Inside the Studio – July 2015 Moodboard with Celeste Knight

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Every month at P&Co our designers put together a mega collaborative kit. These kits are so fun to be a part of. It’s exciting to see how the whole thing coordinates and comes together every month. To me it’s like magic! As designers we take turns putting together the mood board and color pallet for the month. This month we thought it would be fun to show you a glimpse at July’s moldboard and how I put it together. Summer, travel and dreams really influenced me with this board. I found this style guide on Etsy that I think stylistically says it all; Boho Chic.

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 As I put this board together I had warm summer days in mind, fun summer vacation and travel, going places you’ve always dreamed of with people you love. Outdoors in nature is how I dream of spending summer. Summer dreaming made me think of dreamcatchers and feathers so I added those to the moodboard. Tribal influences being really trendy I added some pattern inspiration that reflected that trend. I think in the end, it came together in a fun, trendy Boho Chic styled inspiration. With elements like feathers, maps, dream catchers, and a muted dreamy summer color scheme to round out the kit, I hope you enjoy this month’s collaboration.
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Typography 2: Serifs and Sans and Displays, Oh My!

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Welcome back to the next installment in our typography series. Last week, we talked about some of the basic (but often misunderstood) terms in relation to typography, and also discussed how we can adjust certain things in our text. This week, let’s get into the different types of fonts.

If we were being specific, there are only three categories of fonts: Serif, sans serif, and script. For today’s purpose, though, I’m going to classify fonts into six basic categories that I see most often in scrapbooking: Serif, sans serif, slab serif, script, monospaced, and display.

SERIF

Serif fonts are named for the features at the ends of their strokes. They are very common in printed materials, and give your text a traditional feel.

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SANS SERIF

Sans serif are (literally!) fonts without serifs. These fonts tend to give a more modern, contemporary feel than their serif counterparts.

4-Sans

SLAB SERIF

I consider slab serif fonts to be a happy medium between serif and sans, but they are technically a subcategory of serif fonts: They have a serif, but it’s a more modern, thick one. Slab serifs can sometimes feel a little heavy if used too much, but are great for mixing with other fonts!

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SCRIPT

Script typefaces contain letterforms that are linked together, and oftentimes imitate handwriting. Since they are generally decorative they aren’t very readable, and therefore don’t work well for long body text. They are best utilized in titles and subtitles only.

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MONOSPACED

Monospaced fonts are ones where each letterform takes up the exact same amount of horizontal space, like an old-fashioned typewriter. They can convey both a vintage mood or a futuristic space-y feel. They are not great for journaling, because the uneven spacing can lead to ‘rivers’ (long winding spaces in text) and wreak havoc with ease of reading. These can be either serif or sans serif.

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DISPLAY

Display fonts can be from any of the above categories, but they are usually fairly detailed and are best displayed at a larger font size. They should always be used sparingly, for titles and subtitles.

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This week, I have a little bit of homework for you: Take a look at the text around you: Logos, advertisements, books, websites… Anywhere you can! Identify the types of fonts used, and think about why it works/doesn’t work. Is it readable or striking? Does it enforce a brand? Does it evoke a certain emotion? The more you think about these things, the easier it will be for you to choose the ones to fit your needs when you’re creating your next layout.

June Gallery Highlights

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Get ready for some inspiration!

There are some beautifully crafted pages from Pixels and Company circling around this month! Here is a round up of just a few of them!

You can see these and others around our social media groups. Come join our P&Co. Friends Facebook Group, where you can share layouts, browse layouts by others, and chat it up with us! You can also share your pages when posting to Pinterest or Instagram with the hashtag #pixelsandcompany (tag us, too – @pixelsandcompany).

There are so many things I like about this layout by Jan Sowder. The Sunny template is so unique, and I love how all the patterns fit together without looking too busy!

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The stitching is fabulous here, and how it allows your eyes to follow around the page while keeping focus on the (stunning!) photo. Layout by Lisa Breuer.

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Kym Tsukamoto’s layout is so much fun. I love the bling and the vibrant colors she chose. I also like how she used a larger sized photo on the page!

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The star elements jumped out at me here. I’m enjoying how they are spaced around the page mixed in with the other elements. The photo perspective is simply adorable too. Wonderful! By Lynnette LeBaron Wilkins.

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Thank you for stopping by!

Happy Scrapping!

Baseball Birthday and Hybrid Inspiration

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Now that summer vacation is here for me, I’ve been looking for some crafty things to fill some of my time. This is the one time of year that I can plan and work on things I love. My youngest is turning 10 and requested a baseball party this year. I thought what a perfect time to put some fabulous digi stuff to use in hybrid form for decorations! I went to work using Play Ball Papers and Elements by Robyn Meierotto.

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These papers and elements are so great. All I basically had to do was add some text to a few things, print and cut! My photos didn’t turn out the best because we had to move a lot of it inside due to rain, but here’s how it all turned out:

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Baseball-Birthday-2

I kept thinking of idea after idea with these awesome supplies, but ran out of time before the big day. Maybe next time! Batting practice was, by far, everyone’s favorite, little kids and big kids alike.

 

Here are some other great hybrid projects from our Creative Team:

by Kate

by Kate

by Kate

by Kate

by Kate

by Kate

We would love to see your projects, too! Come on over to our P&Co Friends page and share them with us!

 

Typography 1: Let’s Talk About Text, Baby

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You know that saying “It’s all in the delivery?” I’m a firm believer. Proof positive:

1-FootMassages

Technically, they are saying the same thing, but one is kind of hot, and one is kind of creepy. Right? Right.

Your journaling is the same way: You can type it up and put it on your layout, and it says what it says. However, change the font, tweak the spacing, and how you perceive what it says is instantly changed. Subtle nuances in your text really can make or break a layout.

Let’s start with a quick overview of the basics.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A FONT AND A TYPEFACE?

Not much in the modern world, but the phrasing goes back to usage in our history. When everything was done on a printing press, they needed to have each typeface in a variety of fonts. For example, Garamond in multiple sizes (8pt vs. 12 pt) would be considered two fonts of the Garamond typeface. Add in different weights and styles (bold, italic, underline, etc.) in each of the different sizes, and you can see how quickly the number of fonts would add up in a single typeface. Having said that, many of the best typefaces are still designed with multiple fonts. So, while your PS or PSE can imitate an italic or bolded version, it’s always best to take advantage of the different fonts you have in a typeface, because the end result will be much better.

WHAT’S A GLYPH OR LETTERFORM?

Basically, this refers to any specific character in your font, whether it’s a number, letter, or punctuation. There are different parameters that can be used to describe the letterforms, which you can see illustrated below:

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The baseline is the bottom line, where the bulk of your letters sit. Cap height refers to the height of a capital letter above the baseline, but some letterforms (rounded, like C or O, or pointed, like A) might extend slightly above it. X-height is (literally) the height that an x goes to in that particular font, which most of your other letterforms will match. Ascenders are strokes that go above the x height, like in b, d, and f, and descenders are strokes that go below the baseline, like g, j, and p.

In the Photoshop character palette, you have control over a few different settings:

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Font size is the first one, and I think we all know how that works: The higher the number, the bigger the letterforms.

Next up is leading (pronounced leh-ding, not lee-ding), and it refers to the amount of space between your lines. Although it can be counter intuitive, increasing the leading can give you a more pleasing result than leaving the default spacing, and make it easier to read! Long text bodies especially can benefit from this.

Next, I’m going to skip over to tracking (also be referred to as letter-spacing), which is the amount of horizontal space between the letters. Bumping it up is very trendy, and can give you a fresh, modern feel. It looks especially nice with all caps or all lowercase text, and while there are preset options, you can type in any number you want.

11-Tracking

Kerning is sort of like tracking, but it references how two specific letters work together. This is one of the biggest reasons that good fonts can be so darn expensive. Font designers can spend far longer adjusting the kerning for a typeface than they do on the actual letter designs. Here is an example of a font with the kerning set back to zero, and then how it looks with the kerning enabled:

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As you can see, bad kerning doesn’t affect every letter, but it’s very noticeable between the A and the V. When you go to adjust it, you’ll see a few preset options: Optical and Metrics. Optical is the settings that the designer set manually, and metric is calculated using an algorithm.  The visual differences are slight, so which you use is up to you.

13-Kerning

Unfortunately, PSE doesn’t yet have the capability to do some of these adjustments. There is a slight workaround though, that gives you some results. Go to Preferences > General and check the ‘Show Asian Text Options’ box. Next, select the Text tool, then click on your image and type. Highlight your text, and then click on the symbol at the top to adjust.

That’s it for today, but I’ll be back next week with more, as we delve into the different categories of fonts.

(Have a question you’ve always wanted answered? Ask it here, and I’ll include it in a future blog post!)

 

Destruction – With Purpose!

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Hi everyone – I’m back!!  Did you try playing around with a quick page or two? That’s what we chatted about when we last got together.  This time, I’d like to talk to you about destruction with purpose.  Okay, so when you hear the word “destruction”, you might think about modifying elements by destructive or non-destructive means (recoloring something, for example, or using masks) … but nope, that’s not what I had in mind. Perhaps destruction is the wrong word. Um … how about creative re-engineering.  Yeah, that will work: Creative Re-Engineering.

Taking the next step from quick pages (QP), templates are a great way to stretch your digi skills a little more (really great for beginners or experts, alike). Like a quick page, a lot of the layout design is created for you by the designer, but unlike a QP that only has one or two layers, a template is choc-full of things you can play with.  Add papers, elements, photos, journaling. Pretty much, you name it, you can do it. Templates can be used “as is” or rotated, flipped, merged … or re-engineered. Let’s take a look at an example.

Here’s a page I created back in [eeeekk!!] 2013!  Oh my. It’s using a free template from Sarah Hemmert that’s still available in the P&Co store – you can find it here.

SoMuchFunMy process of creative re-engineering is taking a template, breaking it down, and rearranging the pieces to create something new. Although I love all the clusters in the original design, I really like the paper tear – those things can be so hard to replicate, unless you have some patience … and after all the caffeine I’ve had today, for example, now would not be the right time to try and attempt to create a paper tear. Lazy?  Heck, no!  Creative!  Using the paper tear as my base, and also picking up the tear under the bottom edge of the photo on the original design, I started to play around. I started to re-engineer the 2+ year-old template, giving it new life. A different life. Want to see my new-and-improved version?  Here you go —

Dream-EverydayCredits: Digital Scrapbook Collection | June 2015 – contributions by Jen Allyson (branch also by Jen); template – modified – by Sarah Hemmert

As you can see, I kept elements of the original template design, but creatively re-engineered them (I so love that phrase!) to design something new. Could I have come up with this page design on my own? Sure!  Is it easier – and faster – to use something that’s already done and modify it to suit my needs, to update it for my current tastes and design style? Yes!!

Destruction with purpose can be a fun exercise to try out. Why not take a template from your stash – the older the better – and see what you can do to re-engineer it. Instead of flipping or rotating the entire design, take individual components and shuffle them around the page. Change the order of layers, duplicate them … play!  With digital scrapbooks (as with many creative processes), there is no right or wrong … just play!!

Just a quick note on scrapbooking protocol – don’t forget to credit the original designer of the template when you share your layout on social media or in galleries, even if you’ve modified the original format.

How to Add Videos to Your Scrapbook Pages

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Hi everyone! Zakirah here & I’m very excited to share with you how to add those precious family videos into your scrapbook pages.

I love to capture videos of my family’s activities, especially of my nephews’ playtime. Those are the moments that I want to treasure, and I think that it’d be great for my nephews to be able to see their parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles as young people because let’s face it – we can’t stop ageing. One of the reasons why I scrapbook is because as a granddaughter, I wish I could get to know my grandparents when they were young, and I wish they kept some sort of scrapbooks of their lives. Unfortunately for me, that didn’t happen, so I’m making sure that the future generations of my family would have a glimpse of our current lives with these scrapbook pages.

One of the best ways to include videos into your scrapbooks is by adding QR codes on your pages. Here’s an example of a page with QR codes:

 

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If you’re not familiar with QR codes, here’s what it does: a QR code can contain URL (links), contact info, map location (latitude & longitude) and other information that you want to pass on to other people without them having to type long texts. The QR codes can be scanned from a smartphone or computer, and the data carried by the QR code will automatically appear on the person’s devices when scanned.

It’s a very handy tool, don’t you think?

So here’s what you need:

1. An account on a video hosting site like Youtube (You can use Dropbox or Google Drive too, but I find Youtube to be more convenient because it’s specifically for videos and the site will probably still be online in the far future).
2. A QR code generator. You can download or use an online QR code generator. There’s a lot of free tools out there, and if you’re on Mac, I recommend QR Factory (linked to Mac App Store).
3. A QR code reader/scanner on your smartphone (if you want to check how it looks like).

 

Now let’s get started!

1. First, upload your video to Youtube.

IMPORTANT:

When uploading your videos to Youtube, be sure to set the Privacy to ‘Unlisted’ so other people can’t find your videos through Youtube search function or Google.

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2. After it’s uploaded, copy the video link and paste it to your QR code generator:

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3. Set your QR code’s reliability level to High, and choose your preferred output size.
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4. Save it to your computer. And now, you can use it on your page!

 

Now your family can scan the codes on your layouts and watch the videos on their smartphone.

 

I hope this tutorial is clear and helpful! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comment below. I’ll do my best to answer them promptly.

Chat with Kat – Quick Pages

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Hi everyone! It’s Kat – duh, see the title? Chat with Kat. It wouldn’t make any sense if my name was … well, Michele or something, right? Over the course of 10+ years of digital scrapbooking, I’ve had all kinds of “How’d you do that?” questions, so I thought I’d stop by the blog every month or so to say, “Hey!” and just have a little scrappy chat with everyone … about anything. If there’s something you’d like to know about digital scrapbooking, post in the comments or PM me and I’ll see what I can do. This month, I want to chat about quick pages.

Okay, so I’ll admit it – at first, I wasn’t a fan of quick pages (or QP’s). Even when I first started digital scrapbooking, I felt like I was cheating in some way by using a QP. I mean, the work was done and all I had to do was add a photo. However, as time as gone on (hindsight is a wonderful thing!), I’ve come to appreciate the QP, both for what it they offers the new scrapper or the experienced.

For anyone new to digital scrapbooking, a QP is a great introduction to your software package and learning the basics of photo manipulation (cropping, resizing, etc.) and very simple layers. Starting out, there’s a whole language that accompanies digital scrapbooking, just like any other hobby, interest or sport (scrapbooking as a sport?! Oh yes, trust me – I’ve seen some very competitive speed scraps and other competitions!), so getting the basics down first is a must. A QP is an almost-completed scrapbook page and usually all you have to do is add a photo. Two layers. Two “things” in your page. If you’re used to paper or traditional scrapbooking, then imagine every piece of paper, flower, button, sticker … every piece is a “layer” in a digital page. As a newbie to the craft, you can imaging how overwhelming it might be to try and organize everything in a software program that you may or may not be familiar with … uh-huh. Not necessarily the “fun” that you were expecting! Enter the QP. Sure, there’s still a little bit of finagling with the photo, but in a very short amount of time, voila! A complete page ready to save, share and/or print. Shadows are done for you, sometimes even titles.

Here’s a QP from the store where all I did was add my own photo; I didn’t change anything (notice I said change – yup, you can change QPs with a little bit of patience!). Print the page on a good color printer on 8.5 x 11 standard sized paper (so the square is 8×8″), or send it out to print, write any journaling on the page. Done.

QP---OriginalCredits: Love in the Air Quick Page by Meredith Cardall

For a long time, I hesitated at using QP’s – like I said before, it felt like I was cheating. However, some designers create complete albums in QP format. Um, can we say quick and easy vacation or special event album, like this one, also from Meredith? Done. It’s a great option when you’re crunched for time.

Now, what about the experienced digital scrapper? If you’re looking for a challenge, I dare you to modify a QP. Yes, modify it! Okay, so maybe I should say add to it. Look at the direction of the shadows – most will be either 120 or 45 degrees. What kit did the designer use to create the QP – do you have it in your supply stash? That’s really all you need. Add elements on top of what’s already there, being careful to add shadows that are similar in opacity, size and color to the ones already on the page (well, as close a you can get). Using your tools in Photoshop Elements or Photoshop CS, you can select items (using tools like the Magic Wand, Lasso, Quick Selection, etc.), duplicate them, layer then … it was a challenge that I found to be a lot of fun (I love a challenge – just tell me I can’t do something and see what happens!). With a few additions here and there, this is what I came up with —

QP---Updated

Using the kit (Love in the Air), I was able to pull in elements that coordinate with the QP, creating another photo and cluster on the left-hand side of the page. By repeating a number of the elements from the original design (like the stitched circles, the paint splatters, and the heart spray), I was able to make the page seem cohesive. Even if my shadows aren’t exactly the same as Meredith’s QP layout, they’re pretty close, don’t you think?

So for the beginner, QPs offer a great way to get familiar with digital scrapbooking. For the more experienced scrapper, QPs are an opportunity to add your own twist on something that a great designer has already started for you.  Not too shabby, right?  I’d love to see what you create with a QP – either leaving it “as is,” or modifying it … you’re turn – share!

May Layout and Project Highlights

 

I am always so inspired by all the creations I see using amazing Pixels and Company designs and while it’s true we do not have a gallery attached to the site anymore, that does not mean you can’t share your awesome creations with us! If you haven’t done so yet, come join our P&Co. Friends Facebook Group, where you can share layouts, browse layouts by others, and chat it up with us! You can also share your pages when posting to Pinterest or Instagram with the hashtag #pixelsandcompany (tag us, too – @pixelsandcompany).

Here are a few of the awesome pages and projects that have been shared with us this month from around social media:

I just love this page and the use of the cute wagon element and paper to match the wagon in the photo. So cute!

by Beatrice

by Beatrice

 

This page jumped right out at me. I love the simplicity and lovely little cluster. Perfect with the black and white photo!

by Angie

by Angie

 

How adorable is this photo?! Such a sweet page and beautifully put together.

by Candice

by Candice

 

I absolutely love the flow to this page! The shapes and little clusters are perfect for accenting the great photo.

by Dagi

by Dagi

 

This berry basket is so great! Beautifully done and makes me want to get out my paper and cutter!

by Kym

by Kym

 

These cards are so pretty! Lorell has several cards and they are all equally as gorgeous!

by Lorell

by Lorell

 

Love the photo in this one! The paper pieces and elements just add to, without overwhelming, the fun of it all!

by Ma

by Ma

Head over to your favorite social media and share your Pixels and Company layouts and projects with us! We can’t wait to see them!

Documenting Everyday: Inserts

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It’s Week 21 and I’m still going strong.  I’ve set aside Sunday mornings for all my Project Life Needs and most weeks I stick to it.

A couple of months ago I was really struggling with how to fit all of the pictures I loved onto a two-page spread. My friend (and fellow CT member!) Becca suggested making inserts as a way to solve that problem.

And now I’m a little obsessed.

From Week 17:
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From Week 19:

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From Week 20:

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I use Gen’s Pocket Pages for my layouts, but they’re all 12×12. I knew I’d want my inserts to be a different size than my regular pages and I knew I’d want them to be made with the same pocket pages (for consistency!).

Today I want to show you how I convert those pocket pages into insert sizes. I’ve done 6×12, 8×12, and 9×12 sizes with her pockets and I love it.

  1. Choose your pocket page. You don’t want to cut a pocket in half so look for a page that will give you clean lines on the vertical edge. I chose a page from Fair and Square V.2. I saw that I could convert it to 9×12 so I created a new page with those dimensions.

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  1. I needed to rotate the pockets in order to get a template that didn’t cut any pockets off. Line up the edge.

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  1. Select the crop tool and run it from corner to corner diagonally. Click the green check mark and you’re done.

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That’s all there is to it.

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  1. INSERTS!
  2. I realized that I have multiple spreads that don’t contain a single photo of my oldest son. Like, weeks go by between photos of him and I’m looking at my pages thinking that maybe I only have 4 kids? I need to fix this.
  3. I have a favorite template! I’ve been using it exclusively for five weeks now. It’s this one (with the squares on top and bottom):

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Are you into inserts as much as me?

Anyone else have a favorite template for pocket scrapping?