If you have ever taken any kind of art class you probably were given a list of items that make good art - meaning what would make things pleasing to the eye. Items like color planning, balance, scale, emphasis etc. As mentioned last week, we are going to start talking about some of these elements. The topic for this week is balance.
As a principle of design, balance refers to the way the elements of art are arranged or distributed. Good balance creates a feeling of stability in a work; a pleasing distribution that provides equal visual weight on a page.We have all seen balance used in decorating when someone puts two lamps on a table-one at each side.
Visual weight is determined by the color, size, texture or amount of detail of an element. Maybe another way to think of weight is with the word dominance. For example, darker objects are heavier or more dominant that lighter color items, those with more texture of pattern are more dominant than those without it, and larger items are obviously 'heavier' than small items.
Two types of balance are usually discussed-symmetrical and asymmetrical. Symmetric balance, also known as formal balance, occurs when the two sides are identical — they reflect each other, kind of like a mirror. All items are distributed equally around a central axis. In other words, if you divide your page into equally sized portions with imaginary lines horizontally and vertically you would see items equally placed on the page.
This may seem like a lot of jargon, to me balance is something that many people do innately. I also think the way that a person uses balance is specific to that person's preferences. However, even for those who are not born with a sense of balance it is sommething that a person can learn or we can all learn to do better.
Let's use real examples for this topic. A layout that has an even number of pictures put in a square is a balance almost everyone can see easily. In this example, you see that Annette used 9 squares which are lined up evenly. Although each square is not exactly the same thing as in the lamp example, these squares are evenly spaced at the same levels on the page and it provides a very symmetrical looking layout.
Here is another example of a symmetrical layout. This one is even a little more symmetrical than the first example:
These symmetrically balanced layouts are calming, soothing and very pleasing to the eye, aren't they. I think everyone can easily see how the page looks balanced. Try a symmetrically balanced page this week and see how it fits with your way of scrapbooking. We will talk about asymmetrical balance next week. This is what we all use the most, and it can be difficult at times to acheive such a nice balanced look to our pages using assymetry.