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Visual Balance as a Principle of Design

written by: Kristina Dems•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 9/8/2010

The principle of design balance helps designers keep the focus of their works on the most important content without taking for granted the other design elements. It is not simply a way to make the work visually stunning and clean.

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    Desktop publishing does not only involve keeping the layout, design, look and feel of a design clean and pretty. There needs to be a factor that controls or manipulates the eyes of the reader or the viewer to give them a better way of viewing the design. One of the most crucial design principles in desktop publishing is the principle of design balance. In this article, we discuss what this principle means and what role it plays in desktop publishing design.

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    Visual Balance

    Visual Balance To give character and depth to a visual element or the overall look and feel of a design, visual balance is employed. Visual balance gives equal weight to all the elements on a published work whether it is only composed of graphics, text or a combination of both. Balance can be obtained by making the content symmetrical, where there is an equal amount of weight and depth in all areas of the published work.

    Asymmetrical balance can also be used to achieve visual balance. This is where equal amounts of elements like text and graphics are applied to a layout using different quantities of those elements and different types of weight effects and depth. Different kinds of elements can be used to achieve this kind of balance even without equal quantities applied to different areas in the published work.

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    Elements of Visual Balance

    Visual balance can be attained by using different combinations of images, text, colors, shapes, texture, shades and positioning. One side of a published work can contain a large image while the other side can contain several blocks of text peppered with stunning graphics that are smaller. The two sides of the published work may not look symmetrical, but it does attain a balance thanks to the visual weight created by the combination of text and graphics on one side which complements the large graphic on the other. Different kinds of balance, including vertical, horizontal and radial, can be attained by placing specific types of elements in the right position in such a way that all elements of the design will get attention instead of just having one element hog all the attention.

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    Purpose of Visual Balance

    The principle of design balance is employed to keep the attention of the reader or viewer. It is not only used to make the published work pretty and clean, but it also serves as a guide for the reader's eyes on which content they should view first and which content they should view next. Giving the focus on the most important element of the published work, usually the text content, it the main goal of employing balance. From the focus, the design balance leads the eyes of the reader to the next element they should be viewing. In some published works, there are several elements in the design that should be the focus. In these cases, visual balance is used to give equal weight to those elements, letting the reader choose where they should start while keeping in mind that there are other elements in the design sharing the weight.