The Design of Balance and Symmetry

Whether a design is interpreted in a 2-dimensional or 3-dimensional medium, it is vowed to contain a form of balance. Balance is an interpretation of a design’s gravity and its distribution of elements. Balance is not limited to only size. It delves in with other elements such as color, space, texture, and value. It can be descriptive, implied, or abstract.

In the subject of balance, there are many different varieties that one can use to create a well-thought out design.

  • Symmetrical Balance

Symmetrical Balance is achieved by placing elements in an even fashion. If a design has a symmetrical balance, it can be divided in the center with a line of symmetry. In other words, symmetry occurs in any orientation as long as the object/image is the same on either side of the central axis. The human mind almost always appeals to a symmetrical design because we are also symmetrical beings. Symmetrical balance guarantees left to right and top to bottom balances. Objects seem more stable if the bottom is slightly heavier; however, if the top has more weight, it would seem dangerous or risky. Symmetrical design gives a strong sense of unity since elements are mostly repeated, yet at the same time lacks variety due to redundancy. However, with its unity and repetition, a symmetrical design creates order and a strong sense of structure.

Near symmetry occurs when one half is slightly different to an extent that does not completely change its balance asymmetrically.

Biaxial symmetry is composition that contains more than one axis of symmetry.

Radial Balanced designs revolve around a central point, or seem to radiate out from the center.

  • Asymmetrical Balanced designs have elements that do not mirror each other on a linear axis. This type of balance does not rely on symmetry. Asymmetry can be a bit more difficult to achieve, due to strategic placing and composition; however, the results can be appealing to viewers. For example, a large, dark object placed on one side can be contrasted by having lighter and smaller objects on the other side.


Here are some links to learn more about the different types of balance and symmetry:

Photo sources (in order):





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