Essential Elements in Great Design: Balance

Without balance, design can be an eyesore.

In design, few things can create immediate distaste like a lack of balance. It’s important to understand the space and audience when considering the effectiveness of the design –and balance plays a big role. Balance doesn’t always mean that every square inch of space should be used. Sometimes it can be most appropriate to utilize negative space to help give a design the most impact.

There are four common types of balance in design; Symmetrical, Asymmetrical, Radial, and Mosaic. These are helpful “guides” if you will when developing a design whether it be logos, print, digital, or web.

Symmetrical Balance

Symmetrical balance, which happens to be the most commonly known form of balance, occurs when there are equal weights on equal sides of the design or composition. This is a balance style that is considered formal and orderly. Some common practices include invitations and business cards as the information is needed to be understood quickly and concisely. Symmetry best helps achieve this.

Asymmetrical Balance

Unlike symmetrical balance where the composition can be divided equally into two or more parts with each sharing the same weight. Asymmetry has one element being a heavy focal point that is complimented by several lesser-focused elements. This is a difficult aesthetic to achieve simply because the relationship between certain elements is far more complicated. Typical practices in design are web design, sales kits, and presentation materials.

Radial Balance

Radial balance is lesser known because it isn’t commonly used. Radial being the operative term here, meaning the focal point is uniform around the center axis of the design. Think of the intro slate for the James Bond films, iconic right? This is maybe the best example of radial balance in design that is most commonly known. Some common practices include poster and print design. [efsflexvideo type=”youtube” url=”” allowfullscreen=”yes” widescreen=”yes” width=”420″ height=”315″/]

Mosaic Balance

Mosaic balance is maybe the most interesting form of balance on this list because it is the most abstract. While the previous three forms of balance have one or equally shared focal points, mosaic balance doesn’t have one. Each element that makes up the composition is unique in itself. This form is organized chaos; busy and unorderly yet still displaying a sense of artistic structure. Like an oxymoron! This is a balance style that is parallel to Jazz in that for what it lacks in traditional structure it more than makes up for in feeling and emotion. Most common practices include poster design (specifically gig art), infographics and compositing. Some great examples can be seen here.

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