While I consider shadowing a must, there are a few things you don’t want to do. There are many different type of objects that can be used on a page. Obviously, I can’t cover every possibility for shadowing but these are some important reminders for the most frequently used items that call for a shadow.
1. DON’T leave things hovering over your page. Hummingbirds and butterflies may hover but most elements should not. Doesn’t this row of dots look a bit odd? Too much of a shadow makes elements look like they’re floating above your page.
2. DON’T leave them off the page either. A layout without shadows will appear flat and lack dimension but the right amount will enhance your page.
3. DON’T shadow text, splatters or imprints since they’re not usually ‘thick’ enough to cast a shadow. These things look all wrong when shadows are added, you may even think you’re having double vision!
4. DON’T forget where your ‘light source’ is coming from. When I’m working on a layout my lamp is over my left shoulder. This helps me remember where my ‘light source’ is. it’s a confusing mess when shadows go every which a way!
5. DON’T forget you are trying to make your layout look as realistic as a traditional page. It’s even better than a traditional layout. It looks great but lies flat when printed and you don’t have all the mess to clean up when you’re done. Have fun!