Hello, scrapbookers, this is Erika Hayes from Club CK. This month I would like to discuss something a bit “odd.” Many scrapbookers know about the principle of odd numbers in design, but may not know why it works. I want to review this principle because it is vital to understanding good composition in scrapbooking and in any artwork.
Mind Control in Scrapbooking
I return to my favorite aspect of scrapbooking, mind control! The human brain loves order. The amazing super computer known as your brain loves to pair items together. You have probably heard the advice to use odd numbers on your layouts—so why am I talking about pairs? This is where the mind control comes into play.
Your brain is always looking to find a pair. Why do we pair things up naturally? Perhaps it is because our body is designed in pairs: we have two eyes, two ears, two arms, two hands, two feet…you get the idea. (You may be saying we only have one nose, but our nose has two nostrils!) When a layout is made up of an even number of elements, the brain will scan it quickly, be satisfied that the pairs are all in order, and move on. For example, look at this sketch, which uses simple lines to demonstrate the importance of pairing:
Real Scrappers Keep It Odd
Now, let’s look at a sketch based on the principle of odd numbers. I used the same elements to create this sketch. No sizes have been changed, only placement and number of elements.
The scale of these elements stays the same, but creating the odd numbers on the layout makes the composition much more appealing. Our brains are hard-wired to scan for pairs, so it will examine the entire layout. Only once the brain is satisfied that no further pairs are present will it will move on. The loss of the second half of a pair (photo, embellishment, line) forces the viewer to examine the layout more closely, and that means the entire work will be noticed and appreciated. So, whether it be three photos, five journaling strips, or seven flowers…keep it odd!
Join us for this month’s Thanks Living challenge and use some odd behavior to create your next masterpiece!
About the Thanks Living Challenge
The Thanks Living challenge is an ongoing yearlong challenge that you can begin at any time. Remember: if you are busy counting your blessings, you will lose track of your misfortunes!
If you have missed any of the Thanks Living challenges, you can find them all here.
- Introduction to Thank Living
- Thanks Living Challenge #1 – Points and Lines
- Thanks Living Challenge #2 – Visual Hierarchy
- Thanks Living Challenge #3 – Layering and Clustering
- Thanks Living Challenge # 4 – Balance and Symmetry