Sometimes you see cards that are just beautifully designed. Not only are the stamp images delightful, the coloring superb, but the whole composition and color scheme just works.

This is what we think anytime we receive card samples by our talented design team member AJ Bodine. We think our entire design team is fantastic, but on this blog article we will focus on what makes AJ’s cards *that* good.

We interviewed AJ to gain some insight into her creative process and pull out some tips and tricks that you may be able to use on your next projects!


[LG] Your designs are stunning! Tell us a little about your creative process. How do you plan what you are going to do when designing a card?

[AJ] Well, thank you. When I first look at an image, I develop an overall idea of the color scheme and design I want to present to really make the image stand out. I want my color choices, layers, textures and embellishments all to work together to highlight the focal point, which for me is usually a colored image. Often times I lay everything out on the table together and when I have the right elements, I begin coloring and cutting.

[LG] You do a great job of balancing color, texture, embellishments, and element sizes on your designs. Tell us more about that.

[AJ] I consider myself to be a that a word? I appreciate CAS designs, but usually find them a bit stark for my creative process. Adding the entire kitchen sink to my projects never seems to work out for me. I think the beauty is in colors that compliment each other, and textures that draw the eye in.

[LG] I love the way you “pop” certain items on your cards – how do you decide what to “pop”?

[AJ] Truth be told, I’m somewhat addicted to foam tape and fussy cutting. I consider it a fun challenge to cut and color items, then place them back into the image and give it seamless dimension. It is one of my favorite techniques. When making the coffee card, I popped the bodies of the cups, but the handles were part of the bottom layer (that way I didn’t have to cut out handles). And on the tag/vase card, I simply popped a little butterfly on there to give it a little life, as if it had landed there.


[LG] The layers on your cards are very effective – how do you decide what to layer, how to layer and how to accent the layers?

[AJ] I love to layer, but I usually keep it no more than 2-3 layers. I love to give my image a frame or mat that compliments a color found in the finished colored image. I also love to mix patterned and solid papers! I’m a big fan of the distressed look. It was fun to distress the kraft paper on the tea card so it gave it the tea stained look. It really makes the reds and turquoises pop too! You can see on both cards that feature the vase, I’ve used colors that really make the vase stand out.


[LG] What 5 design tips for making great cards would you share with our readers?

[AJ] My 5 top rules of design would be:

1. Coloring techniques –  practice your coloring and shading skills. Always consider your light source and work on perfecting it.
2. Materials that inspire – work with materials that make you happy. I find when I’m working with images, papers, and colors that inspire me, my projects take on a life of their own and end up exceeding my expectations.
3. Use of Color & Patterns – Use colors and patterns that compliment each other. I enjoy experimenting and often times, that takes more time than actually assembling my project. I love it when multiple colors and patterns work together in harmony!
4. Balance – Don’t overpower the design with too much! I will put a project away and come back with fresh eyes another time, just to make sure I want to add more. It’s always easier to add than take away!
5. Textures – Add a little texture to your project. Even with a CAS design, you can add a little glitter or glossy accent to make the image pop. I find that items such as twine, buttons, or enamel dots can really add interest to the project.

We hope you’ve enjoyed AJ’s cards & that you will come visit us often. We are are continuously listening to what our designers and customers suggest, and are actively incorporating all kinds of fun tutorials, challenges, and specials to our website.  So, if you haven’t signed up for our newsletter or followed us somewhere, please take a minute to do so!



Card Design Tips
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