The Principle of Balance


Balance is the even (though not necessarily equal) distribution of the design elements to create harmony within a composition.

Balance keywords (descriptive)

  • • Symmetrical
  • • Asymmetrical
  • • Radial
  • • Dynamic
  • • Stable
  • • Formal
  • • Traditional
  • • Horizontally balanced
  • • Vertically balanced
  • • Centred
  • • Justified to the left
  • • Justified to the right

Symmetrical Balance

A composition can be symmetrically or asymmetrically balanced. Imagine placing an imaginary line down the middle of a composition.

If the elements are of equal weight and value on either side we refer to this as symmetrically balanced. Usually when one or more elements are mirrored on either side we refer to this as a stable or more formal composition.

Symmetrical-balance images



Symmetrical Balance add a sense of order, rest & calmness to a composition


Asymmetrical Balance

When the imagery is not mirrored we can describe the composition as being dynamic or informal. If the elements are not mirrored this is referred to as asymmetrically balanced.

Asymmetrical Balance adds a sense of tension, dynamics and emphasis to a composition


An asymmetrical composition can be balanced as seen in this movie poster for the Green Lantern. There is an uneven distribution of elements on either side of the page, creating an asymmetrical balance. The overall effect is a strong, dynamic and effective composition.



In graphic design, balance is considered when making decisions about layout and the arrangement of text and images. A bad design can be eye catching. So when describing or discussing a visual communication, try not to use the descriptor ‘eye catching’. Instead use a word like ‘effective’.


Balance design examples:

images joseph-muller-brockman-olma-cow-poster mg2 Minga-Impossible-Symmetry poster-design03 s2c2-symmetryvertical 06fig09 13 99d9ab2327d7363198e0e5c918ef2f54 180px-Marionette_Theatre_Presents_RUR,_WPA_Poster_(LOC_3c17506).svg 4831236395_275a825510_z 5499386891_3d8d1056aa aacc508c017b1c4c3eba30c11a3efa61 asymmetry-architecture-beauty creative-poster-design-07 history-poster-for-blog images (2)


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