Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Difference between Clean & Simple and Clean & Layered!

Hi everyone! Lesley here, creator of The Card Concept. 

Wow, I am thrilled with the response to our challenge! Thank you so much for joining us!

To play along with the current challenge, please CLICK HERE.

My sweet bloggy friend Darnell, asked this excellent question:

I think a lot of us are still confused about what is CAS and what is CAL. I should say, speaking for myself, that I am confused about it. If someone could enlighten me about my card today, I would be grateful. I see that Tracy's and Deanna's brilliant cards both have layers, so I'm beginning to understand that it is really more about the "white" space than the layers? Yes? My card this week is really questionable in my own mind as far as whether I've left enough "white" space to be considered CAS. Thank you! Hugs, Darnell

Thank you for your question, Darnell!

Clean and Layered is actually QUITE a bit different from Clean and Simple. For instance, all of the designers over at Freshly Made Sketches are Clean and Layered artists. I think of clean lines, lots of design papers or embossing and usually some embellishments. There is nothing "simple" about a clean and layered card.

Here are some cards I created in the Clean and Layered style. As you can see...not simple but layered with NO sponging or distressing...they are clean and layered. The second card looks more simple, because of the white space...but it is Clean and Layered too...because of the flowers, and the flourish. It took a while to make! LOL!

Clean and Simple is all about less is more. Usually one layer...sometimes artists like Deanna and Tracey use pens to create lines that "look" like layers. I truly do not usually "do" clean and simple but there have been some great examples of it in the linky gallery. One of our winners for last week's challenge, Brian, shared an excellent example of Clean and Simple.

Happy Watercolor, Petal Parade, Stampin' Up!, PP179

Our Challenge Manager, Tracey McNeely, created this awesome Clean and Simple "white" but lots of white space!

I hope this helps to clarify the difference between the two styles! Thanks again for your question, Darnell!

Clean and Simple (CAS)

  • One main image
  • Lots of open space (uncluttered)
  • Limited layers & embellishments
  • Quick & easy to recreate

Clean and Layered

  • clean lines
  • lots of layers
  • designer papers/embossing
  • embellishments/accents
  • clean and fresh looking
  • some coloured images at times
  • white space


  1. Thanks Lesley... I had the same question in my mind about my card this week!

  2. Thanks!

    So the CLEAN means no inking, smudging, roughing up the edges.

    And the SIMPLE is flatter (fewer layers) than the LAYERED.

    I think Darnell's card is CAS, then, right?

  3. Thank you so much for this excellent explanation! And thanks to Darnell for asking the question!

  4. I've learned so much in your few short weeks of being introduced! Thanks so much...I hope to play around with the different styles and "study" all the beautiful inspiration the DT shares.

  5. Thanks for the explanation, Lesley, but then what do you call the cards that have inking, sponging, splattering or distressing on them?

  6. TY for the clarification, Lesley. Off a crafting I go..... :)

  7. Thank you so much for taking the time to explain this,'s very helpful!

  8. Awesome explanation, Lesley, thank you so much!!

  9. Thanks, Lesley! I had wondered about this too. I think I must waver between CAS and CAL most of the time, with various experiments along the way. ;-)

  10. Still a wee bit confused. I get the CAS vs CAL difference. Where I get confused is that I sometimes like a teeny, tiny bit of inking my edges. I don't think they're distressed enough to fit in with those styles though, either.

    1. I think that you must remember that these are just styles and overtime you will develop your own unique style which my include one or more of the styles we are focusing on. As I said at the beginning of this challenge, there are many more styles than the six we are highlighting. We are just encouraging participants to try one of these 6 styles so that they may explore their own style.

  11. Thank you for featuring my question, Lesley. It was answered perfectly. My card, then, is definitely CAS and not CAL because it was tres simple to do, and has just minimal layering with the simple ribbon and flower. You're the best! Hugs, Darnell

  12. Grrr, Blogger. I hope this comment publishes and doesn't publish twice. I wanted to thank you, Lesley, for featuring my question and for answering it perfectly. I think I've got it now and that my card is CAS and not CAL. It was tres simple to make and has limited layering with the simple bow and flower embellie. Please slap me if I'm still wrong, LOL! Thank you for all you do for our wonderful community of card art!! Hugs, Darnell

  13. Thank you for answering this question. I've learned a lot from your explanation.

  14. Very helpful! Thank you, Lesley!

  15. Loved this info...thanks for the question Darnell and thanks for the answer Lesley!