by Debbie Hodge

Justification is all about how you’re going to line things up—or, rather, align them. Read more about alignments in Strengthen Your Scrapbook Page Design with Alignments.

left-justified journaling

Sometimes I left-justify my journaling. Actually, left-justification of my journaling is what I do most frequently. This is the arrangement those of us who read books in languages that go left-to-right are most used to. It’s familiar and it’s comfortable, and, thus, it’s accessible to your scrapbook page viewer.

When I use a journaling tag, I usually left-justify the journaling, as you can see on “March Flood.”


When I place my journaling in unexpected orientations, I usually left-justify. On “Competent” the journaling has been rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise from the norm, and I’ve justified it to what would be the left if it weren’t turned on its side.


When I’m writing a scene and including dialogue, I keep things left-justified–just as it would be in a book. I want my viewer to “get” the scene and, thus, don’t want to do anything that interferes with that quick understanding. The journaling in “Suburban Legend” is an example of this. Each new paragraph is indented several spaces.


right-justified journaling

When I’ve got a strong line, I emphasize it–and this can mean using journaling that aligns with the edges of other elements. On “Celebrate Today,” the right edges of the two photos were showing me a line to work with. By right-aligning my journaling, I continued and strengthened that line – the result of which is a page that is cohesive.


full-justified journaling

What about when you’ve got two strong lines? On “Cardboard Sword” I had lots of journaling justification choices that would have worked. What I decided on, though, was to create two strong intersecting bands – like the letter “T.” I used full justification to create alignments with the two photos on this page. Using full justification means using tools in your software that spread each line out to create a straight margin on the right as well as the left.CardboardSwordForWeb

center-aligned journaling

Once in a while, centered journaling is a good choice. Centered journaling often creates a formal look – think wedding invitations. On “Us Out,” I centered the short lines of journaling under the page title. The addition of decorative dingbats between journaling sections mimics the look of a menu – appropriate for this page subject.

Us Out

combining left and right justification around an axis

When you’ve got a strong “axis” – or line around with things are aligned on either side, you could consider mixing justifications. On “To School ‘09,” the photos are arranged around a center vertical axis. For the journaling to the right of this axis, I used left justification and for the journaling to the left of this axis, I used right justification.


However you justify your journaling, just take a minute to realize what you’re doing and make a conscious choice to use justification that enhances your scrapbook page design.