8x9 scrapbook layout with square photo

Finding Your Style

Scrapbooking style is a thing that’s talked about a lot. What’s your style? Love your style. I want to try that style. I’m bored of my style…

(How many times can you type the word ‘style’ before it feels strange?)

Style describes the overall look of your finished page and it’s something that evolves and constantly changes. It’s such a personal thing and really gets to the essence of your own taste.

Most of us are experimenting with style all the time because of new products, new techniques and just the need to change things up to keep us excited and motivated in this hobby. A lot of people don’t have one definable style, and enjoy going back and forth.

My style and how I got here.

When I started scrapbooking, I only knew how to do it through magazines and people sharing online. So my pages looked like that. Scraplifting and being inspired by others is a great way to learn when you are just starting out (and beyond). It might not be as creative to copy someone else’s layout but it can be just as fun and satisfying and you get a finished page you love.

My early pages are mostly 12×12 and 8.5×11 paper pages. Lots of patterned paper, letter sticker titles and embellishments. I loved making those pages but it didn’t necessarily feel like ‘me’ yet. I felt like a learner. As my pages got simpler, I started to learn what I liked.

When I found Cathy Zielske online and bought her book Clean and Simple Scrapbooking, it was an Oprah a-ha moment for me. Pages could really be minimal, well designed and still beautiful. I found my people (person) in terms of design. I learned so much from Cathy about design, taking inspiration from magazine layouts and putting a page together in pieces when you don’t have a large format printer.

A few years in, I decided to make the switch to more digital scrapbooking. I didn’t have my own space and I was getting tired of making a mess and cleaning a mess on our dining table every day. My son was only a few months old and digital just made sense to me with two little kids in tow. I was already doing a lot of digital things in my paper scrapbooking (basically hybrid) – typing journaling, printing my photos at home and dabbling in Photoshop so it wasn’t a huge leap.

I kept scrapbooking in my own way, lots of different styles depending on my mood. Some of my digital pages looked like real pages with papers, shadows, titles and some were super graphic and magazine like. I didn’t ever feel like I needed to settle on one.

As I got further into digital scrapbooking, I started making more 8.5×11 pages because I could print those at home (I was saving up my 12x12s and sending them to Persnickety Prints in batches a few times a year). It was nice to make a page and have it printed and in my album right away. Then I realised I really loved the rectangle design space over the square and slowly stopped making 12×12 pages at all (I also preferred leafing through my smaller albums over those 12×12 beasts).

Not long after, Ali Edwards 6×8 albums came along and I went all in on 6×8 scrapbooking. The smaller size meant that my style evolved again and I was paring my pages down to the essentials – words, title, photo and a couple of elements but sticking with my favourite rectangle base. Most of these pages have white backgrounds and full page photographs or a single small photo.

When I would feel unmotivated, I would go back to the most basic and make a page in the style I call little photo/little title/little story. Always works and if I could make pages in only one way – this would be it. (As an aside, sharing this little layout below on social media got so many comments it just shows people are up for some back to basics now and then).

Last year I sized down to 5×8 pages so I could print my pages in Trade Books with Blurb and not have to rely on albums and page protectors being stocked. Most of these pages are minimal and stick to the white background, photo and some words formula that works for me.

This year I’m back to 8.5×11 with a goal to get more words in my pages. Scrapbooking as therapy (I also recently got a few Citrus Twist Life Crafted albums I’m trying out when I feel like making smaller 4×8 pages). I think by now my style is pretty much set. Plain (usually white) background, lots of white space, big titles, journaling almost always, not a lot of embellishments besides digital stamps, word stickers, circles and word art and a neutral colour scheme.

When asked, I describe my style as minimal, clean and graphic. I feel that my scrapbook style nicely aligns with my personal style and values. My home is minimal (besides the thousands of books, my husband is a book collector), my decor is mostly neutral (black and white with a bit of red here and there) and my clothing style is the same. I know what I like.

Finding my style has helped make my scrapbooking feel authentic and personal to me. It makes me happy to see page after page looking a certain way in my albums. It makes me a quick scrapper because I already know the look I’m going for time after time. It makes me a frugal shopper because I know which designers and products I will use, even when there is so much out there that looks wonderful and fun. It makes me appreciate what other people are doing with their beautiful art journals and messy pages filled with inks and paint but know that it’s not for me at this time.

In my earlier years of scrapbooking, I was definitely following and copying trends. And I recommend that to everyone. But these days I scrapbook my own way and don’t feel like I need to do it like everyone else. I also like my pages and am happy with where I ended up in terms of style.

Everyone’s road is different. Some people might never settle on a style and just enjoy the process of trying new things and products with each page. Some people might still be new to the hobby and testing the waters to see what they like. Some people might find the concept of having a consistent ‘look’ in their albums to be boring. Whatever works. But I think it’s worthwhile to take some time to explore style in the scrapbook world and what you think yours might be.

Thanks for reading! Shannan

Instagram – shannan_pages

My Blog: Make It Simple

My Digital Scrapbook Shop: shannanpages

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  1. I have been collecting scrapbook things for a while now. I just recently actually started using my stuff. So I’m in the still trying out new things category. But I do know that I want to use less things and work a little more digitally – but hybrid, because I do like to touch things and add them on there, but I don’t want to own so many things. This is a great post.