Five Tricks Designers Know About Large Main Images

Ever liked a stamp –except for the fact that it was a little too big? Large-image stamps can be tricky to use and often don't work with your favorite layouts. I've used a big teddy bear stamp on this cards to illustrate some quick layouts you can use with any large-size main images, and common mistakes to avoid when designing. Enjoy this design tricks article and watch your stamping skills improve with Song of My Heart's simple principles for papercrafting you can be proud of.

1. This first layout is a basic vertically-oriented card base, with the large image placed center above the mid-line. Patterned paper down below (4.25 x 2.5 inches) helps the card balance and reduce top-heaviness. Not sure what I mean? Imagine this card without the patterned paper at the bottom (it helps if you squint). Does the main image appear to loom towards you? That's top heavy.

Baby Bear large image design boy card sketches Stampin Up cardmaking

2. The second layout is composed of all the same pieces, but they are grouped in the middle of a horizontally-oriented card base. The patterned paper is not needed for balance, so it's pulled in from the left edge. The main image is pulled in from the right edge. And the long banner sentiment unifies all three elements into one. Overlapping part of a large stamped image with an element from the card helps it blend in instead of stick out awkwardly.

  Baby Bear large image design card sketches Stampin Up cardmaking

Side-note: aren't these bears adorable?? I'm using the cute new "photo-realistic" stamp set Baby Bear and his/her accessories and sentiments for my sample cards, with Soft Sky and Marina Mist for the boy cards and Blushing Bride and Rose Red for the girl ones. Both sets use Irresistibly Floral specialty pre-embossed Designer Series Paper in the open polka-dot pattern. I sponged it to add background color and used my Marina Mist marker to add a swipe of color to the centers (boy cards only).

Baby Bear large images design card sketches Stampin Up cardmaking

3. The third layout is a basic horizontally-oriented card base with a long strip of patterned paper running the length of the bottom. There's also ribbon running horizontally across the card. However, there's enough visual "upward thrust" to the main image itself that it helps balance the horizontal together with the vertical row of brads. A common mistake is to match too many elements and not have any contrasting movement. Contrasting movement is actually a good thing, done correctly.

Baby Bear large image design cards sketches Stampin Up cardmaking

4. Can't get it to fit? Tilt it! Sometimes the combined elements and large main image are just not going to fit together smoothly. The answer can be tilting one (or at the most two) of the elements to allow room for all the pieces and still leave a bit of "white space" for the eye to "rest." In the case of this layout, the resting space is served by the space around the tilted image. Because it's slanted, more of the background is exposed in two key white-space areas: the upper corners.

Baby Bear large image design girl card sketches Stampin Up cardmaking

5. The final layout shares another potential problem with large image stamps. Sometimes, the sentiment we want to use is much smaller than our main image and out of proportion to it. We can help alleviate this discrepancy by moving the main image out of it's "power position" (sliding it to the left edge) and beefing up the sentiment (see the faux-folded banner trick here). The patterned paper has been drawn up to support the sentiment, which is stamped in dark ink to further bring it out.

I hope you've enjoyed the five cards I shared today! If you're a fan of the whys-and-wherefores of good design, you'll LOVE the "Five Tips Designers Know" articles on my blog. Be sure to check out the Cheat Sheets Collections, too, if you could use assistance with not only the layout but also complete measurements, another big bug-a-boo for many stampers!

Hey, maybe that should be my next article for this series, eh? Leave me a comment if you'd love some insider tips on how the pros figure out their measurements.

Explore Some More!

9 thoughts on “Five Tricks Designers Know About Large Main Images”

  1. Thank you for some straight forward talking advice. It was great to have the pictures to refer to.I would love some insider measurement tips.

  2. These tips are fantastically useful, Lyssa! Your cards adorably illustrate each explanation. Yes please…would love a lesson on how to determine how to figure out measurement. Currently, I use the “guess and by golly” method, or I make up a mock project using copy paper just to test out the dimensions. I’d love to have some tips that save time and paper.

  3. Excellent tips, Lyssa! I love how you used your marker to color the tops of the raised dots. Such a neat effect! You are so good at clearly explaining things and at creating pretty cards that everyone can make.

  4. Hey I love your tips I am one who needs the tips about measurements what do I need to do to get those?
    Thanks for your dedication and joy in your business


Leave a Comment