In this lesson, you will learn about the Balance principle.

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Source: Image of Stair case, Creative Commons http://www.flickr.com/photos/appughar/3248593100/ Image of Paris, Creative Commons http://adrianserghie.deviantart.com/art/Paris-symmetry-341189618 Image of National Art Library, Creative Commons http://www.flickr.com/photos/thewolf/4215615026/ Image of red glitter, Creative Commons http://siminnka.deviantart.com/art/Red-drop-157650636 Image of Hamburg subway, Creative Commons http://www.flickr.com/photos/ipi6r/3616637340/

Video Transcription

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Hi, everyone. My name is Mario. And I'd like to welcome you to today's lesson, which is going to be balance.

So I'm going to explain what balance is, introduce you to the types of balance, and then we'll jump into some examples on how balance is actually used. So as always, feel free to stop, fast forward, and rewind as you see fit. And when you're ready to go, let's get started.

So I'm sure most of us know what balance is, since it typically keeps us from landing on our faces. But when it comes to design, balance is a design principle that provides equilibrium to the placement of the elements. So balance is going to be one of those elements that the viewer will be able to identify very readily, typically by points of interest or some sort of focal point in the design. So a lot of designs will be primarily oriented with balance in mind for that purpose.

Now, when viewing different designs, various pieces will have either symmetrical or asymmetrical balance. So symmetrical balance is when an element of equal size and shape are evenly distribute on both sides of a central axis, like I have shown you here in this example. That's a very basic example of symmetrical balance.

And again, a simple way to think about it would be sort of like mirrored images. But it actually goes beyond just mirrored elements in the design. And we'll get to that in just a minute here.

Now, my contrast asymmetrical balance is when elements of different size and shape may be distributed unevenly with a decentered axis. So you'll notice in this example, again, there are the same number of shapes on both sides of the center plane, but they're not evenly distributed. Now, it's also worth noting that with asymmetrical balance, it provides more tension between the elements and it better navigates viewer's eye flow. So it directs the viewer's eye to where it needs to be in a design or an image.

Visual balance is kind of like weight in physics in that respect. So balance will be determined by visual weight, which is influenced by many other factors, like position, size, or texture, shape, and even color. And that's just a few of various other factors.

So for example, here's an image of a few people taking a stroll. Notice the balance is asymmetrical here, because there are elements of varying size. And not only that, but the elements are different shapes and in different positions. But overall, it's a balanced piece.

You have your taller elements on one side of the canvas that take up most of the space. And similarly, you have the older gentleman with buildings behind him that take up similar amount of space. So it's balanced.

Now, by contrast, if you move the older gentleman to the left portion of the screen or canvas, it stays asymmetrical, but we no longer have that sense of balance anymore. Most of the darker elements and most of the contrasting shapes have now shifted over to the left side of the canvas. So it's heavier on one side of the image than the other, when we talk about, again, visual weight.

So note these things, as we look at a few more examples of symmetrical balanced and asymmetrical balanced images and ask is it balanced? What kind of balance is it? And if it's not balanced, why not?

So it actually wraps up this lesson. Conclude with our key terms as usual, which is "balance", "symmetrical balance", and "asymmetrical balance." And that'll do it for today.

So my name is Mario. I hope you've enjoyed this lesson with me today. And I'll see you next lesson.

Terms to Know
  • Asymmetrical Balance

    Asymmetrical Balance is when elements of different size and shape may be distributed unevenly with a de-centered axis.

  • Balance

    Balance is a design principle that provides equilibrium to the placement of elements.

  • Symmetrical Balance

    Symmetrical balance is when elements of equal size and shape are evenly distributed on both sides of the central axis.