Here's a layout I did recently:
Doing assignments for the design team has stretched me creatively. Prior to this experience I had never used product as the starting point for a layout before. So it was a challenge at first but over the past year it has definitely gotten easier. In fact now I think it would be a good way to help me use up some of my stash!
When I'm not doing an assignment and just scrapping for my own pleasure though, I most often start with a story I want to tell. Often that story is inspired by a photo I've taken, although sometimes it's just a random memory of something and I have to go find (or take) a photo to illustrate it.
The story also drives my product selection. I don't generally worry about matching the colors in my photos, although I do try not to clash too much. ;) What is important to me is that the products I choose have meaning to the story I'm telling. Sometimes that's a very specific message (like using a number "3" embellishment on a page about my son's 3rd birthday), but more often it's a subtle setting of a mood or feeling. Rather like the backdrop in a stage play.
The photos - the size and quantity - determines the foundation of my page design. After all, there's really only so many ways to arrange a given number of photos on a 12x12 sheet of paper. I also keep in mind the amount of space I'm likely to need to tell my story.
Then the product comes into play. I feel like this is where the layout takes on its own direction sometimes, and what makes each page unique... What keeps this page with two vertical 4x6 photos from looking exactly the same as every other page with two vertical 4x6 photos. I generally start with patterned papers; I like layers. Before I glue stuff down I make sure I know what techniques I'm wanting to include... Things like misting and stamping I generally do directly on my background, while other things like inking edges or border punches need to be done to the layers themselves before they're glued down.
The photos go on top of the paper layers.
At this point I usually get my words down. The title comes first - and sometimes a long title is all the words I need on a page. I love using Thickers for my titles, and also those tiny little letter tiles. I also love mixing up sizes and colors and fonts - one of my favorite looks for a longer title. For the journaling, I almost always handwrite (as opposed to typing) so I need to make sure I have enough room for my elegant-yet-endearingly-sloppy handwriting. ;) Most of the time I'm writing directly onto the background or a patterned paper layer. Sometimes I write on my photos. And every so often I'll remember that I have a huge supply of journaling cards and I'll be able to find one that both fits my color scheme AND is big enough for my story. Lol
After journaling comes the fun part - pushing embellishments around for hours and days. Oops, I meant to say making fast, easy, and gorgeous embellishment clusters. Lol I love using clusters of embellishments on my pages, and creating additional layers by going under and over my title and even my photos. Having all the different elements touching each other like that just ties everything together in a warm, fuzzy way. :) For embellishments right now I'm loving wood veneer, Prima crystal flourishes, flair, chipboard, and of course my long-time favorite, Prima flowers. :)
If anything needs a touch of sparkle (and what doesn't benefit from that?!), this is when the Stickles come out. Stickles is basically fancy glitter glue, and I love it! All the sparkle of glitter without all the mess of the loose stuff.
And that's it! I try to add a date stamp in there somewhere but often at this point I'm scared to add anything else, for fear of ruining it all. Lol So then I just jot it down on the back.
I hope you enjoyed this look into my process of layout creation. I think the most important thing is just to recognize your favorite starting point - after that you'll be good to go. Please feel free to share your own process (or questions about mine!) in the comments! :)