the patterned paper at the bottom (it helps if you squint). Does the main image appear to loom towards you? That's top heavy.
2. The second layout is composed of all the same pieces, but they are grouped in the middle of a horizontally-oriented card base. The patterned paper is not needed for balance, so it's pulled in from the left edge. The main image is pulled in from the right edge. And the long banner sentiment unifies all three elements into one. Overlapping part of a large stamped image with an element from the card helps it blend in instead of stick out awkwardly.
Side-note: aren't these bears adorable?? I'm using the cute new "photo-realistic" stamp set Baby Bear and his/her accessories and sentiments for my sample cards, with Soft Sky and Marina Mist for the boy cards and Blushing Bride and Rose Red for the girl ones. Both sets use Irresistibly Floral specialty pre-embossed Designer Series Paper in the open polka-dot pattern. I sponged it to add background color and used my Marina Mist marker to add a swipe of color to the centers (boy cards only).
3. The third layout is a basic horizontally-oriented card base with a long strip of patterned paper running the length of the bottom. There's also ribbon running horizontally across the card. However, there's enough visual "upward thrust" to the main image itself that it helps balance the horizontal together with the vertical row of brads. A common mistake is to match too many elements and not have any contrasting movement. Contrasting movement is actually a good thing, done correctly.
4. Can't get it to fit? Tilt it! Sometimes the combined elements and large main image are just not going to fit together smoothly. The answer can be tilting one (or at the most two) of the elements to allow room for all the pieces and still leave a bit of "white space" for the eye to "rest." In the case of this layout, the resting space is served by the space around the tilted image. Because it's slanted, more of the background is exposed in two key white-space areas: the upper corners.
5. The final layout shares another potential problem with large image stamps. Sometimes, the sentiment we want to use is much smaller than our main image and out of proportion to it. We can help alleviate this discrepancy by moving the main image out of it's "power position" (sliding it to the left edge) and beefing up the sentiment (see the faux-folded banner trick here). The patterned paper has been drawn up to support the sentiment, which is stamped in dark ink to further bring it out.
I hope you've enjoyed the five cards I shared today! If you're a fan of the whys-and-wherefores of good design, you'll LOVE the "Five Tips Designers Know" articles on my blog. Be sure to check out the Cheat Sheets Collections, too, if you could use assistance with not only the layout but also complete measurements, another big bug-a-boo for many stampers!
Hey, maybe that should be my next article for this series, eh? Leave me a comment if you'd love some insider tips on how the pros figure out their measurements.