August 20, 2012

Card Design Handbook Week: The Focal Point Challenge


Whether you're putting your kids on the bus, settling your high school graduate in to college, or taking some courses of your own, it's back-to-school time everywhere, even for us card makers!

That's right! Paper Crafts magazine has done it again with Card Design Handbook In this home-run hit of a special issue, we've taken the basics of card design--composition, balance, color, and style--and shown you how to master them in your own paper crafted creations.

Do you struggle with balance in your designs? Are color choices challenging? Is it unclear what a focal point is? Have you ever heard of the "Rule of Thirds" or the "Sweet Spot"? Would you like to break out of your box and try something asymmetrical? How can you use repetition to your advantage?

Whether you're looking for a basic vocabulary that can help you understand what the elements of design are, a how-to handbook that addresses your trouble spots, or simply a collection of impressive ideas arranged by their particular strength of design, this issue will inspire you page after page after page.

And as per usual, here in the Moxie Fab World, we're going to celebrate this issue by focusing on a particular element of design in each of five inspiring challenges. I can't think of a better place to begin than with the most important element of any design, the focal point. Check it:

Wow! Card by Jocelyn Olson, p. 126

Moxie Fab Alert:  According to Miriam Webster, the focal point is the central or principle point of focus. To add to that apt accounting of focal point, the Card Design Handook says on page 18 that focal point is defined as the main area where the embellishment or image stamp is placed. With regard to composition, it typically works best if there is only one focal point. In this best-ever example of focal point by Jocelyn Olson, it is absolutely unmistakable that the "Wow!" sentiment is the focal point. Even better? Notice how she emphasizes it with the directionality of the lines going inward and the use of color to help the focal point stand out.

Jane Austen Card by Alice Wertz, p. 18

Moxie Fab Alert: Clearly, the focal point in this card is the stamped silhouette images. They are supported by the sentiment which is stamped directly beneath. What makes this focal point sing, however, is the beautiful background paper that adds interest, depth, and a palette of color that allows the silhouettes to stand out.

Shabby Chic Birthday Card by Amy Wanford, p, 149

Moxie Fab Alert: Focal points don't always have to be located in the center of the card. While the main action of this pretty card is taking place in the bottom left-hand corner, our eye is allowed to rest on the beautiful patterned paper in the upper right-hand space of the card. And note that Amy has several elements that comprise her focal point: the bird cage, the rose, the stick pins, the twine, and the sentiment. But because they are all grouped together in one place on the card, there is just one focal point that draws the eye in.

Whaddayasay? Are you ready to focus on the focal points of your cards? I'm hoping that you find this introductory challenge easy peasy. As you create, however, it's important to keep this in mind: I'll be looking for cards in which the focal point is clearly evident and which all other elements of the design work to support it. That way, I'll know for sure that you got the message in today's lesson on design. :)

Here's how to get this party started (and do be sure and check out the last bullet listed. *Grin.*) :
  • Create a paper crafted project (card, gift bag, tag, layout, home decor item, mini-book cover, etc.) that incorporates a focal point in an innovative way.
  • Upload it to your blog, click on the title of that post, copy the URL, and add it to Mr. Linky below.
  • Tell your readers that you've created your project for the Focal Point Challenge in the Moxie Fab World and link it back to this post to encourage your readers to play along as well.
  • If you don't have a blog, upload your project to this flickr gallery, copy the URL to your project, and add it to Mr. Linky below.
  • Upload your projects by midnight EDT on Monday, September 24.
  • The winning entries will be shown on this blog on Wednesday, September 26 and will receive an "I'm Moxie Fab" challenge winner button as well as a copy of Card Design Handbook.
  • One GRAND PRIZE WINNER will be selected from the ten winning entries by the editors of Paper Crafts magazine and will be featured in the March/April 2013 issue.
It's time to get focused,

~Cath

PS Be sure and tune in to Paper Crafts Connection where the Card Design Week party continues!

PPS Do you love our challenges? Be sure and join us for the Minty Fresh Challenge, going on now through September 3.

75 comments:

Jennie said...

Looking forward to this new special issue from Paper Crafts and what beautiful cards!!

Nina Yang said...

It is so good to know why some of my cards is better than my others lol very excited about this release!

Barb said...

Cath, I'm really hoping to play this week! I absolutely LOVE the Card Design Handbook issue - so very helpful! :)

Lin said...

I have lots to learn, so I'm looking forward to getting this special issue, and to the cards in this gallery!

pamela said...

The cover cards look amazing!!!

Becky Oehlers said...

Such a great challenge! This issue looks amazing.

MarcyK924 said...

I think I've been doing this all along on my cards, but never knew there was a name for it! I know there's a lot more I can learn from the handbook! Thanks, Cath!

Beverley said...

LOVE weeks like this on Moxie FAB World, they're so much fun! I'm looking forward to my copy arriving in the post!

Robin K. said...

Nearly every page of my issue of the Card Design Handbook is dogeared! I'm SO glad the editors of Paper Crafts came out with this!!

Myoriah said...

Thanks for your comments on focal point. They really helped me to understand what makes a card professional looking. This is one issue that I am definitely going to have to get. LOL! I need all the help I can get.

Katy said...

This is a great challenge! Thank you for the lesson too! :)

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Julie S. said...

What beautiful inspiration cards.

Ren-Yi said...

Fab project! thanks for the thorough explanations!

sanketi said...

Lovely issue ! and thanks for the challenge!

Lin said...

A question, Cath, do the cards we submit need to be made AFTER you issued this challenge, or can we use older ones made before then?

Ashlee Townsend said...

Thanks for the challenge. Love the design info, really soaking it all up!!

Suzanne C said...

Love these challenges! Design elements are things we do naturally and it is nice to be taught the principals which help when we get stuck!

Marlena M. said...

I'm giving this a shot~! Thanks Cath. ;)

Deb said...

Linked my card. This was fun. Thanks!

Susie said...

Love this challenge!!

Fiona said...

I've linked up too :)

Laura Jane said...

A MUST HAVE issue!

Amy said...

This is a fun challenge and happily coincides with my birthday (so lots of new crafty gifts to help inspire me)!

Catherine Couch Doucette said...

Thanks for keeping us inspired to try new ideas!!

Handgathered said...

What fun to do this. Creating with a learning curve!

Joyce said...

What a great issue and great challenge. I just linked up.

Aimes said...

Thank you so much for featuring my card, Cath! Always a total honour to be on Moxie Fab World! :D
I'm so inspired by this awesome issue and your challenge that I've played along too - hope that's OK!
Hugs!
x

Joyce said...

I just linked up my second card for this challenge. I hope that's OK.

Greta said...

I hear this is a terrific issue. Don't have my hands on it yet, but I'm entering a card based on the info on the blog. This was really fun!

Jen W. said...

Can't wait to get my hands on this issue and to peruse all the entries for these 5 challenegs!

Cath said...

Hi Lin! Thanks for your question about whether or not the entries need to be created for this challenge. While I always *hope* that you create a new project with each challenge in mind, I don't require it.

Have fun with the challenge(s)!

Greta said...

Card #2 entered--maybe I can get something done for some of the other challenges now. Having fun!

Cecilia Hsieh said...

Just posted my Father's Day card! Love all the Card Design challenges!

Isha said...

This is such an informative book. Your explanation on all the cards really help too. Thanks for the challenge Cath.

baileyrosy.com said...

What a great challenge and my first time here, will definetley have to read all about this subject. Have linked up . Thank you for the inspiration.

Marie

sanketi said...

Lovely challenges ..just linked one more card to share...

Cindy C. said...

I don't have a copy, but sounds like I really should get one! I've linked up a card, I do hope that's it fits the challenge theme!

madcat2002 said...

Soooo many gorgeous creations here! What fun!

Greta said...

I'm obviously drawn to the Focal Point design as I just linked up my 3rd card for the challenge. Thank you, PaperCrafts!

Vicki Dutcher said...

I loved working with design elements
today and getting all Moxie Fabbed! :) I also am so getting that magazine (unless I get really lucky and win it!)

Patti P. said...

Love the challenges so much, thanks a lot.

Cathy A said...

Having so much fun playing along with these challenges

Kailash said...

I am learning so much and have to challenge myself so decided that this is the best place for inspiration and growth, Thanks Cath!!

Kailash said...

I am learning so much and have to challenge myself so decided that this is the best place for inspiration and growth, Thanks Cath!!

Teresa W. said...

As always, I had fun making card for this challenge. Thanks.

Kelly Griglione said...

Can't say enough how true these lessons are, such great lessons and reminders! Thanks so much for sharing them. I need to purchase your book!!

Stephanie Lanzalotto said...

I learned so much from this issue! Thanks for the inspiration!

Jennifer said...

Great info! Thanks for taking us all "back to school!" :)

ileana said...

Hi Cath, thank you for another wonderful and fun challenge, it´s always a pleasure to play. Have a great day!

Charlene said...

Thanks for the push to improve our skills, Cath!! Fun challenge.

Angi said...

Super fun issue and a great way for me to get inspired to try new things. Love the challenges.

Leni said...

Would like to find a copy of this issue! Love the challenge!
Thank you for inspiring me!

Barb King said...

Fun challenge!

Jackie Rockwell said...

Another great challenge!

Danielle said...

So glad I was able to play along!

Eesha Kolli said...

This is the 4th challenge of the 5 that I have played along. I thoroughly enjoyed them all.

Ariane said...

Super fun challenge! Loved the entries!!

Deanna said...

Look at me... playing again! :)

Lauren, Crafts by: readysetLove said...

Thanks for the challenge!
Lauren

Jean said...

Oh, such fun challenges!

Mirta Sanchez said...

Keep 'em coming, love these challenges!

Kelly Jean said...

I linked up my card. Thanks for the awesome challenge. It was so fun!

Annette said...

thanks for the fun challenge...

Scrapycandy said...

I always end up using my challenge cards for friends in need. I think the challenges keep my brain engaged.

Cindy C. said...

Yay! I have a 2nd entry to this challenge. For the longest I have been thinking and thinking what card to make to play along. Then I made a card (for the Kick Start online class) and I realise that I could enter it.

Tracey McNeely said...

I am in love my issue of Card Design. I am going through it over and over, love all that I am learning. I linked my all white card with a vellum butterfly focal point for this challenge. Thanks.

Tracy said...

Great challenge and great issue!

Rachel W K said...

i have been loving all of these challenges. thank you for all the inspiration this month!

Helen Liu said...

I just entered my first try! http://www.flickr.com/photos/13974027@N07/8014932054/in/pool-heroarts

stamplover2011 said...

Just posted my first Christmas card!!

Aunt Flipsy said...

Just added my card! Thanks for another inspiring challenge! :)

Cindy Holshouser said...

Love all of these challenges! The projects from the magazine are awesome.

Sally said...

I have really enjoyed these lessons on different design elements and all of the information available on the MFW blog. This is my first time to enter a Moxie Fab Challenge.

Bethany S. said...

thanks for the great challenge Cath!