Clustering Like an Expert: Using the Visual Triangle

Have you ever looked at a layout and thought, “Man, I wish I could cluster like that”?  If you’re anything like me, you browse the gallery and find tons of examples of clustering that is seems effortless, and wonder how they do it without making it look like the elements are just thrown on the page.  You may be left wondering, how can I arrange elements on my page to create dynamic clustering and still have some order?

One technique that can help is the Visual Triangle.  The Visual Triangle is a design principle that involves an imaginary triangle on your page.  The Visual Triangle is created by placing three similar elements of your page (elements, clusters, papers, etc) at the corners of the imaginary triangle.

I use this technique often when I am scrapping my pages.  Take a look at this page I worked on over the weekend.

On “I Want You to Know” take a look at my three flower clusters.  If you were to draw an imaginary line connecting all three of the clusters, they would create a triangle on the page.  By doing this, I have created some dynamic clustering that adds movement and flow to the page, but at the same time, my eye is drawn to the “order” of the visual triangle.

On “Fireworks, Fireworks, Fireworks!” I used the paper stars to create the Visual Triangle on my page.  Using the paper stars allows me to draw the viewer’s eye around the page.  You can see, the paper stars are part of the larger clusters, but placed in the Visual Triangle, they help bring order to a seemingly random page.

“Best Friends Forever” is another layout that I worked on over the weekend.  On this page, there are a few different places where I use the Visual Triangle.  If you look at the flower buttons on the page, they create a small triangle on the top half of the page.  This is great for leading the eye around my page, but if you look at the imaginary triangle, it goes directly around the pictures on the layout, putting the emphasis on the pictures.

Sometimes, the Visual Triangle doesn’t need to be spread out across the page.  In “Smile” I created my Visual Triangle using the large circles of the blue gingham paper.  Keeping these close together, I bring the focus right into the meat of the layout, and connect everything together.  This Visual Triangle brings unity to the other elements of the page.

Using the Visual Triangle can help you create dynamic clustering on your layouts, while still keeping order.  It’s a fairly simple technique that can take your pages from good to great in just minutes, and it’s flexible enough to use on every layout and not have it get old.

What should you do now?  Try creating a Visual Triangle on your next layout.  If you do, make sure to come back here and link us up.  Are you already using Visual Triangles on your pages?  What other tips do you have?  Share them in the comments below.


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