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6 Examples and 4 tips on how to flat lay and tell a story


Italian brand Porro has put together a wide array of materials and accessories to evoke different moods. The idea was to represent  different user interiors and tastes ranging from Revisited Neoclassical Style to New York loft.

I get often asked in the moodboard masterclass how different a flat lay from a mood board is and how to flat lay. You can see my answer below.


Revisited Neoclassical Style


Design-addicted living


French dining


Nordic Naturalism


Japanese dining


New York loft

Elisa Ossino Styling | Kasia Gatkowska Photography

A flat lay is apparently not very different to a mood board. However, there are two main differences:

a) it is always styled on a flat surface and the picture is shooter directly from above

b) it is done for a mere styling purpose and not used to gain clarity in a creative process or to be presented to a client when pitching a project

Here go 4 tips for putting a consistent flat lay:

  1. Choose a narrative

Flat lay is compelling because it brings a lot of disparate elements together. But try to have always a red thread. Choose your elements wisely, place them in a way that make sense by creating small groups if necessary. Your styled shot has to tell a story and not be about random selected elements grouped somehow all together.

2. Work with negative space

There are different ways:

  • you can create a frame around centered elements as you see on all images above

  • you can create smaller groups and leave an empty space between them

  • you can have the same empty space between all elements

3. Focus or weight

You might want to anchor your story with one element that is more important to you than others. A focus can be set

  • when working with either very dark or bold colors

  • a specific element is larger (Japanese dining) than others

  • the element has more volume (New York loft) and stands out against flat elements

4. Color

There are three ways:

  • you can go for a similar color palette as you can observe above at the Nordic Minimalism or New York loft theme. The sensation is of an overall calm flat lay, easy to the eye and suggesting a calm interiors environment and lifestyle

  • another option is to work with more contrast such as seen on Design-addicted living which talks about a more quirky taste and probably way of living

  • setting one or two accents in a calm palette is a way of bringing attention to these elements (Japanese dining)

If you are interested in joining in the next masterclass in Barcelona, continue reading!



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