Scrapbooking Family History

Choosing the Right 80s Color Palette

80s Scrapbook Color Schemes

Last year, I showcased the late 70s Scrapbook album that I created. Many readers were so inspired by “That 70s Scrapbook” and it was fun to hear what pages they liked and why. This year, I’m going to back to the 80s.

80s Rocker Costume
I Love Rock n Roll!

Okay, not this way! That’s the late 80s  and was a super fun office party with my husband.
Seriously, I’m going back to the 80s to work on my heritage scrapbook. I’m excited about this project, but I’m discovering there are some color choices. Which one will work best?

When I googled 80s color schemes, here are three color palettes that I adored instantly.

pastel 80s scrapbook color scheme
Soft pastel palette


neon 80s scrapbook color scheme
Bright and bold!


rainbow 80s scrapbook color scheme
Rainbow Bright

These color groups create three very distinct looks. One is soft and sweet with a small pop of color. The next is reminiscent of the vibrant neon colors of the time. And the third reminds me of Rainbow Brite, who I happened to think was way cooler than the Holly Hobby dolls my mother preferred for me.

Depending upon the subject of your 80s themed scrapbook will determine which color works best for you. Sometimes the neon colors clash with the youthful rainbow loving little one in your photo. Sometimes a pastel palette isn’t bold enough to reflect the energy of young adults from this over the top make-up and hair style period. Sometimes scrapbookers will ignore the ‘theme’ of the era and simply scrapbook based on the colors in the photos and mood they’re trying to present.

My goal is to have a unified scrapbook, so I want the color schemes to be fairly consistent. With the 80s, sometimes it might not work for all the photos in my collection. However, when I flip through my scrapbooks, I want to visually remember the trends of the 80s and the person in that period.

80s scrapbook template
Inside front cover of 80s scrapbook

Here’s an example of a single page layout that simply highlights me and what things happened in the early 80s. The page design is based a Becky Fleck PageMap that has been sitting in my template collection since April 2009. (Once you buy digital supplies, hang on to the ones you love). 

The journaling for this page sets the stage for the age and for the rest of this project;

In 1980, the cost of gas was $1.19/gal, US hostages were taken in Iran and a failed rescue attempt was made. Mt. St. Helen’s erupted and the Winter Olympics were held in Lake Placid with the US hockey team talking a historic gold. Ronald Reagan was elected president. Pac-Man arcade game debuts. My family watched the show Dallas. In 1981, we watched the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana. MTV was launched and we got cable. In 1982, Michael Jackson released Thriller, both he and Madonna wore one glove (which I wanted). The movie E.T. gave me nightmares. I watched Magnum PI and Night Rider. In 1983, Cabbage Patch dolls were sold, and I wanted one. In 1984, Mary Lou Retton won gold in gymnastics for the USA (and I wanted to be like her). In 1985, I was crazy about Duran Duran and the movie The Karate Kid.

I like to break my personal heritage scrapbooks into five-year chunks as in childhood, 10 years is a very long time span. Thus, this introduction highlights the first 5 years of the 80s. (Feel free to use it in your next scrapbook project, just be care sure the items listed above are really your interests!)

Now, let’s take a look at two of the color palettes and how they impact the page layout. I didn’t attempt the neon-like palette as the photo was too sweet and innocent for those vibrant colors.

Care Bear clip art found online; Pink Paper created for me
by a scrapbooking buddy; checked teal paper – Word Art World
Other papers created by me.

I really loved Care Bears at this age, so I used that element in the page design. I don’t necessarily mention them in the text, so perhaps it is confusing. I pulled different papers from my digital stash and played around until I achieved a level of balance that pleases my eyes. Is it perfect? Will it win an award? Nope. Maybe not. I’m not committed this design, and I haven’t finished off the styling of the page. But you can see what the first color scheme could look like with this type of image and page design.

Purple Paper – Steadfast & Immovable; green paper – Embossed Pattern 77;
red paper – Jumpstart Designs; flower template (altered) – Mandy’s Loveable Designs;
bow (altered) – ScrapGirls ScrapSimple Template

This second layout emphasizes all the rainbow colors and seems more fitting for the photo of a young girl who is about elementary school age. I think this color scheme works better for the overall mood of the page. I still need to tweak the journaling bar so that legibility is clear. I’m still tweaking design elements and page arrangements. However, you can easily see that this color scheme projects a different mood that the pastel color scheme with a teal pop.

If you have 80s area scrapbook pages, try out a variety of different color schemes before you commit to one. You might be surprised which one works better. At first, I thought the softer color scheme would work nicely but the more I look at the second, the more I like it better.

What do you think? Which color scheme do you like better? Do you think I would like the first more if I rearrange where the colors appear on the page?  Let me know in the comments section below.

Further Reading:
Things I Learned About Myself While Scanning
That 70s Scrapbook
Heritage Albums: Playing with Color
Heritage Scrapbooking: Meaningful Stories

Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.

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