Design Focus Friday – Balance

Balance is the visual distribution of weight in your composition. A sense of balance is innate in humans; lack of balance disturbs us and we feel more comfortable with a balanced pattern.

Pictorial balance usually refers to horizontal balance, the right and left sides of the image. Vertical balance is also a consideration with a horizontal mid line dividing top and bottom. Due to our sense of gravity, we are accustomed to seeing more weight toward the bottom, giving us a sense of stability and calm. The farther up in the format the weight is distributed, the more unstable and dynamic it seems.

Types of balance:

• Symmetrical – shapes are repeated in the same positions on either side of a vertical axis; this type of balance seems more formal.

• Asymmetrical – achieved with dissimilar objects that have equal visual weight or equal eye attraction; this is informal balance and appears casual and less planned.

• Radial – all elements radiate or circle out from a common central point; this type of balance is common in the natural world.

• Crystallographic – an equal emphasis over the whole format with an all over pattern; the constant repetition of the same quality everywhere on the surface.

 Ways to achieve asymmetrical balance:

• Value difference – black against white gives a stronger contrast than gray against white, therefore a smaller amount of black is needed to visually balance a larger amount of gray. Balance by value or color is a great tool, allowing a great difference of shapes on either side of the center axis and still achieving equal eye attraction.

• Shape and Texture – Differences in shape when value and color are the same, can achieve balance. A small irregular shape can balance a large even shape. Texture can achieve the same effect. A small textured shape can balance a larger plain shape.

• Position and Eye Direction – a large item placed closer to the center can be balanced by a smaller item placed out toward the edge. This effect appears casual and unplanned. Eye direction can assist in balancing a composition and should be carefully planned.

• These techniques are rarely used in isolation and many times all are used in a composition to achieve balance.

Questions to get you started:
What type of balance do you usually use in your compositions? Try one of the other types of balance and see how that affects your design style. Can you use all types of balance listed above and work in a theme? How does the type of balance used affect what you are trying to say in your theme?

Using your geometrical shapes, can you make a piece balanced by just using value differences alone? Shape and texture? Position and eye direction?

Sorry I missed posting last week. Things just seemed to get away from me. Been busy, busy, busy with my project. Hopefully, I’ll be able to announce soon what I’ve been doing! Thanks for stopping by.

One thought on “Design Focus Friday – Balance

  1. This was my problem with the last piece I made, it bugged me, lol. I started out with an idea and then realized I couldn't put the words the way I wanted since I didn't have enough space, so I need to think about that before I cut out my sizes.Debbie

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