Graphic Design Principles #1: Balance

graphic design principles balance

This is the beginning of eight-part series covering the basics of graphic design. Through this series, I hope to better inform you on the basics of design and how you can implement them in your website and marketing materials.

First, Balance.

Balance is defined as a state in which different things occur in equal or proper amounts or have an equal or proper amount of importance. In terms of design, this would be the even distribution of objects, colors, texture, and space. If the balance is symmetrical, the elements are used evenly on both sides; if the balance is asymmetrical, the sides are different but still look balanced.

It's safe to say that more often than not, designers lean towards asymmetrical design. This is, in large part, because the asymmetry leads to more dynamic visuals, and can create some hierarchy within the design. Symmetry creates balance through repetition, while asymmetry achieves balance through contrast.

Another aspect of balance is the ratio of text and images. You don't want to overwhelm your audience with text. Picture a newspaper and a magazine. If you open up several pages of the newspaper, you may notice a lot more text than images (depending on the pages). In contrast, as you flip through the magazine, you may notice larger images with less text. These are different styles and serve different audiences, but for most audiences, you'll want to lean away from having too much text.

Here's a few examples of good balance, from work that I've done:

Your turn: Take a look at some of your promotional items around the office (brochures, flyers, postcards). Are they balanced? What is your photo to text ratio? Choose one piece to work on – move around the different elements to create some balance! Share a link or photo below after you update your pieces!