Designer’s Corner: Z Flow

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Z flow is an important design principle to keep in mind as you create your layouts. The eye naturally moves across the page in a Z formation; the eye starts at the upper left, crosses over to the right, and then moves back down to the left and over to the right, similar to how the eye moves when reading text. Design can either help or hinder Z flow. Let’s look at a few examples.

In this first layout, the eye starts at the upper left with the button cluster and then moves right across the photo to the journaling block. Because the topmost button (where the eye starts) and the journaling block are both orange, the top line of the Z flows smoothly. Next, the eye moves diagonally down to the left, across the photo, and to the small orange block at the bottom left. Again, by using the same color at the points of the Z, the eye is aided in its movement. Last, the eye moves through the title and the striped paper strip, ending by resting on the orange stripes on the far right.

I struggled a bit with Z flow in this second layout. I knew that I wanted to use chipboard circles as the top left and bottom right end points of my Z. However, once my layout was complete with photos, chipboard, patterned paper, and my title, I noticed that my eye started at the top and moved to the right, but then the Z flow was interrupted; instead of moving back to the bottom left my eye was pulled down the polka dot strip of paper instead. This left my journaling block, the bottom photo, and my title out of the page’s flow, so I knew I needed to do something to correct the problem. I added a few simple stitched lines at the top right and bottom left and that brought back the Z flow I needed to fully integrate my journaling block, bottom photo, and title into the page design.

The next time you create a layout and it doesn’t look quite right to you, put it to the Z flow test. If your eye doesn’t move in the Z pattern, try adding pops of color or embellishments to complete the Z.

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One Response to “Designer’s Corner: Z Flow”

  1. John Says:

    This was informative thanks a bunch..!

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