Monday, February 11, 2013

PTI Colors and the Rule of Thirds

Yesterday, I played along with a sketch challenge at Papertrey Ink.  I posted my card but told you that if I had time to remake it, I would do a better job of the Rule of Thirds.  So for today's PTI color challenge, I basically made the same card, different colors, but did a better job of the Rule of Thirds!!

Some of you asked about the Rule of Thirds.  Basically it is a design guideline that says a card (or a photo, or any image) will be more interesting to the eye if you place the focus in an area where the card is divided into thirds - the red dots...

A quick google search on "rule of thirds" will bring up tons of photos where the focus is in one of these sweet spots and you quickly see how truly interesting they are.  Various sites refer to it as more lively, interesting and energetic!

An unfortunate side effect of the eye's tendencies to prefer these sweet spots is that it gets quite confused when the focus is slightly off of these points.

First, let me show you today's card - then I'll compare the two.  This is the same layout as I used yesterday, but it uses colors from today's PTI color challenge.  I actually measured to make sure that the butterfly ended up in the sweet spot!

Special Day

Now look at the two side by side.

Special DaySuper Star
I really don't have the words for what exactly is wrong with the star card - I just know that it makes me uncomfortable.  The star isn't in the center and it's also not in the 1/3 sweet spot, so the eye and the brain get confused.  Guess what the difference between the center of the butterfly and the center of the star is.  They are only 1/4" different!  (There's a little optical illusion going on because of the direction the butterfly is facing - but they are truly only 1/4" different!)
I am not trained in design and I've never before measured a card to follow the Rule of Thirds, but I can look at that star card and just feel that something is wrong.  Hope this helps you analyze cards that you aren't quite happy with!
Here are the details on today's card:
  • Stamps: Papertrey Ink Faux Ribbon, Beautiful Butterflies
  • Ink: Papertrey Ink New Leaf, Hawaiian Shores, Summer Sunrise, Orange Zest, Raspberry Fizz
  • Paper: Papertrey Ink New Leaf
  • Accessories: Papertrey Ink butterfly dies and button, Martha Stewart Fine Crystal Glitter


  1. Wow - I loved the first card, but I can totally see how the rule of thirds improved it. Thanks for the side-by-side comparison. I think I need to become better friends with my ruler, lol.

  2. Thanks for the tip Kim your butterfly card is gorgeous! Like the star one too, what a difference 1/4" makes :)

  3. Wow that's really interesting, I'll definitely look at the cards I don't like differently now and see if that helps, thanks!

    Both cards are stunners though! ;)

    Love Beth xx

  4. Gorgeous!!! Love them both!! Lee-Ann :)

  5. I would be exactly the same way...I can fret over the smallest measurement or imbalance (that I think I see :) so your problem was totally relatable to me. I think they are both beautiful cards!!!!

  6. Hi Kim
    I totally get it, sometimes I will look at a card for days trying to figure out how I will finish it after starting with some inspired thoughts. I like the ideas for both but find the butterfly more appealing as you have said. Loving your CAS designs.
    Thanks for your recent comments on my blog, much appreaciated. Hugs, Sue

  7. Thanks for the tip Kim. Very interesting! Both are pretty but I do like the second one better not sure it's the placement of the star or not. Maybe! I still like the star one too, though.

  8. Astonishing how that small amount can make such a difference ... thought the star card was super already, but the butterfly one is even better ... must be that rule of thirds! Thanks for the 'teach-in' Kim, should've read this before making my last card ... there was something not quite right with it but couldn't put my finger on it! Anita :)

  9. This is great Kim! LOVE both of your cards! Thanks so much for your little tutorial!

  10. By the time you get to be my age, Kims, you're so confused by just about everything in the world, so the imperceptible difference in the cards doesn't make me confused. Both the cards make me admire your work and they are stars in my book!

    Shows what I know, so I truly appreciate the lesson. I thought the "rule of threes" was about the busyness on your card, and this sweet spot thing was different. What you say makes perfect sense and I've copied your chart to use. Thank you!!

  11. What a great tip. Kim! I must try & remember this one! Hugs xxx

  12. That is great advice and I can see totally what you mean. Do you think colour also has something to do with it too? The butterfly is darker so it 'draws' the eyse more....


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