To the casual observer, scrapbooking may appear to be merely a pastime, a way to express creativity while putting together pages to show off pictures of family, friends and important events. But a closer look at scrapbooking reveals that there s much more to this photo based phenomenon than fancy fonts and pretty paper.

Although documenting weddings, birthdays and fun filled vacations continues to play an important role in scrapbooking, documenting special occasions is no longer its driving force. Since becoming popular around a decade ago, scrapbooking has continued to evolve, shifting focus from places to people and emotions instead of events. Scrapbooking is ever becoming more personal and less formal. Here are a few easy tips that can help add clarity, meaning and an artistic flare to your scrapbook projects.

Keep Scrapbooking Simple

With literally thousands of choices of accessories available buttons to eyelets, ribbons to raffia it s easy to overdo it. But with scrapbooking, the old adage of "less is more" rings true.

When planning your page layouts, create a focal point with a single, large picture or multiple, smaller photographs, and then use a small number of add ons to add balance, further meaning and texture. Use simple, clean lines and complimentary fonts that harmonize to deliver the right mood and message.


Scrapbooking Stories, not Pictures

Scrapbook pages today are more akin to pages from a journal or a family history than a photo album. Why? According to Jeanette Brinkerhoff, a scrapbooking enthusiast and a member of the design team for Creative Concepts magazine, it s because focusing only on pages that simply log events can quickly become monotonous. Also, these kinds of pages typically share little or no valuable information about the people that they feature.

"What happens is that you eventually end up with 45 pages of trips to the zoo," said Brinkerhoff. Instead, this mother of three says she ll pick out a picture of her youngest son touching a cow s nose and then create a page around it, explaining, through her design, that he s the kind of person who simply loves everyone and everything.

Traditional scrapbook pages that simply catalog events are typically breezed though and quickly forgotten, but this more personal style of scrapbooking tells stories about people, persuading viewers to pause and spend time getting to know those on the page.

Make Your Scrapbooks Unique

Be on the lookout for new, clever ways to communicate your message. This can be done through a single word, like "wonder" or "inspire," or by attaching items to your scrapbook page in original ways.

One clever method to add features without cluttering design is with pockets. For example, Brinkerhoff created a scrapbook page featuring her own newborn picture. She added stylized pockets to the front and back of the page, which added flavor to her design and held a copy of her own birth certificate, hospital records and foot stamp, a newspaper clipping announcing her birth and a hand written account of her birth that was penned by her mother.

So whether you re scrapbooking your wedding day or something cute your kid said the other day, remember to think unique, keep it simple, tell your story and the rest is, well, history.

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