Balance is the concept of visual equilibrium, and relates to our physical sense of balance. It is a reconciliation of opposing forces in a composition that results in visual stability. Most successful compositions achieve balance in one of two ways: symmetrically or asymmetrically. Balance in a three dimensional object is easy to understand; if balance isn’t achieved, the object tips over. To understand balance in a two dimensional composition, we must use our imaginations to carry this three dimensional analogy forward to the flat surface.
Symmetrical balance can be described as having equal “weight” on equal sides of a centrally placed fulcrum. It may also be referred to as formal balance. When the elements are arranged equally on either side of a central axis, the result is Bilateral symmetry. This axis may be horizontal or vertical. It is also possible to build formal balance by arranging elements equally around a central point , resulting in radial symmetry.
assymmetrical balance is more complex and difficult to envisage. It involves placement of objects in a way that will allow objects of varying visual weight to balance one another around a fulcrum point. This can be best imagined by envisioning a literal balance scale that can represent the visual “weights” that can be imagined in a two dimensional composition.
Proportion refers to the relative size and scale of the various elements in a design. The issue is the relationship between objects, or parts, of a whole. This means that it is necessary to discuss proportion in terms of the context or standard used to determine proportions.
Variety is a principle of design that refers to a way of combining visual elements to achieve intricate and complex relationships. It is a technique used by artists who wish to increase the visual interest of their work. Artwork that makes use of many different hues, values, lines, textures, and shapes reflects variety. Keeping the same size while changing the color can also show variety.
Although varying the components of a design can create visual interest and avoid monotony, design elements must also convey a sense of cohesion. It is important to maintain cohesion or the design will look like a mess of mismatched images thrown together. Still, visual design without any variation is boring.