Regardless of what art form you practice—be it interior design, photography, any form of visual art, quilting, graphic art, or, as it relates to this article, paper crafting, one of the most important elements or “rules” of composition and design is the rule of odds.
According to Wikipedia, “by framing the object of interest in a piece of artwork with an even number of surrounding objects, it becomes more comforting to the eye, thus creating a feeling of ease and pleasure.” In simpler terms, it basically means that humans identify (and therefore feel closer to) pieces of artwork that contain “groupings” of elements—we subconsciously see the center of the grouping (i.e. the focal point) as ourselves, and see the surrounding elements as comforting “friends.” Make sense? If so, we can conclude that the eye favours compositions that utilize odd numbered groupings of design elements—1’s, 3’s, or 5’s. As paper crafters, we can see just how easy it is to incorporate this principle into our projects. Here are a few of our favourite ways:
happy holidays by Kim Hughes
For this sweet card, Kim split the background into thirds—keeping the more neutral patterns to the outside, and keeping the busier pattern in the middle. Thus, balance is achieved. She also created a grouping of three ornaments—the largest one is the clear focal point, but two others are placed successfully to keep the first company. Varying the size of the ornaments (small, medium, and large) also worked to create a visually pleasing card.