2 different Digi Scrappers selecting colors for a layout


When it comes time to choose the colors you want to include on a layout, there are many different approaches a digital scrapbooker can take. Of course, anything goes with a black & white photo, so some scrappers love to make their color choices easier by keeping the photo color neutral. Some scrappers don’t worry as much about color and just use the supplies they want to use with the story they want to tell.

I (Katie) can’t help but think of color choices every time I create a page. I love color! It’s a big part of the page design for me and one of the most deciding factors when I am selecting supplies for a layout.

My approach to selecting colors for a layout almost always starts with the photo(s) I want to use. I love to emphasize or complement the colors in my photos with the digital papers and embellishments I use on a layout. When I looked at this group of pictures I wanted to scrap, the predominant color that stood out to me was brown. Brown on my daughter’s shirt, brown rocks, brown garden bed, brown chocolate, and brown graham crackers.


I knew I wanted to emphasize the theme of s’mores and the fire, so I looked for a camping kit in my folders of digi supplies. When I saw this kit, I liked the variety of browns included. I knew I would find some brown to scrap with. I also noticed the greens in the kit and as I looked at my photos again, I saw that there were hints of green in our garden and on my son’s shirt. I could have picked up on the colors of the starburst candies to use, but those didn’t feel very “outdoorsy” to me. Green felt like a good color choice to go with all of that brown.


I started off with the embellishments I wanted to use and paired them with the photos. I decided that using brown as the background would make my layout too monotone. I decided to use a large amount of green to complement my photos and the brown embellishments.



I like to focus on using 1 or 2 predominant colors on a layout. Sometimes I will add a small accent color or two – in this case, the orange of the fire and the colors of the candies add a little “pop” to the page.

My color selection process almost always follows this same pattern. I work from my photos and pull out the colors I want to feature and then find the supplies to complete the layout. I thought it would be fun to show you a different approach though. There is no “right” or “wrong way” to select colors for a layout, and there are many great tools to use to make it easier.

I asked Anna Aspnes to share her method for selecting colors for a layout. Anna is such a creative inspiration to me and I love reading her blog and chatting with her when she’s a guest on The Digi Show.

Here’s Anna:

I typically begin a layout with a neutral background and I tend to prefer light colors such as white, tan or gray. I favor textures over bold patterns in selecting backgrounds for my pages because they provide a great canvas for blending one or more images. In this layout, I applied 2 different blending modes to two copies of the same image, and then blended the edges using brushes from ArtPlay Palette Saffron Villa.


The color picker is used to sample brighter colors in my images and these are used to recolor select letters and words in my WordArt title. Letter and word selections are made using the appropriate Marquee tools from the Tools palette. The “pops” of color brightens the design and draw the eye to the focal words in the title.


Brushwork was added on 2 new layers in colors sampled from the same blended images which determined the Foreground color in the Tools palette. I used a dark blue color sampled from Luke’s shirt, and a gray from the artsy flower overlay, added to the page earlier in the creation process.


One dimensional crochet heart from ArtPlay Palette WordPlay was added to the layout. I usual tweak the color of embellishments to co-ordinate with the colors on a layout rather than completely re-coloring or selecting a perfectly coordinated element. Notice that the crochet heart has been resized and positioned to create a pleasing visual triangle with the other two red/orange elements on the page.


Additional neutral elements such as the painted overlays and tape complete the page and add increased visual interest without detracting from the focal points denoted through the use of bright color. The journaling is added in a black simple serif font. I also always recolor the date in red or similar color to ensure that it is visible and stands-outs from the rest of my text.


Isn’t it fun to see Anna’s approach to color? I love the way she used the red to make her page so visually stunning! Color is a wonderful way to add style, emotion, and design to any page. Here are a few more posts about color that are worth checking out:

What’s your process for selecting color for your pages? Do you use the same method every time, or do you vary your approach? Next time you sit down to create a layout, take a minute to think about color and the role it plays in your scrapping.

katie big