Design Principles of Art: Balance

September 20, 2009

20061112164515!Roman_Painting_1Graphic design is more than cool fonts and filters. It’s also is made up of the same design principles as other visual artists such as painters and sculptors. There are rules to art.

Of course, rules are meant to be broken. Breaking them creatively is one thing … ignoring them because of ignorance is not acceptable in the professional world of commercial art. We’re going to review some of the basic principles aligned with art, and see how they tie in to your everyday projects. The first principle we’ll touch on is balance. Balance is the consideration of visual weight and importance. It is a way to compare the right and left side of a composition. There are several types of balance: Symmetrical (or formal balance) Both sides are similar in visual weight and almost mirrored. This type of balance can look rigid, giving it a formal look. Asymmetrical balance (or informal balance) Both sides are similar in visual weight but not mirrored. It is more relaxed and casual. There are ways to show balance other than size. • By color: Small areas of vibrant color can be used to balance larger areas of more neutral colors. • By value: Value is also known as the level of darkness. Black against white has a much stronger contrast than gray against white. To balance these two colors, you would need a larger area of gray to balance the stronger value of black. • By shape: Large, flat areas without much detail can be balanced by smaller irregularly shaped objects • By texture: Smaller areas with interesting textures can balance larger areas with smoother, un-textured looks • By eye direction: Your eye can be led to a certain point in a picture depending on how the elements are arranged. If the people in a picture are looking in a certain direction, your eye will be led there as well. Radial composition This is where everything radiates from a central point. Think of a sunflower or pinwheel. For more information on balance, please visit

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Anonymous's picture
January 07, 2016 03:21 am #

[...] proportions within a composition can relate to different kinds of balance, and can help establish visual weight and depth. Proportion involves the relationship of size [...]

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