1.08_ Proportion: Symmetrical & Asymmetrical Balance

Balance can be proportionally affected by visual weight and also by mode of structure. In general terms, the most frequently used modes 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










Create your own composition through the medium of your choosing: photography, painting, drawing, digital tools, mixed media, etc. Details: Create or find another item or image of something that’s symmetrically balanced. Now create or find another image that is asymmetrically balanced. Then integrate these two images into three compositions: (1) favoring asymmetry; (2) favoring symmetry; (3) a balance between things symmetrical and asymmetrical.



Proportion 5: Symmetrical & Asymmetrical Balance

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