Scrapbook Layout Design: Rule of Thirds

The focal point of your scrapbook layout design is the axis on which every other element of your page will spin. Everything else on the page blends with this focal point, either leading to it or directly from it visually. As you decide where on your page the focal point should go, remember that it does not have to land smack dab in the middle of your page. In fact, that may be the worst place to put it. To decide where it should go, try imagining a grid drawn on your page. The grid should split your page in thirds both vertically and horizontally.

Scrapbook Layout Design Grid

See where the lines intersect? Those are the places on the page where people's eyes are naturally drawn. Visual artists call this the "Rule of Thirds." Try putting your focal point on one of those spots. For example, in scrapbook layout design below, the artist chose a picture in which the subject was looking directly at the camera as a focal point.

Scrapbook Layout Design Grid

The focal point picture was placed on the lower left hand intersect according to the Rule of Thirds. This naturally draws the viewers eye to the picture and helps create a powerful layout.


Another aspect of the Rule of Thirds deals with the blank space on a page. It is important to make good use of the space on your page that does not contain a picture or other large item. The Rule of Thirds suggests only over 2/3 of your total page with these types of large items.

Remember the grid?

Scrapbook Layout Design Grid

Applying the Rule of Thirds to blank space is as simple as only filling 6 of the 9 total squares of the grid.

Scrapbook Layout Design Grid

Scrapbook Layout Design Grid

In each of these examples, only 6 of the 9 grid squares (or two thirds of the page) contain major items. Making use of the space on your page in this manner helps to ensure that your viewer is not overwhelmed by page elements.

You can also notice in both of these examples, that important page elements are placed on the grid intersects. Applying this Rule of Thirds in multiple areas and with multiple elements ensures a quality scrapbook layout design.

The Rule of Thirds is also closely related to the Golden Ratio.


As the "Rule of Thirds" suggests, there are layouts that will be more aesthetically appealing to the viewers simply by instinct. Often, you will notice those differences when you are planning or putting together a layout.

Try experimenting with different locations, sizes and angles of the photos to see what works best for your scrapbooking layout design. Do the slight changes contribute to a more balanced feel to the whole page? Notice the difference to your eye when you apply the Rule of Thirds and when you do not.

After playing around with different scrapbook layout designs, take a step back and observe the layout for a few moments. Ask yourself, "Is there a good flow and balance?" If the answer is no, continue to make some little adjustments here and there to get the right balance. If the answer is yes, move on.

Remember: Perfect is the enemy of good enough!


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