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rapid summary↬ A well balanced composition feels right. It feels stable and aesthetically pleasing. Balancing a composition involves arranging both positive elements and negative space in together a means that no one area that the architecture overpowers various other areas. Whatever works together and fits with each other in a smooth whole. The separation, personal, instance parts contribute to their sum however don’t shot to end up being the sum.

A balanced composition feels right. The feels stable and also aesthetically pleasing. While some of its facets might be focal points and also attract her eye, nobody area of the composition draws her eye so much that you can’t see the various other areas.

You are watching: ________ balance is achieved when two halves of a composition are not mirror images of each other.

Balancing a composition requires arranging both positive elements and an adverse space in together a method that no one area the the style overpowers other areas. Everything works together and fits together in a seamless whole. The individual parts add to their sum yet don’t shot to come to be the sum.

An unbalanced composition have the right to lead to tension. Once a architecture is unbalanced, the individual aspects dominate the whole and the ingredient becomes less than the amount of its parts. In part projects, unbalanced could be best for the article you’re trying to communicate, yet generally you want well balanced compositions.

Note: This is the seventh and final short article in a collection on style principles. Friend can uncover the an initial six write-ups here:

Happiness is no a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and also harmony.– cutting board Merton

Physical and Visual Balance

Balance is easy to recognize in the physics world, since we experience it every the time. As soon as something is unbalanced, it often tends to loss over. You’ve more than likely been top top a seesaw or a teeter-totter at some time in her life — friend on one side and also a friend on the other.

Assuming you were both about the same size, you to be able to conveniently balance on the seesaw. The complying with image shows up to it is in in balance, with two same sized world equally remote from the fulcrum on i beg your pardon the seesaw balances.

Symmetrically balanced seesaw.

The human on the left renders the seesaw revolve counterclockwise, and also the human on the right renders it rotate clockwise through an equal amount. The pressure of each human being acts in a different direction, and also their amount is zero.

If among the people was lot bigger, though, the balance would be thrown off.

Unbalanced seesaw.

This image doesn’t feeling right since we recognize the person on the left isn’t huge enough to balance the human being on the right. The clockwise force should be much greater, and the seesaw must be touching the floor on the right.

However, if the larger human being slid in toward the center, then the seesaw would certainly be well balanced again.

Asymmetrically well balanced seesaw.

Here, the force of the larger human is decreased by gift closer to the fulcrum on i m sorry the seesaw balances. I’ll trust you’ve to be on a seesaw before or at the very least watched rather play on one and also that you have actually a pretty good sense of those going on.

Visual balance is similar. Physical load is replaced by visual weight. The direction in which the physical load acts is changed by visual direction.

As a reminder, below are interpretations for intuitive weight and also visual direction, although ok refer you earlier to the fourth short article in this collection for an ext details.

visual weight. This is the perceived weight of a visual element. That a measure up of how much something on the page attracts the eye of the viewer.visual direction. This is the regarded direction of a visual force. The the direction in which us think an aspect should be relocating if the were provided a possibility to move according to the pressures acting ~ above it.

You nothing use instruments to measure the forces. You don’t use formulas to calculation whether every little thing is in balance. Rather, you use your eye to identify whether a composition is balanced.

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Why intuitive Balance Is Important

Just as in the physical world, intuitive balance is a an excellent thing. It’s preferable in and also of itself. An unbalanced composition have the right to feel uncomfortable because that the viewer. Look ago at the 2nd of the three seesaw photos — the looks wrong since we deserve to tell that the seesaw shouldn’t be in balance.

Visual load is a measure up of the visual interest of an aspect or area in a design. As soon as a composition is visually balanced, every component of that holds part interest. The visual attention is balanced, which keeps viewers engaged with the design.

Without intuitive balance, viewers might not view all areas of the design. They most likely won’t spend any kind of time in areas with much less visual weight or interest. Any type of information in those locations could easily go unnoticed.

You would balance a style visually since you desire to balance the clues of attention in her composition, so that viewers spend time with all of the info you want to convey.

Four varieties Of Balance

There’s an ext than one means to balance a composition. The images in the ahead section display two of them. The an initial image is an example of symmetry balance, and the second is an instance of asymmetrical balance. 2 other species of balance space radial and also mosaic.

Symmetrical balance.

Symmetrical balance occurs once equal weights room on same sides of a composition, balanced approximately a fulcrum or axis in the center. Symmetrical balance evokes feelings of formality (it’s sometimes called formal balance) and also elegance. A wedding invite is a good example of a composition the you’d likely want to it is in symmetrically balanced.

The downside of symmetry balance is the it’s static and sometimes concerned as boring. Because fifty percent of the composition winter the various other half, in ~ least half of the composition will certainly be rather predictable.

Asymmetrical balance.

Asymmetrical balance results from unlike visual weight on each side that the composition. One side of the composition can contain a dominant element, which can be well balanced by a couple or more lesser focal points on the other side. One visually heavy aspect on one side can be balanced by a grasp of lighter elements on the other.

Asymmetrical balance is more dynamic and interesting. That evokes feel of modernism, movement, energy and also vitality. Asymmetrical balance offers more visual variety, back it deserve to be more challenging to accomplish because the relationship between elements are an ext complex.

Radial balance.

Radial balance wake up when aspects radiate native a usual center. Rays of sunlight and ripples in a pond after a stone is tossed in are instances of radial balance. Preserving a focal suggest (fulcrum) is easy since it’s always the center.

Because everything radiates from a usual center, everything additionally leads to that center, making that a solid point of attraction.

Mosaic balance.

Mosaic balance (or crystallographic balance) results from well balanced chaos. Think Jackson Pollack paintings. The ingredient lacks unique focal points, and the elements share a uniform emphasis. The absence of power structure leads to visual noise at an initial glance. Somehow, though, that all works together.

Symmetry and Asymmetry

Both symmetry and also asymmetry have the right to be offered throughout a composition, live independence of, yet while contributing to, the final balance. You deserve to have symmetrical forms in an asymmetrically balanced composition and vice versa.

Symmetry is usually seen as beautiful and harmonized; however, that can likewise be viewed as static and also dull. Asymmetry tends to be much more interesting and also dynamic, despite not being concerned as inherently beautiful.


There room three primary species of symmetry.

Reflection symmetry (or bilateral symmetry) wake up when everything is mirrored approximately a main axis. It’s most likely the an initial thing you think of as soon as you hear words “symmetry.” The axis can be in any type of direction or orientation, back it’s often vertical or horizontal.

Everything top top one side of the axis is copy on the other side. Natural develops that grow or move across earth’s surface develop reflection symmetry. A human face and also a butterfly room examples.

When the enjoy is a perfect mirror image, the the contrary is stated to it is in pure. Lot of the moment it i will not ~ be perfect and each side will have slight variations. This is close to symmetry, and also it’s much more common 보다 pure symmetry.

The symmetry can even occur end multiple axes at the same time. Because that example, the left and right fifty percent of a composition could mirror each other, if the top and also bottom likewise mirror every other. Snowflakes display reflection the contrary over much more than two axes.

Rotational symmetry (or radial symmetry) wake up when everything rotates approximately a typical center. It can take place at any kind of angle or frequency, as long as yes a common center. Natural creates that thrive or relocate perpendicular come the earth surface construct rotational symmetry. The petals the a sunflower space an example. Rotation there is no reflection can be supplied to display motion, rate or dynamic action. Think the the spinning wheels of a moving car.

Translational symmetry (or crystallographic symmetry) occurs when elements are repeated over various locations in space. Repeating fence articles are an example. The repetition creates translation symmetry. It can happen in any direction or at any distance, as long as the basic orientation is the same. Herbal forms build translational symmetry with reproduction. Friend can produce rhythm, motion, speed and also dynamic action through translation symmetry.

The butterfly is an instance of reflection symmetry, the fence articles show translate into symmetry, and the sunflower is an example of radial symmetry.

Symmetrical develops are commonly seen together the figure, together opposed come the ground. A symmetrical kind will carry much more weight than a an in similar way sized and shaped asymmetrical form.

Symmetrical creates convey balance in and of themselves, but they could show up too stable and also too balanced, leading to a absence of interest. Symmetry forms likewise lead to passive an are because the an unfavorable space is same all around the form.


Asymmetrical develops lack the balance of symmetrical forms, return you can asymmetrically balance an entire composition. Asymmetry is rather usual in herbal forms: you’re more than likely right- or left-handed; fiddler crabs have various sized claws; trees branches thrive in different directions; clouds have random shapes.

Asymmetry creates more complex relationships in between elements, and so it often tends to be an ext interesting 보다 symmetry. Since it’s more interesting, asymmetry can be used to attract attention.

Space about asymmetrical develops is much more active. Unpredictable patterns are created, and overall you have much more freedom that expression with asymmetry than with symmetry. The tradeoff is the it’s harder come achieve.

Much in the same means that similarity and contrast job-related together, friend can integrate symmetry and asymmetry to great effect. Balance symmetrical forms in one asymmetrical way, or balance asymmetrical creates symmetrically. Break up symmetrical forms with a random note to include interest. Contrast symmetry and asymmetry in her composition to make elements get more attention.

Gestalt Principles

Throughout this collection I’ve make the efforts to suggest out how many style principles arise indigenous gestalt principles. I also hope that together you’ve complied with along did you do it seen just how different style principles develop on every other.

One that the gestalt values specifically addresses symmetry and also order and also certainly uses to compositional balance. The hardly the just principle that applies, though.

The simplicity of symmetrical forms is predicted by the regulation of Prägnanz. Gestalt principles such as focal points and also similarity add to intuitive weight. Ethics such together continuation, typical fate and parallelism impart visual direction. I additionally mentioned the symmetrical creates are an ext likely come be viewed as number rather 보다 ground.

I expect this idea that the ethics of gestalt lead to plenty of of the design principles that overview us has become clearer together you’ve review through this series. The architecture principles we follow no arise out of thin air; they arised from the psychology the the means we perceive our visual environment.


It’s time because that screenshots. I have actually a few more websites than usual for this last article in the series, and also I’ve grouped them follow to the four species of balance.

As i’ve reiterated throughout the series, what complies with is my opinion. This is how I view the balance in these designs. You can see it differently, i beg your pardon is fine. Thinking critically around the draft is more important than our agreeing around what we think.

Examples of symmetry Balance

The style of Helen & Hard’s whole website is symmetrically balanced. The screenshot here is indigenous the “About” page, but the various other pages that the website are an in similar way balanced.

Screenshot of Helen & Hard’s “About” page. (View large version)

Everything reflects about a upright axis down the center of the page. The logo design is centered, the navigating bar is centered, the circular pictures are centered, the heading is centered, and the three columns that text space centered.

The balance no perfectly symmetrically. The columns have actually different amounts of text, for example.

However, notification the height of the page. Both the logo and navigation bar are centered, yet they don’t show up to it is in visually centered. Mine eye wants the logo design to be centered on the ampersand, or at least closer to it. The three menu items top top the ideal side of the navigation bar have more letters 보다 those on the left. My eye desires them to it is in the same and also wants the facility to be in between the “About” and also “People” links.

I think relocating these two facets out of facility to do them look like they’re visually centered would balance the ingredient a little better.

The residence page that Tilde is an additional design it is symmetrically balanced. Favor Helen & Hard, whatever here revolves about a upright axis running down the center of the page: the navigation, the text, the civilization in the image. It’s the very same as friend scroll under the page.

Screenshot the Tilde’s home page. (View big version)

As v Helen & Hard, the symmetry isn’t pure. Centered lines of message aren’t winter images, for one thing. Also, a couple of aspects are off: the “Meet the Team” arrowhead pointing right and also the message at the bottom of the page ending in another arrow pointing right.

Both space calls to activity and both rest the symmetry, call extra fist to themselves. Notification how both arrows use colors that contrast with your background, more increasing the attraction of these elements.

Examples that Asymmetrical Balance

The residence page that Carrie Voldengen’s portfolio exhibits an all at once asymmetrical balance around a dominant symmetrical form. Looking at the all at once composition, ns see several discrete shapes.

Screenshot that Carrie Voldengen’s website. (View large version)

The fixed of the web page is a big rectangle that’s written of a grid of smaller rectangle-shaped images. Top top its own, this network is symmetrical roughly both the vertical and also horizontal axes. The feels very strong and stable. Top top its own, it’s an extremely balanced and also looks favor it’s not going anywhere.

To the right, a block of message pulls down on the shape. The counterbalanced by text and the circular logo design in the top left. Both provide a relatively equal amount of visual weight acting on the net in the contrary directions.

The distance to an imagined fulcrum is around the same as the weights. The text on the appropriate is larger and darker overall, however the blue circular logo gives more weight to its basic area. The circle even connects to the top-left corner of the grid with a single color.

The text below the grid seems to hang from it, and it’s light sufficient on its own not to throw the composition the end of balance.

Notice the the space also feeling balanced. The areas down the left, along the optimal right and down the right, consisting of a little bit of the bottom right, every balance every other. The area top top the left is bigger than the area on the right, however the right has actually additional an are on the top and also bottom.

The photos at the height of Hirondelle USA’s home page rotate. I grabbed a screenshot of this one particularly to talk around the asymmetrical balance established at the peak of the page.

Screenshot of Hirondelle USA. (View big version)

The column in the image is slightly off center, and it anchors the composition with a solid vertical heat — it’s things we know weighs a lot. The railing top top the left offers a strong connection v the left sheet of the screen. It, too, feel anchored. It’s difficult to imagine any design aspect on the page throwing either the end of balance.

The text above the railing feels supported by the railing; however, it’s likewise visually well balanced by the picture of the young on the right. You might view the railing as hanging turn off the left side of the pole, pulling it out of balance, however I think the intrinsic interest of the boy and the darker values in the background behind him counterbalance both the rail and the text on the left and keep points in balance.

There’s a feeling of translate into symmetry together the gold lines of message repeat in the top left and also lower best of the image, and also in the switch further down the page. The white message is recurring as well.

Examples that Radial Balance

The residence page that Vlog.it exhibits radial balance, which ns hope is clean from the screenshot. Other than the form in the top-right corner, every little thing revolves about the center of the page, together the three rings of pictures rotate roughly the center circle.

Screenshot the Vlog.it. (View huge version)

What girlfriend can’t check out in the screenshot is how the web page loads. A line is drawn from the lower-left edge to the center of the page. Indigenous that suggest on, just about everything that shows up on the page does for this reason by revolving approximately the center or radiating native it, prefer ripples in a pond.

The smaller circle in the upper ideal adds a tiny translation symmetry and also some asymmetry, boosting visual attention in the composition.

Opera’s glowing Demos residence page no circular, yet the text web links all seem come emanate native a typical or near usual center. It’s simple to imagine the whole shape spinning roughly one of the squares in the center or maybe one of the corners where 4 squares meet.

Screenshot the Opera’s shiny Demos. (View big version)

The glowing Demos heading in the top left and also the Opera logo in the lower right counterbalance each other and additionally appear to radiate indigenous the same center as the message links.

It’s a good example of just how radial balance doesn’t necessarily call for the use of circles.

Examples that Mosaic Balance

You can expect mosaic balance to it is in the the very least used online, especially after I offered Jackson Pollack paints as an example of mosaic balance. Many an ext examples are online 보다 you can realize.

The residence page the Rabbit’s story was a good example. There was certainly a random and also chaotic feel v the letters strewn about, however the balance in the ingredient works.

Screenshot the Rabbit’s Tale. (View large version)

There space close come equal locations of color and an are on both political parties (right and left) come balance every other. The hare in the middle also serves as a fulcrum. It might likewise stand the end a tiny after you’ve watched it, but all at once the aspects don’t call attention to themselves individually.

I’m no going to try to number out which facets counterbalance every other, one facet at a time, however hopefully you agree the there’s an all at once balance. If anything, the chaos is weightier ~ above the right, yet not to the point of throwing off the balance.

Content-heavy website such together news and magazine websites exhibition mosaic balance as well. You might recognize the residence page of The Onion. In the screenshot, I’ve eliminated the background image behind the optimal of the page.

Screenshot of The Onion. (View large version)

There’s a lot come look at. The layout isn’t symmetrical. The columns aren’t equal in size. It’s hard to determine what counterbalances what. The block of content have actually different quantities of contents inside and, consequently, are various sizes. Nothing radiates indigenous a typical center.

There’s a bit of chaos and also randomness in the different-sized blocks, some denser than others. Because the stories on the website readjust daily, a different chaos will appear each day. Overall, it works.

Perhaps that a stretch come say the it’s a mosaic balance, yet again I would certainly argue that it is and also that plenty of websites exhibition this sort of chaotic balance, although something tells me that lot of the chaos we see online wasn’t planned.


It’s taken a if to obtain here, yet that concludes our collection on style principles. I hope you’ve took pleasure in it, learned something brand-new or uncovered the series to it is in a good review of an essential design principles.

As you deserve to guess, i think the fundamentals room important. I started this series to display how all of these principles arise out of person perception and gestalt theory. Ns didn’t make them up. The ethics are based on how we all perceive and interpret our visual environment.

For example, one reason we notification focal clues is because they comparison with the elements around them. They stand out together different. That’s important when you need to quickly determine girlfriend from foe. That capacity was essential for ours survival as a species, and also so our eyes emerged to make the decision quickly.

However, architecture principles no hard and also fast rules. They’re guidelines. There’s nobody right way to interact that two aspects are comparable or different, for example. You don’t should follow any kind of of these principles, although friend should understand them and also have a reason for breaking them.

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Again, i hope you’ve delighted in this series, and I hope even much more that something in the collection has offered you more control over the visual interaction in her designs.