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rapid summary↬ A balanced composition feeling right. That feels stable and aesthetically pleasing. Balancing a composition entails arranging both positive aspects and an adverse space in such a way that no one area of the design overpowers other areas. Every little thing works together and fits together in a smooth whole. The individual parts contribute to your sum yet don’t shot to become the sum.

A well balanced composition feel right. That feels stable and aesthetically pleasing. While few of its aspects might it is in focal points and attract her eye, no one area of the composition draws her eye so much that you can’t watch the various other areas.

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Balancing a composition involves arranging both positive aspects and an unfavorable space in together a method that no one area the the style overpowers other areas. Every little thing works together and fits with each other in a seamless whole. The separation, personal, instance parts contribute to your sum yet don’t try to become the sum.

An unbalanced composition have the right to lead come tension. When a architecture is unbalanced, the individual facets dominate the whole and also the ingredient becomes much less than the amount of its parts. In some projects, unbalanced can be right for the post you’re trying come communicate, but generally you want balanced compositions.

Note: This is the seventh and final article in a collection on architecture principles. Friend can uncover the an initial six posts here:

Happiness is not a matter of intensity yet of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.– thomas Merton

Physical and also Visual Balance

Balance is simple to understand in the physical world, due to the fact that we suffer it every the time. As soon as something is unbalanced, it has tendency to autumn over. You’ve more than likely been on a seesaw or a teeter-totter at some time in your life — you on one side and a girlfriend on the other.

Assuming you were both about the very same size, you to be able to easily balance top top the seesaw. The adhering to image appears to it is in in balance, through two equally sized world equally far-off from the fulcrum on which the seesaw balances.

Symmetrically balanced seesaw.

The human being on the left renders the seesaw rotate counterclockwise, and also the person on the right makes it rotate clockwise by an same amount. The pressure of each human acts in a various direction, and also their amount is zero.

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

Unbalanced seesaw.

This image doesn’t feel right due to the fact that we know the human being on the left isn’t huge enough to balance the human on the right. The clockwise force should be lot greater, and the seesaw have to be poignant the ground on the right.

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

Asymmetrically well balanced seesaw.

Here, the pressure of the larger human being is reduced by gift closer to the fulcrum on i beg your pardon the seesaw balances. I’ll to trust you’ve been on a seesaw prior to or at least watched others play top top one and also that you have a pretty an excellent sense of those going on.

Visual balance is similar. Physical load is changed by visual weight. The direction in i m sorry the physical weight acts is changed by intuitive direction.

As a reminder, listed below are definitions for intuitive weight and visual direction, although okay refer you ago to the fourth write-up in this series for much more details.

visual weight. This is the regarded weight the a visual element. That a measure of just how much noþeles on the page attracts the eye of the viewer.visual direction. This is the perceived direction that a intuitive force. It’s the direction in which we think an element should be moving if the were given a opportunity to move according to the pressures acting ~ above it.

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

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Why intuitive Balance Is Important

Just together in the physical world, intuitive balance is a an excellent thing. It’s preferable in and of itself. One unbalanced composition have the right to feel uncomfortable because that the viewer. Look back at the second of the three seesaw photos — it looks wrong since we can tell the the seesaw do not do it be in balance.

Visual weight is a measure of the visual attention of an facet or area in a design. As soon as a ingredient is visually balanced, every component of the holds part interest. The visual interest is balanced, i beg your pardon keeps viewers involved with the design.

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

You would certainly balance a architecture visually since you desire to balance the point out of attention in your composition, so that viewers invest time with every one of the information you desire to convey.

Four types Of Balance

There’s an ext than one method to balance a composition. The images in the previous section present two of them. The first image is an example of symmetrical balance, and the 2nd is an instance of asymmetrical balance. Two other varieties of balance are radial and mosaic.

Symmetrical balance.

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

The fence of symmetrical balance is that it’s static and also sometimes regarded as boring. Because fifty percent of the composition mirrors the various other half, in ~ least fifty percent of the composition will certainly be rather predictable.

Asymmetrical balance.

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

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

Radial balance.

Radial balance occurs when aspects radiate from a usual center. Beam of sunlight and also ripples in a pond after ~ a stone is tossed in are examples of radial balance. Keeping a focal point (fulcrum) is easy because it’s constantly the center.

Because every little thing radiates from a typical center, everything likewise leads to that center, making the a solid point the attraction.

Mosaic balance.

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

Symmetry and also Asymmetry

Both symmetry and asymmetry have the right to be used throughout a composition, live independence of, however while contributing to, the last balance. You can have symmetrical develops in one asymmetrically balanced composition and also vice versa.

Symmetry is usually viewed as beautiful and also harmonized; however, the can additionally be viewed as static and also dull. Asymmetry has tendency to be an ext interesting and dynamic, in spite of not being regarded as intrinsically beautiful.


There are three primary varieties of symmetry.

Reflection symmetry (or bilateral symmetry) wake up when every little thing is mirrored approximately a main axis. It’s probably the very first thing you think of when you hear the word “symmetry.” The axis can be in any kind of direction or orientation, although it’s frequently vertical or horizontal.

Everything ~ above one next of the axis is copy on the other side. Natural creates that flourish or move throughout earth’s surface develop reflection symmetry. A person face and also a butterfly space examples.

When the have fun is a perfect mirror image, the symmetry is stated to be pure. Much of the time it won’t be perfect and each next will have slight variations. This is close to symmetry, and also it’s more common than pure symmetry.

The symmetry can even occur end multiple axes at the same time. For example, the left and right half of a composition might mirror every other, while the top and bottom additionally mirror each other. Snowflakes display reflection the opposite over much more than 2 axes.

Rotational symmetry (or radial symmetry) occurs when every little thing rotates approximately a typical center. It can happen at any angle or frequency, as long as yes sir a usual center. Natural forms that thrive or relocate perpendicular to the earth surface build rotational symmetry. The petals that a sunflower space an example. Rotation there is no reflection deserve to be provided to present motion, speed or dynamic action. Think the the spinning wheels of a relocating car.

Translational symmetry (or crystallographic symmetry) occurs when aspects are repeated over different locations in space. Repeating fence short articles are an example. The repetition creates translation symmetry. The can happen in any type of direction or at any kind of distance, as lengthy as the basic orientation is the same. Organic forms build translational symmetry with reproduction. Girlfriend can create rhythm, motion, speed and also dynamic action through translate in symmetry.

The butterfly is an example of reflection symmetry, the fence short articles show translate in symmetry, and also the sunflower is an example of radial symmetry.

Symmetrical forms are generally seen as the figure, together opposed come the ground. A symmetrical type will carry more weight than a likewise sized and also shaped asymmetrical form.

Symmetrical creates convey balance in and also of themselves, however they could appear too stable and too balanced, leading to a lack of interest. Symmetry forms likewise lead to passive space because the negative space is equal all around the form.


Asymmetrical creates lack the balance of symmetrical forms, return you deserve to asymmetrically balance an entire composition. Asymmetry is rather common in organic forms: you’re probably right- or left-handed; fiddler crabs have different sized claws; trees branches grow in different directions; clouds have random shapes.

Asymmetry create more facility relationships in between elements, and so it often tends to be more interesting than symmetry. Due to the fact that it’s much more interesting, asymmetry can be offered to draw attention.

Space roughly asymmetrical forms is much more active. Unpredictable patterns room created, and also overall friend have an ext freedom the expression v asymmetry than v symmetry. The tradeoff is that it’s harder come achieve.

Much in the same method that similarity and also contrast job-related together, girlfriend can combine symmetry and also asymmetry to an excellent effect. Balance symmetrical develops in one asymmetrical way, or balance asymmetrical forms symmetrically. Break up symmetrical creates with a random note to include interest. Contrast symmetry and asymmetry in her composition to make aspects get much more attention.

Gestalt Principles

Throughout this series I’ve make the efforts to suggest out how many design principles arise indigenous gestalt principles. I likewise hope that as you’ve complied with along did you do it seen just how different style principles build on every other.

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

The simplicity that symmetrical creates is guess by the regulation of Prägnanz. Gestalt principles such together focal points and also similarity add to visual weight. Values such as continuation, typical fate and also parallelism impart visual direction. I additionally mentioned that symmetrical develops are an ext likely come be watched as figure rather than ground.

I expect this idea the the principles of gestalt lead to numerous of the design principles that guide us has come to be clearer as you’ve read through this series. The design principles we follow didn’t arise out of slim air; they emerged from the psychology that the means we awareness our visual environment.


It’s time for screenshots. I have actually a couple of more websites than usual for this last post in the series, and I’ve grouped them according to the four types of balance.

As i have reiterated transparent the series, what adheres to is my opinion. This is just how I watch the balance in these designs. You can see the differently, which is fine. Reasoning critically about the design is an ext important than our agreeing about what we think.

Examples of symmetry Balance

The style of Helen & Hard’s entire website is symmetrically balanced. The screenshot right here is indigenous the “About” page, but the various other pages of the website are likewise balanced.

Screenshot the Helen & Hard’s “About” page. (View huge version)

Everything reflects about a vertical axis under the center of the page. The logo is centered, the navigating bar is centered, the circular images are centered, the heading is centered, and also the three columns the text room centered.

The balance isn’t perfectly symmetrically. The columns have actually different quantities of text, for example.

However, an alert the top of the page. Both the logo and also navigation bar space centered, but they don’t appear to it is in visually centered. My eye desires the logo design to be centered on the ampersand, or at least closer come it. The three food selection items ~ above the right side the the navigation bar have much more letters than those top top the left. My eye desires them to it is in the same and wants the center to be in in between the “About” and “People” links.

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

The residence page of Tilde is another design that’s symmetrically balanced. Like Helen & Hard, every little thing here revolves about a vertical axis running under the facility of the page: the navigation, the text, the civilization in the image. The the exact same as friend scroll down the page.

Screenshot that Tilde’s house page. (View large version)

As v Helen & Hard, the symmetry no pure. Focused lines of message aren’t mirror images, because that one thing. Also, a pair of facets are off: the “Meet the Team” arrowhead pointing right and the text at the bottom that the page ending in an additional arrow pointing right.

Both space calls to activity and both break the symmetry, phone call extra fist to themselves. An alert how both arrows use colors that contrast with their background, more increasing the attraction of this elements.

Examples of Asymmetrical Balance

The house page the Carrie Voldengen’s portfolio exhibits an all at once asymmetrical balance approximately a leading symmetrical form. Looking in ~ the in its entirety composition, ns see number of discrete shapes.

Screenshot the Carrie Voldengen’s website. (View huge version)

The mass of the page is a large rectangle that’s composed of a network of smaller rectangular images. On its own, this network is symmetrical around both the vertical and also horizontal axes. It feels very strong and stable. ~ above its own, it’s really balanced and also looks like it’s not going anywhere.

To the right, a block of text pulls under on the shape. It’s counterbalanced by text and the circular logo design in the upper left. Both carry out a relatively equal amount of intuitive weight acting on the net in the opposite directions.

The street to an imagined fulcrum is around the exact same as the weights. The text on the best is larger and darker overall, however the blue circular logo design gives an ext weight come its general area. The circle also connects to the top-left edge of the grid v a solitary color.

The text below the grid appears to cave from it, and it’s light enough on its own not to litter the composition out of balance.

Notice the the space also feels balanced. The areas down the left, along the height right and also down the right, consisting of a bit of the bottom right, all balance each other. The area top top the left is bigger than the area ~ above the right, but the right has additional room on the top and bottom.

The photos at the peak of Hirondelle USA’s home page rotate. I got a screenshot the this one specifically to talk around the asymmetrical balance developed at the optimal of the page.

Screenshot of Hirondelle USA. (View big version)

The shaft in the photo is slightly off center, and it anchors the composition through a solid vertical heat — it’s things we recognize weighs a lot. The railing on the left gives a solid connection through the left leaf of the screen. It, too, feeling anchored. It’s hard to imagine any kind of design facet on the page throwing either out of balance.

The text above the railing feels sustained by the railing; however, it’s also visually well balanced by the picture of the boy on the right. You might view the railing as hanging off the left side of the pole, pulling it the end of balance, but I think the intrinsic interest of the boy and also the darker values in the background behind the counterbalance both the rail and also the text on the left and keep things in balance.

There’s a feeling of translate into symmetry together the yellow lines of message repeat in the top left and also lower ideal of the image, and also in the button further under the page. The white message is repeated as well.

Examples that Radial Balance

The residence page the 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 approximately the center of the page, together the three rings of images rotate about the center circle.

Screenshot that Vlog.it. (View large version)

What you can’t check out in the screenshot is exactly how the page loads. A line is attracted from the lower-left corner to the center of the page. Native that allude on, just about everything that appears on the page does for this reason by revolving approximately the center or radiating native it, favor ripples in a pond.

The smaller sized circle in the upper appropriate adds a small translation symmetry and some asymmetry, raising visual interest in the composition.

Opera’s shining Demos residence page isn’t circular, yet the text web links all seem to emanate native a usual or near common center. It’s simple to imagine the entirety shape spinning about one of the squares in the middle or maybe among the corners where 4 squares meet.

Screenshot that Opera’s shining Demos. (View big version)

The shining Demos heading in the top left and also the Opera logo design in the reduced right counterbalance each other and also appear come radiate native the same facility as the text links.

It’s a an excellent example of just how radial balance no necessarily need the use of circles.

Examples the Mosaic Balance

You might expect mosaic balance to be the least used online, particularly after I offered Jackson Pollack paints as an example of mosaic balance. Many an ext examples are online than you might realize.

The house page the Rabbit’s story was a good example. There was absolutely a random and chaotic feel through the letters strewn about, yet the balance in the composition works.

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

There space close come equal areas of shade and space on both political parties (right and also left) to balance every other. The hare in the middle also serves together a fulcrum. It might likewise stand the end a small after you’ve viewed it, but all at once the elements don’t speak to attention to us individually.

I’m no going to try to figure out which facets counterbalance every other, one facet at a time, however hopefully girlfriend agree that there’s an all at once balance. If anything, the chaos is weightier on the right, yet not come the suggest of throwing turn off the balance.

Content-heavy web page such together news and magazine websites exhibit mosaic balance as well. You might recognize the house page that The Onion. In the screenshot, I’ve eliminated the background picture behind the optimal of the page.

Screenshot the The Onion. (View big version)

There’s a lot to look at. The layout no symmetrical. The columns aren’t same in size. It’s difficult to recognize what counterbalances what. The blocks of content have different quantities of contents inside and, consequently, are different sizes. Naught radiates from a typical center.

There’s a little bit of chaos and also randomness in the different-sized blocks, part denser than others. Because the story on the website readjust daily, a various chaos will show up each day. Overall, the works.

Perhaps the a stretch to say that it’s a mosaic balance, yet again I would certainly argue that it is and that countless websites exhibit this type of chaotic balance, return something tells me that much of the chaos we watch online no planned.


It’s bring away a if to acquire here, however that concludes our series on design principles. I hope you’ve delighted in it, learned something new or uncovered the collection to be a an excellent review of an essential design principles.

As you deserve to guess, i think the fundamentals are important. I began this collection to show how every one of these principles arise out of human perception and also gestalt theory. Ns didn’t do them up. The ethics are based upon how we all perceive and interpret our intuitive environment.

For example, one factor we an alert focal points is due to the fact that they contrast with the elements approximately them. They was standing out as different. That’s essential when you require to quickly determine friend from foe. That ability was essential for ours survival together a species, and also so our eyes developed to make the determination quickly.

However, style principles no hard and fast rules. Lock guidelines. There’s nobody right method to connect that two facets are comparable or different, because that example. You don’t need to follow any type of of this principles, although girlfriend should know them and have a reason for break them.

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Again, ns hope you’ve took pleasure in this series, and I expect even more that other in the collection has offered you much more control over the visual communication in your designs.