Often, people use the digital scrapbooking terms “clustering” and “layering” interchangeably. Is this really true, though? Are clustering and layering the same digital scrapbooking technique?
The answer is no, clustering and layering are not the same technique. In fact, they are two techniques that can provide very different looks on your layouts. In order to improve both techniques, first, we need to know the differences between them.
Clustering is a technique that I use very often on my digital scrapbooking layouts. Clustering is the process of taking digital scrapbooking elements and arranging them into small clusters in different areas of your layout. For example, you might put a cluster of five different flowers at one of the corners of your layout. Clustering is also often achieved by combining a number of different elements into clusters on the page. Some of the elements often associated with clustering are flowers, buttons, bows, paper mats, stars and other three dimensional elements. Here is a layout that I’ve done that features clustering.
On this layout, you’ll notice the groups of flowers and other elements arranged in certain areas of the layout. In each, I’ve taken a number of elements and gathered them together in a cluster to draw the eye around the page.
Layering is a technique in which you use different elements and tools to build up the background of your layout. For example, you may layer a few different papers behind your focal photo. You may use paint or scribbles on the paper below your focal photo to draw attention to the photo. The key thing to remember about layering is that it’s often done with “flat” items: paper, paint, scribbles, doodles, glitter, and sometimes stitches or such. Layering is a great technique for adding visual interest to simple or white space based layouts. I used the layering technique on this recent layout.
You’ll notice, that aside from layering all the different patterned papers, I also use scatters on the background paper. Using the scatters does not add the visual weight of clustering, however, it does enhance the visual interest of the layout.
Other times, you may want to combine both techniques to create a layout. In this layout below, you can see that I combined both layering with the papers and clustering with the flowers and arrows.
I use these techniques often when creating layouts.
Do you cluster or layer on your layouts?