For many of my cards, I have a general idea of what I want to create but pick colors based upon one element. In this case I knew I wanted to use this paper, so I picked the flower colors based on that. This paper came in a large pack of coordinating prints. When using paper sold like that it is easy to use a few patterns together without much thought since they "are meant to go together."
Choosing patterns can be a little tricky - it is much more than making colors match. It is about color, and scale, and style, and contrast versus similarity (tip - you need a little bit of both!).
For this card I had two papers of the same pattern but the scale was different. One had small flowers about the size of those in the bouquet and the other was larger (shown here.) I felt the larger one worked better as it contrasted the scale of the focal flowers, but was not so large that they overwhelmed those flowers. Keep scale in mind. The scale gives contrast here, the colors lend similarity.
The card needed some color down the side. It would have been very easy to add a strip of plain card stock or a piece of ribbon. However this washi tape adds a bit of shine and color, along with a cottage chic look. The tape works because there is some similarity (in the color and style - cottage chic), but also contrast (in the pattern). The floral is very loose and organic in contrast to the geometric pattern of the chevrons. The scale of the chevrons also complements the floral.
Geometric patterns - dots, stripes, checkerboards, etc. - are wonderful to use, especially when paired with something loose and organic.
A pattern's style should also be considered when choosing it. Does it complement your image or detract from it? Be aware of using styles that have no relation to one another. Here the main flowers aren't particularly realistic or "cartoony", so finding a pattern that complemented them wasn't difficult. This card would look quite different if the background was filled with Victorian realistic roses while the bouquet of flowers was doodled line art. Even if the colors were the same, it probably would not work as well.
There are no hard and fast rules, just considerations. I've seen combinations work often because of a third element or pattern that pulls everything together. My daughter is the queen of doing this with clothing - we all know someone like that. No matter what they wear, they look stylish. Cards can be a lot like that.
When choosing paper/patterns ask yourself - Does this detract from my focal point? Are you only seeing the pattern paper? Is there contrast and similarity in patterns or between the pattern and main image? Do the elements on the card blend without being monotone? Is there a relationship between elements? What is the common thread among elements?
I hope you learned something today to make some of your design decisions easier or least more thought out.
If you have questions please send me an email or leave a comment below. I'd love to hear from you.
Dies: Cottage Cutz Flower Bouquet Jar
Paper: Craft Smith Oooh La La
Washi Tape: Recollections
Inks: Distress Oxides
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