A8 Proportion: Symmetrical & Asymmetrical Balance

Balance can be proportionally affected by visual weight and also by structure. In general terms, the most frequently used means of establishing structural balance involve symmetry and asymmetry.

Symmetrical Balance involves mirroring an image along an imaginary axis. The compositions immediately below demonstrate four different types of symmetrical balance: vertical, diagonal, horizontal, and radial. In each case there’s an imaginary axis that provides this kind of underlying structure. Vertical symmetry: National Watercolor Society poster; Keep Your Head Above Your Heart poster; 5 Generaciones wine label; Diagonal symmetry: Beef Consumption poster; Horizontal symmetry: Angel Hearts; or Radial symmetry: Snowbird Marathon logo; Staircase, Sagrada Familia.












On the other hand, asymmetrical balance does not involve a mirrored structure or axis, but rather a felt sense of balance. The sense of structure is typically more fluid and possesses more random qualities. The compositions below; DADA/no; To Our Shareholders; DP101 Robot; Church of the Nazarene – demonstrate asymmetrical balance. In each case there’s a felt sense of balance borne out of proportional considerations (size, value or color, weight and placement).



Walker Evans. The Church of the Nazarene. Tennessee, 1936. Library of Congress


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