Monday, December 10, 2018

Holiday Wishes and Illuminating Definitions


I want to thank all of you and my talented Design Team for making the Twofer Card Challenge a success this year! I sincerely appreciate your support and enthusiasm! There won't be a challenge this month as we take time off to prepare for the holidays and enjoy time with our families.

As you know the Twofer Card Challenge is unique and, well, challenging! It encourages you to use your product more than once and to stretch your design skills. This first year has been a learning experience for us as well as our players. I have received several emails and comments over the course of the year asking for clarification of the challenge concept, terms, and rules.

If you feel like you've needed that kind of illumination as you have played along (or thought about playing along), I've put together this post for you explaining how I and the Twofer Design Team interpret the terms we use, as it relates to our challenge. Grab a beverage and a comfy chair!

Clarification of Terms.

Let's go through the basics set out in the badge:
1. "Two different designs."

What do we mean by "two different designs?" For that matter, what does "design" mean?

Design. For our challenge, design is the "sketch" or "layout" (the blueprint if you will) of your cards. We visually break your card down to the underlying sketch layout in much the same way you probably do when you mentally or literally sketch out the basic layout of your card before you begin creating.
Rather than having you make two cards the same or very similar, we are looking for you to stretch your design skills and create two different design layouts for your cards. 
Style. Style refers to the terms that we've all come to know in our community. Terms like "clean and simple" (CAS) or "clean and layered" or "shabby chic" or "mixed media," etc. There is another challenge in Blogland with an emphasis on style and that's The Card Concept. On the tabs there you will find an excellent description of common card styles, so I won't repeat them here.
You're welcome to use the same style or two different styles when you create your two cards, as long as the underlying designs are different for each card.
Technique. When we speak of technique, we are referring to elements such as embossing, smooshing, ink blending, masking, embossing paste, sewing, etc.
You may use the same techniques or different techniques when you create your two cards, as long as the underlying designs are different for each card. 
Here are some examples:

A. Different Designs. Using the same stamp, I recently made these two cards. I found similar sketches (to avoid my lame drawing skills) to show you the basic design sketch/layout behind the card:
 [The sketch on the top right is by Chrissy Larson and the sketch on the bottom right is by N@Ali, used on the CAS(E) This Sketch challenge. All these sketches can be accessed on Pinterest via a tab on the top of the CTS blog.]

These are very clearly two different designs using the same companion stamp and die. This is what the Twofer Card Challenge is looking for.

B. Same Designs.

Because we are looking for different designs, below are examples of cards that would not work for the different design aspect of the Twofer Card Challenge.
In this example, I turned my second card to a landscape orientation, I used different techniques of heat-embossing and watercoloring, and I added a piece of patterned paper. Even so, you can see that the basic sketch layout for both cards is the same: floral or leaf image above a sentiment with no image below the sentiment.

Another example of same design can be seen in a recent Penny Black video showing, "One Layout, Three Cards":
They all look different because of the different critters, patterned paper, and sentiments, but the underlying design layout is the same for all three cards.

And one more example:
Do the above two designs look like different designs or the same design? They are the same design. It doesn't matter if you change the shape of the aperture, move your sentiment to the right or the left under the image, or change your card orientation, the underlying sketch blueprint (design) is the same.

Here's an example of how you could change one of your cards so that each card is a different design even though the elements are the same:
You can see that now the card on the right is a different design. The sentiment has been moved to inside the aperture and the focal image has been moved partway outside the heart to a different location which changes the underlying sketch blueprint. Of course, you are welcome to make the Design Team's job a lot easier by creating two wildly different designs so there is no question that the two design layouts are different!

If you have trouble getting started when creating a card design, there are several card sketches available to you via Pinterest and Google. There are also sketch challenges so if you use one of their current sketches, you have the bonus of entering their challenge as well as the Twofer Card Challenge! A few examples are: CAS(E) This SketchFreshly Made SketchesCAS Colours & SketchesFusion Card Challenge, My Favorite Things, and STAMPlorations.
2. "Two different occasions." 

Even we on the Design Team have been caught up by this leg of the challenge. Oftentimes a prompt will automatically fit a particular occasion, such as "balloons" for a birthday card, "wreaths" for a Christmas card, or "hearts" for a Valentine's Day card, so sometimes it becomes a real challenge to stop and think of a second occasion for using the prompt on your second card!

Keeping in mind #1 above (particularly the Penny Black example), simply changing the type of occasion via papers, colors, or placement of your sentiment does not change the design of your second card. Note that we do allow you to leave your card front without a sentiment, but you must tell us in your post for what occasion you designed your card.

[A+ for the sharp-eyed among you who noticed that the two cards in example A above would not be eligible to win in the Twofer Card Challenge because they are for the same occasion!]
3. "Using the same stamps, stencils, and/or dies."

When you make your second design, make sure you use the exact same stamp (or portion thereof), not just the exact same set that you used on your first design. The same is true of your stencils and dies. 


Conventional / Unconventional.

When our challenge first started, a few players and members of the DT were very creative in how they used their same stamps and dies to make their second card. They turned butterflies into flowers and hearts into fishes, etc. As a result, I heard from many of you that you had trouble being "that creative" and you weren't playing as a result. 

I would like to reassure you again that this challenge has no rule about making one of your cards "conventional" and the other card "unconventional." That is strictly a personal choice. We welcome your entries that use the prompt in conventional ways on both of your cards, as long as your cards have different design layouts as talked about above.

Miscellaneous Reminders
  • Computer-generated images/digis. You may use CPI/digital elements in your designs, but in order to have a level playing field for our participants, you may not use them for the prompt element of your designs.
  • Gallery photo. We need to see both your cards in one photo for the link up.
  • Card challenge. We are a card challenge, so your two designs must both be cards.
  • Commenting. Please leave an encouraging comment for at least three other participants.
  • Follow this blog.
Thank you for taking the time to read this! You may also want to check out the FAQ tab at the top of the home page if you haven't read them before. If you have additional questions, please use the contact form on the side bar. 

I hope these clarifications, ruminations, and illuminations will help those of you who played last year and encourage newcomers to join us next year. We look forward to playing with you in January! As always, the most important thing is for you to have fun! That's always our main focus!!  

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Happy New Year!!

đŸ’‹Darnell and the Team:
Anita, Bev, Kara, Loll, and Susanne