Speaking of designing…something I've been using for years which really helps me figure out where to put things on a standard card and reduces waste [and hence guilt for using precious supplies] is the dummy sheet:
I go through lots of these little pieces of scrap paper [you know…the printer misfeeds, extra copies of things that shoot out when something glitches and you can't figure out how one copy of something won't print for 30 minutes, then suddenly spews out with 30 copies?!] I turn them over, cut them to 5.5x4.25 in. and voila--tiny practice canvases!
When I sit down to play with new stamps, I pull out a stack of dummies and the nearest ink pad and start stamping away for scale, comparison, balance, and all the other nuances to see how they fit together on the space. I usually end up cutting them up and combining them with other elements on a fresh piece of paper--really quick and easy to move and adjust to find just the right orientation for what you're trying to do. Then, I can file them away for future use in a little recipe card holder I have on my desk!
I just had a flashback to one of my favorite birthday presents ever when I was a kid: Colorforms! That's exactly how I use my dummy sheets, cutting apart the stamped images I like and arranging them on different background colors, patterns, etc. Wow did I love Colorforms….
Here's one last card:
Now for the topic of conversation…my sister sent me a link to a thought-provoking debate held recently: