Craftwork Cards Blog

Back to Basics on Design Skills – VALUE

Hello, welcome, and thank you for joining me again!

VALUE is the topic for this month. A design skill element we don’t always consider that much, but it is an important one, and well worth knowing about.

What is VALUE?

VALUE describes the brightness or darkness of colour, a gradient of a series of values from lightest to darkest.

Below is a mind map to illustrate VALUE. From the colour theory last month, remember that colour hues can be made lighter by adding white to tint. Colour can be made darker by adding black to give a shade. VALUE has nothing to do with the actual colour, only how light or dark it appears. This can be measured by using a value or grey scale. The varied degrees of grey from pure white to jet black can help us place colour, and understand it’s value.



Two key pointers to notice about VALUE…

If you take a look at the mind map above, and find all the twelve colour hues from the colour wheel placed in a line. Just underneath these I have matched up their VALUE according to the grey scale. By squinting slightly and holding it at distance you can find the best grey that blends closest to the lightness and darkness of each hue. Notice how more warm colours are lighter in value than the cool colours.

Also, take a look at the black and white patterns. The left hand one appears very striking and lively. Compare this with the similar pattern on the right where grey has been added. This gives a richness, and more interesting to look at. The same can be done with colour in your designs, and can be used to create a mood.


Here are some cards designed with VALUE in mind…


This card has a simple pattern that I coloured-in myself. With just black and grey pen, and allowing the white card to show, it creates an interesting visual. The grey is softening the high contrast of the black and white areas.

















Here’s my green wreath card again. Compare it to the black and white version, that allows you to see the different VALUES the green tones have. Notice the green leaves towards the bottom of the wreath are a slightly darker grey, and more varied in VALUE. More interesting to the eye. The top half of warmer, mid toned greens, has a more subtle feel. Still showing a variety of different grey, but not so obvious.



I have made a Julie Hickey inspired card here! Using tags, and daisy’s, with papers from the new Stamp It III Kit. Colours here are soft grey and pale pink. You eye tends to notice the darker grey daisy’s first. They pop out of the design, being a contrast to the rest of the paler card, and used as an accent. VALUE is a joy when used in this way. Ours eyes are a magnet for VALUE, noticing it before colour is really seen.








This card design has little contrast in VALUE. The VALUE is very much mid-toned, a bit wishy-washy even. The eye is just wandering around the design and then maybe focusing on the lighthouse. This is deliberate, it helps to create a warm, calm, tranquil feel. A restful design for an older person in mind, or even a ‘thinking of you’ card. VALUE is a fantastic tool to create a mood. Inking the edges helps define the elements of your card when using mid-tones.






This card is made from rich tartan papers, with a darkness in VALUE. The first thing that your eye picks up is probably the leaf veins, because they are lighter in VALUE. Followed by the bow maybe, as the ribbon gives of a glossy sheen. Then the lighter border areas, which are repeatedly used. The paler tartan circle towards the bottom also commands the eye’s attention. The purple background tartan adds to the richness of the design by being the mid-toned VALUE. This variety in VALUE, has a lovely overall warmth, very pleasing to look at. Eye-catching enough from a distance, drawing you closer!




VALUE is something worth considering when thinking about design. Very useful for creating eye catching cards, especially if you are selling them. Very useful for creating a mood and feel to your cards. Go ahead and experiment with this fascinating design element.

Thanks again for your interest, and any comments you wish to leave. Hope you found this helpful. Next month on the 20th, our design element will be terrific TEXTURE!!!




  1. Katie

    20th May 2017 - 12:28 pm

    Stunning cards and love the brown geometric one.

    • Sue Smith

      20th May 2017 - 9:28 pm

      Thanks so much for your comment Katie! Much appreciated! xXx

  2. Jane Lee

    22nd May 2017 - 9:19 am

    A really interesting read, thank you Sue x

    • Sue Smith

      23rd May 2017 - 6:45 pm

      So glad you found this interesting Jane! Really appreciate you leaving me a comment to read. Thanks very much indeed! xXx

  3. phillipa lewis

    26th May 2017 - 9:13 am

    Fascinating, simply fascinating x
    Your blogs are so interesting – the highlight of the blogging month x

    • Sue Smith

      28th May 2017 - 12:32 pm

      Phillipa…I’m loving your encouragement! Thanks dearly! xXx

  4. Janet R

    27th May 2017 - 7:29 pm

    Value is something I think is overlooked in many commercial cards, they tend to be bland. Your blog highlights this aspect very well, thank you for explaining this element so well. Your mind map is excellent and your cards are so attractive, love the tartan one. Well done Sue.

    • Sue Smith

      28th May 2017 - 12:34 pm

      Such a lovely comment and kind thoughts! Thanks so much! Always a great help to read feedback- good or bad. So pleased you are finding my blogs interesting. xXx

  5. Jackie J

    29th July 2017 - 9:19 pm

    Great post Sue, your back to basics posts are so useful and very well explained – I had no idea about value at all x

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