Mindful Crafting, Part One – Three

This is the first part of a series (don’t ask me how many parts–could just be one, could be 7, who knows?) on things to remember as you make things.  By “crafting”, I mean anything you make or design.  This could (depending on the post) be costumes, clothing, or even websites.  But, without further ado:

Three.  That would be 3, III, or just plain old three.  When we design things, an important thing to keep in mind is this small number.  The number three represents a perfect unity in design.  It is an odd number, which makes it pleasing to the eye  (if three isn’t a large enough number for what you need in your projects, then a five or a seven works, too.  Even numbers are almost always a big no-no.)  But most importantly, it’s simple.  If there are more than three elements to draw your attention in, a thing will look busy.

Photography:  Photographers and Videographers have a “rule of thirds”.  Imagine a screen divided into thirds vertically and horizontally.  Photographers want to get their subject squarely into these thirds.  This is why photos almost always have the subject in the center, or along one of the sides.  If a subject is not mostly within one of these thirds, the photo looks uncomfortable.

Color:  In many spheres of design, color plays a crucial role.  Notice in this pattern (which I will be buying sometime because I think the first and third dresses are absolutely stunning) the unity of coloring.  In the first dress, you have three colors.  That green dress, the off-white shirt, and the black belt and shoes.  The green is the focal color, the off-white is the complementary color, and the black is the accent color.  As you can see, the other two photos demonstrate that having only two colors is not disobeying this rule.

What does disobey this rule is having four or more colors.  This distracts your eye, and gives you a hectic sensation.  In the above textile there are way too many colors for our eyes to take in comfortably.  Magenta, orange, brown, white, yellow and black.  There is no focal color, nothing for our eyes to rest on!  Notice in the previous photo, although there were two greens in that dress, they were really the same color, just different shades.  In this textile, however, we have six totally different colors going at the same time.

Elements: In design and crafting, each portion of your chosen project is called an “element”.  Let me explain it better.  In graphic design, your three elements are (usually) going to be:
1) Color (of which, as said before, three are allowed)
2) Fonts (Fonts will be discussed in a little bit)
3) Your emblem, photo, or clip art

A very similar thing ought to be taken into consideration when scrapbooking, as scrapbooking is graphic design in paper and tangible elements versus pixels and electronic elements.


There are a couple exceptions to the (almost) universal rule of three.

The first has to do with color.  You will notice, perhaps, that my own blog theme is made up of more than three colors.  I admit it.  Pink, green, brown, yellow, and blue.  But remember what I said at the very beginning.  Sometimes, three can be replaced with five or seven.  I could not settle on just three colors for my site.  They all looked empty, and sort of lost.   So I went with five, but made the design simple enough that it isn’t painful on my viewers’ eyes and trying to their patience.

The second has to do with fonts.  While three fonts are acceptable, two are preferable.  On my website, you will find two font styles:  Poor Richard, and Georgia.  Two fonts can be used to draw a person’s eye to the most important things, and the other font fills in the spaces.  With three fonts, your eye can get confused.  I have seen pleasing designs that use three font styles, but I have also seen some that drive me distracted, because it can look hectic.  However, like many other things, more than four fonts are very rarely visually appealing.

The number 3 is just another number, but it is a number that can help us design things that are beautiful, and stand out among the crowds of other amateur designers who make us all want to sing:

“Busy, busy, dreadfully busy…” ♥



Filed under blogging

2 responses to “Mindful Crafting, Part One – Three

  1. Oh for helpfully lovely! I was instructed and inspired, Polly. =)

  2. Pingback: Mindful Crafting, Part Two – Color |

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