Monday, February 26, 2018

The Trap of Overthinking Card Design and What to Do About It

I'm in the process of designing the Make & Takes for my One Day Craft Crop to Aid Refugees which is coming up this Saturday and I'm have a serious case of Overthinking! Does that ever happen to you. I have a variety of people attending: Stampers, scrapbookers, customers, and demos; and so I'm getting caught in the trap of trying to come up with the perfect designs to please everyone. I knew for sure that I was going to do one of the Birthday Cards I had designed for my Birthday Buffet:

It's striking, easy to prep and teaches a technique some may not have tried before, so that decision was easy. I wanted to do something that wasn't a card, so I cased the little apron holder from the Occasions Catalogue and used the Apron of Love stamp set to make the sentiment, "I love Stamping" for the top of it. I just had to add a bottom and two sides to put the two apron pieces together. I thought it would make a perfect papercraft retreat project. Then I wanted to do a card that showcases some of the beautiful Designer Series paper in the Occasions catalogue and make it a Fancy Fold card of some kind. I decided on a Joy Fold card because it's relatively straightforward and doesn't need someone there constantly supervising the Make & Take table. Now, here's where the overthinking started!

  •  This Sweet Soiree Specialty Designer Series Paper has pretty intense colours and can be overpowering in large doses. When I put it all together the first time, I had just stamped the cake image on Whisper White with Memento Tuxedo Black ink and used Stampin' Blends to colour in the flowers. In spite of all the detail, with the cake and the oval both being Whisper White, they were just lost with the rich colours of the DSP.
  • Then I decided to add colour to the icing on the cake. Because Cake Soiree  is not a photopolymer set, using two step stamping to add the icing colour to the white cake would be difficult unless you used a Stamp-a-ma-jig, and I didn't want to have to explain how to use that to 30 people, so I stamped the image in Versamark ink on Daffodil Delight cardstock and heat embossed it in Silver Stampin' Emboss Powder. I then coloured in a few of the flowers with Stampin' Blends (just the light shades). I felt that was better, but the yellow looked too intense for me and almost clashed with the other colours, even though Daffodil Delight is one of the DSP colours.
  • I restamped the image in Versamark and embossed in silver on lighter So Saffron cardstock this time and didn't colour it in, but added some Rhinestone Basic Jewels instead. Now I liked it better, but instead of trusting my instincts, I asked a fellow demo what she thought and she liked the other yellow one better.
  • Now my overthinking kicked into high gear and I was ready to toss it out and start with a whole new design in the morning.
  • Here's the inside of the Joy Fold card by the way.
So, I think the main causes of overthinking are 1) lack of confidence in your own instincts and 2) a design element that is just not going to work whatever you do with it.

How do you avoid it?  Well, mainly stop trying to please everyone else and create something that makes you happy, because chances are, then it will work for others, too. The other thing that you can do is pinpoint the element that is making the design unworkable and start over with something new for that aspect of your project. In the morning, I'm going to try using a different Designer Series paper and main image while keeping the joy fold layout and see if I feel better about it. It's the rich colours of the DSP here that are causing my problems.

What do you think? Do you ever overthink issues? How do you deal with it?

Click on the links below to take you to my On-Line Store, where you can read about, look at, and purchase if you wish, the products used to make this card today.

Product List


  1. I like the So Saffron one better, even though they are both beautiful. It looks the the darker one is too bright. Just my opinion of course! I struggle with overthinking too. Usually I just go with my first thoughts but it takes a process to go back there...So excited to be able to make this card on Saturday!!!

  2. Thanks, Terry! I agree with you, but I hope you won't be disappointed to make a different design altogether! Check out tomorrow's post to see it.


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