Tutorial - What is Clean and Simple?

Hopefully most of you were able to participate in this weekend's Clean and Simple Blog Skip. If not, there is still time. Today is the last day to get your comments in on the participant blogs and be entered for the blog candy. Thanks to those of you who left kind words about my tutorial. We wanted to repeat it here today so we can link it in on the Cardmaking Resources page.

The words “Clean” and “Simple” are self-explanatory, but how do you describe what a “Clean and Simple” card is?

It’s almost easier to talk about what it isn’t. A CAS card isn’t ornate or froo froo. It doesn’t have a lot going on. A CAS card is the cardmaking equivalent of the “little black dress.” It’s elegant, understated; it might have a bit of sparkle or interesting angles, but with the CAS card or the little black dress less is more.

White Space – A CAS card will have a lot of undecorated space. It may or may not be white. it may or may not be textured, but this space allows the viewer’s eye to rest and focus on the focal point of the card without competition. Ever look at a card that had so much embellishment you were still noticing new elements on the third or fourth viewing? With a CAS card you’ll see the whole thing at once. It’s crisp. It’s clean. It’s simple.

Does that mean if I slap a sticker on a folded piece of cardstock I’ve made a CAS card? No. Well, extremely unlikely. If I cut a neck hole and two arm slots in a trash bag will I have a “Little Black Dress?” Cards are going to look like the combination of materials and time and skill that go into them, no matter what the style.

Embellishments – I’ve seen people explain CAS by saying the cards don’t have ribbon or brads or patterned paper on them. That’s just not true. They can have any or all of those things on them, even at the same time. It’s not likely there will be several different patterned papers on one card. Maybe you have a ribbon and a brad but not a bow. Maybe there’s a ribbon and bow but no patterned paper. It’s about editing. When in doubt, take one element out. Or, as Coco Chanel said, “When accessorizing, always take off the last thing you put on.”

What about Layers? Do CAS cards use layers? Absolutely. you still want to make your focal point pop. You want your elements to stand out. Sometimes I see people asking on FB or in their blogs, “This card needs something, but I don’t know what.” People are always suggesting, “Add a bow! Put a ribbon on it! How about adding three brads in the bottom corner?” My first thought is usually, “Put a contrasting layer in behind your patterned paper or behind the sentiment.” Layers add depth and definition without adding distraction. Layers are good.

You might have noticed I’ve picked some sample cards that seem to break the “rules” for CAS cards, but I’d call all these cards Clean and Simple. So, what makes a CAS card? Maybe you just know it when you see it.

This week's Inlinkz can be found at the Blog Skip post. Post your Clean and Simple cards there!

Cindy O  – (August 23, 2011 at 6:39 AM)  

I'm not sure how I'd define CAS either! But I do love the look of it. Two wonderful CAS resources that I've learned a lot from: Susan Raihala's Simplicity blog - simplicitybylateblossom.blogspot.com - and the Clean and Simple Stamping sketch blog - cleanandsimplestamping.blogspot.com

Cora  – (August 23, 2011 at 11:53 AM)  

I made it through the skip this morning. I thought your tutorial was just super!

Leslie  – (August 23, 2011 at 2:21 PM)  

Beautiful! and thanks so much for the comparison to the little black dress. I love the look and think its "truer" to my style.

carol  – (July 1, 2012 at 7:14 AM)  

These look fab, love your little black dress info..x carol

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