Visual balance provides a sense of unity, order, and equilibrium. Your design needs to visually “hold together” in order to feel complete and harmonious. But that doesn’t mean everything should be perfectly symmetrical. It just means that the visual weight of objects, space, and colour is equally distributed across the design. Without balance, a design could feel off-kilter, inconsistent, and unsettling. That’s OK too, if it is the reaction you want from your viewer.

Balance in design is very much like balance in life. It tends to be a good thing. Think of a set of old fashioned balance scales. Balance is achieved when there is equal visual weight on either side. This can be achieved with a mirror image, like a butterfly’s wings, or with elements of similar size, value & weight on both sides (symmetrical); by one heavier/larger element on one side and several lighter ones on the other side; or placing a heavier element closer to the centre, while the lighter ones are placed further from the centre (asymmetrical). Large, dark or diagonal elements can feel heavier than smaller, lighter or vertical/horizontal ones.

Activity: Alphabet Balancing Act

you will need

  • Magazine cuttings or some art materials or a digital drawing app

what to do

What's your favourite letter in the alphabet? Choose one or more letters and make several sketches or collages playing about with your letter and balance. Make both symmetrical and asymmetrical designs. Here are some examples to get you started.

Add your sketches or collages to your portfolio