Step-Up Your Type: Add Style With Shaped Text

Materials Photoshop CS (Adobe) • Paper from "Enchanted Evening" kit by Sweet Shoppe Designs Collab. ( • Romance overlay by Amy Jo Smith  ( • Bobmono, Arial Black, Misproject, Downcome, Death Struggle and Porcelain fonts

The text on your scrapbook pages is a valuable design element. It can be arranged to guide the eye across the page, to add interest, and to complement the content of your page. Of course, its primary function is to be read, but it should also reach out and grab the viewer’s interest. As a designer, you should strive to make your text both noticeable and legible.

Placement is an important consideration when designing your text and you can spend some time experimenting with this. A large block of text can balance a large image if placed on the opposite side. Try placing a text block vertically down the side of a page for a change. Break a large body into smaller blocks and use them to build a “staircase” across a portion of the page. Sometimes, you may want to emphasize one particular word or line. Try breaking it out of your text block by moving it or making it a different size.

If you’ve experimented with text on a path, you already know the limitless options this tool holds. But, a good designer should do more than just make something look pretty. Try to think outside of the box and aim to have form follow function. Are you scrapping pictures from your latest trip to the beach? Have your text follow a wave path. What about photos of your husband mountain biking down a trail? Try placing text lines of varying lengths to create “speed streaks.”

Another option you have is to create interest and illustrate meaning with the shape of the text body. Consider having it echo a repeating design element or object in your photo. When scrapping a photo of your child blowing bubbles, try shaping your paragraphs into circular “bubbles” blowing off the photo. The shape of your body text can also extend an element in your photo. It can become part of an archway or an extension of flowing hair.

A standing rule of typography is that your text should always be as readable as possible, but rules were meant to be broken! In some cases, you can design your text to deliberately obscure its meaning. Doing a page about just how loud your boys can be while playing? You can try overlapping and layering the words in large bold fonts to create a visual representation of the cacophony. If you are journaling about all the things you need to remember in one day, pack different lines of text in various sizes and fonts to imitate a mass of information.

There are endless possibilities when designing with type. With some creative thinking you can take your scrapbook design to a new level.

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