Rule of Thirds in Colorful Seasons Card

Two versions of a handmade card made with the Colorful Seasons Bundle illustrate some tips for using the Rule of Thirds. This design principle is one of the most important tools a card designer has, but we need some flexibility in how we apply it!

Here’s Version #1:

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In case you’re interested, the colors are Crushed Curry, Fresh Fig, and Old Olive.  The background is a piece of the Color Theory Designer Series Paper, with a lovely gradation of Crushed Curry from dark to light.

I was thinking about the Rule of Thirds when I designed this card, and decided to try the layout with the sentiment sitting on the bottom horizontal thirds line. Since some of you may not know about the Rule of Thirds, here’s a video for you.  It’s one I made years ago, and not as well edited as I like, but it will still give you what you need to know.

With the sentiment on the bottom horizontal line, it made for a lot of empty space at the bottom, with a very full top part of the card.  One of the members of my Designers Facebook Group said it feels “top-heavy.”  I like the card ok, but I kept feeling uncomfortable looking at it.  It didn’t have the sense of balance and harmony that I strive for in my designs.

So I created Version #2, and just moved things down a bit.

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This card just feels more balanced to me.

Over the years my design sense has unfolded and grown to a great extent.  When I make a new card, I’ll try many things until I get that “ahhh, yes!” message from my physical and emotional response.  

One take-away from this experiment, is that the Rule of Thirds is a flexible concept. While version #1 has an element right on one of the thirds lines, the overall effect wasn’t as harmonious as the second card.  When I hold up the grid of thirds to the second card, you can see that the horizontal line is right between the bottom of the frame and the sentiment.

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We can’t just put things on a thirds line without looking at the overall design. When a sentiment or other element is close to a thirds line or one of the “sweet spots,” it is still perceived as harmonious.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think–of the cards AND the design lesson.  

The Rule of Thirds is a powerful design tool, and the two versions of the Colorful Seasons card will help you see how to use it!

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10 Responses to Rule of Thirds in Colorful Seasons Card

  1. Jeri September 19, 2017 at 2:16 pm #

    Best tip ever!!!

    • Sage September 19, 2017 at 4:14 pm #

      Thanks, Jeri! It’s great to see your comments here on my website as well as on Facebook. 🙂

  2. Sandra September 19, 2017 at 4:20 pm #

    love the tutorial and the cards. What is the sunflower stamp you used?

    • Sage September 19, 2017 at 4:23 pm #

      Thanks, Sandra. The stamp is the Sunflower Background Stamp from Stampin’ Up! It retired years ago.

  3. Sue Townsend September 19, 2017 at 4:41 pm #

    Great tip. Thank you. Makes sense!

    • Sage September 19, 2017 at 6:29 pm #

      You’re welcome, Sue. I hope you’ll use it in your craft room!

  4. Susan Stufft September 19, 2017 at 6:44 pm #

    Susan …Wow…I discovered this rule without even knowing it. I’ve been making cards for nearly two years now. I’ve have been spacing my card this way all along. Makes it look so pleasant… I enjoy your types and lessons. Thanks.

    • Sage September 19, 2017 at 8:02 pm #

      Thanks, Susan. I did the same thing, and didn’t learn about the design principle until that Sunflower card didn’t feel right. It really does make your cards look great. Thanks for the comment, I’m glad you’re enjoying what I teach.

  5. Carol G-Wilson September 20, 2017 at 8:57 am #

    Sage, I’ll have to check my cards when I get home. It’s possible the lack of this knowledge is why some of my cards get left in the basket instead of being sent. Thank you.

    • Sage September 20, 2017 at 1:21 pm #

      Could be, Carol. It’s amazing how balanced and harmonious designs are when you use this concept!

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