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Its All In The Theme - Applying themes to a design project

Creating thematic designs isn't very hard to do. All you need is some time on your hands, the right tools, a dash of creativity and a good eye for details. Here are some basic steps to get you started on creating your very own themes:

1. Deciding what you want

Write down a list of themes that may be useful to you. For example: family events, anniversaries, holidays or even someone's birthday. For example, if you want to create genealogy albums, try thinking about where your ancestors come from and include that in your list.

2. Do research

Go on the Internet and do a search on your favorite search engine, visit your local library to look at how real books are portrayed, and do look at some of the Flip themes that are available online. Get some ideas and be inspired, but don't copy or plagiarize work done by others.

3. Collecting design reference materials

Save some of the images that you see online or make copies of book pages that could be useful in guiding you to the type of style that you want, but do NOT use the images outright unless you have explicit approval from its owners.  Take note especially of small things that may be used as borders or details for page corners.

4. Color

This is a very important aspect. It sets the tone and mood of the theme, so do select them carefully. Take another look into your research for ideas on how colors would work for you. There is also an article here on color psychology.

5. Photography

A digital camera would be very handy here. You can take dozens of images and not worry about the cost. Using your reference material as a guide, take photos that may be useful when creating background or borders. You may plan separate days for indoor and outdoor photography as preparation would take time especially if you need props.

6. What are props?

These are the main elements when trying to deliver a theme across. For example, a pumpkin for Halloween, a Christmas tree bauble for Christmas, a cake for a Birthday, a baseball bat for a Baseball theme, and the list goes on.

7. Scanning

If you have a scanner, you can use it to make nice elements for your themes. Raw scanned images are always good for background textures. Scanning in small items may result in interesting designs or patterns so don’t overlook this option. Remember to scan in color and at about 300dpi.

8. Digital Imaging

There are many imaging software available. If you don't have one, do a bit of research and see what would suit you best in terms of budget and level of expertise. The trick here is to familiarize yourself with your tools and knowing what it can do. Then edit your photographs (remember to refer to your reference materials) digitally by changing the size, color, hues, brightness, etc. Some software may also have plug-ins that will help you add special effects, so these are always worth looking into. Note: Always check the size of the page that you are working on first, and then create the blank canvas for that size and work on that same canvas.

Of course there’s more to it when it comes to creating thematic designs, but with the tips and hints mentioned above, you're well on your way.

If you need professional help with thematic designs for your projects or campaigns contact Nota Bene Communications so that we can help you get started. Consultation is FREE and there are no strings attached. Call us now at +65 684 11291 or send us an email at

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