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If you re new to the world of digital scrapbooking (or are just looking for a refresher) here are some hints and tips to help you create polished layouts that do your memories justice.

Software

  • Experiment with the various capabilities of your chosen software program. Don t be afraid to try new things. One of the benefits of digital scrapbooking is that you can delete the layouts or elements you don t like without wasting any supplies or dealing with a big mess. For help deciding which digital scrapbooking software package is right for you, check out our Digital Scrapbooking Software and Mac Digital Scrapbooking Software reviews.

Fonts

  • Use no more than 3 different styles of fonts per layout. Adding more than that just creates visual clutter and detracts from, rather than adding to, the impact of your design. Typically, your layout should include a display font for the page title and a body copy font or two (depending on your design.)
  • Text set in ALL CAPS translates as visual shouting and should be avoided except when used in a title or sparingly for emphasis (when you do want to shout.) You shouldn t use all caps with a script font at all. The elaborate curls are very difficult to read and will make the reader skip what may be an important point in your layout.
  • The same general rules apply to italicized and bold styles. They should be used sparingly for emphasis. A whole paragraph of bold text also seems to be shouting. Overuse of either italics or bold text tends to make your writing  sound  flat to the reader. It s very difficult to tell when and where you wanted importance applied to your words if they re all stressed.

Layouts

  • It is possible to create layouts without photos such as when you have tickets, programs or other ephemera but no photos of an event. Simply scan the items and design your layout around them, incorporating sufficient journaling to fill in the story. Whenever you do use photos in a layout, they should be the focal point.
  • Create a visual triangle to guide the eye through the layout for a design that flows together well.
  • White space is important and doesn t have to be white. This term simply refers to blocks of space in your layout that are free of embellishments and allow the viewer s eye to rest.

Photos

  • If your photo s subject is looking off to the side instead of at the camera, be sure to position the photo so they aren t looking off of the page. Use their line of site to guide the reader s eye to the next point in your layout, say the journaling for instance.

Embellishments

  • Don t get too carried away adding embellishments. Just like accessorizing an outfit in the world of fashion, a good rule of thumb is to view your finished layout and remove one element so that you re sure your overall page isn t cluttered.
  • An odd numbers of elements look best. Here again, you ll see the visual triangle strategy applied.
  • While all digital scrapbooking software programs come loaded with pre-designed pages and albums, you can also import digital elements that you ve purchased separately. For some good sites to purchase digital scrapbooking elements, be sure to read our Digital Scrapbooking Elements reviews.

Colors

  • Choose a color (or colors) from your main photo to base your design scheme on. Most digital scrapbooking software programs allow you to easily  sample  a color (or colors) from your photos. Then you can use it to color a background, text or other digital elements.
  • Using a monochromatic color scheme (various shades of a single hue) creates a striking page that allows your photos to take center stage.
  • If you have colors in your photos that clash, change the images to black-and-white for a cohesive look. This is also a good way to make your layouts more timeless. Removing the colors keeps the  current  color fashions from influencing your interpretation of the image.

Output/Sharing

  • Print Whether at home on your inkjet printer or via a print service, all digital scrapbooking software allows you to print out your layouts. Once you ve got the pages printed you can add dimensional elements to your layouts and then simply insert them into an existing album or skip the extra elements and go straight to the album. Another advantage of digital scrapbooking software is the ability to print multiple copies of the same layout making it easier to share your layouts with friends and family or to maintain multiple albums (say one for you and one for each of your children.)
  • Movies/CD Many digital scrapbooking software packages have the capability of creating and exporting a movie or slideshow of your album. Some will even let you add music and embed other videos within the layouts. If the software you ve chosen doesn t allow this, you can still create a slideshow or movie with your pages. Just export them as jpeg files and then import the files into a slideshow or movie editing software program. You can create and export a QuickTime movie that is easily shared with loved ones far and near.
    Exporting your layouts and burning them onto a CD or DVD is a good way to back up your digital designs in case of a computer failure or other mishap.
  • Online Share your layouts online on your blog, Facebook or through email. Most digital scrapbook software will, at the very least, allow you to save your pages as jpegs which you can then post on practically any online social networking site or other  sharing  site.

These are just a few ideas to help you really get the most out of your digital scrapbooking software. There are several other review sites that will be helpful when choosing the best product or service for your scrapbooking needs. Check out our Digital Camera reviews, Digital Photo Printing reviews and Inkjet Printer reviews.

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