Skill Level Appropriate for all
- Things in real life, objects, people, pretty much everything, are inherently balanced. If they weren't, they'd be falling over. The laws of physics don't apply to graphic design, but when we see a page, we tend to feel it like we do in real life. The Gestalt term for this is isomorphic correspondence. And because of that, we tend to prefer designs that are in balance. So I'd like to take a quick look at the two primary kinds of balance. We all intuitively get that the teeter-totter is balanced, and that if we add a weight to one end, it's now imbalanced, and adding a counterweight restores the balance.
This balance is symmetrical, each side is essentially a mirror of the other, and what that looks like in practice could be this. This poster is balanced symmetrically. The right side is almost a mirror image of the left. Equal weight on each side of the setter, equally distributed. This has several attributes, balance-wise it's static, there's no movement, it's like that teeter-totter. Nothing's pushing or pulling you in any direction, there's just that nice, calm setter.
The type is placid too, it's all one typeface, Minion Pro, nothing in bold, and the smallest type is not much smaller than the biggest type, so there's not the tension you get when one thing is huge and another thing is tiny. The color contrasts are also low, very light against the neutral field, so the edges are soft. The colors are very gray, de-saturating your colors like this. De-saturated, meaning the colors are not colorful, is very calming.
The opposite would be fire engine red. So the symmetry here, plus the low contrasts, makes a poster that supports the image. It's placid, it's contemplative, it's meditative. The design supports the idea of finding your balance. Back to the teeter-totter, there's also asymmetrical balance, we've all experienced that. The heavier object needs to be closer to the center to be balanced by the lighter object.
Let's abstract this by removing the ground and the board, which gives us this. This is pretty cool, this is a composition in balance, although it's asymmetrical, the two sides are not the same. How does the yoga poster look now? Try this. Let me first give credit to my friend Maya Lim, put the P in there, Maya P. Lim who designed this. I like it a lot, it's complex, it's nuanced, and it's balanced.
Before I go further, let me add one more variable and that's that a small object will balance a large object in equal distance from the center if the two objects weigh the same. The thing, a thing can be bigger but lighter, which is what we see on the poster. Her pose is all askew, but she's obviously balancing. Her center of balance runs through her shoulder. We're seeing skewed lines here, which are reflected in skewed lines here.
The headline and the deck head setting is active, it's not passively centered. Active, meaning it forces our eyes to move. All of it is hovering over the vertical bar in contrast to it but part of it. And all of the type and layout work to counterbalance her. That's assymetry. So here's a question, of these two balanced designs, one symmetrical, one asymmetrical, which one would you pick? Well, that's going to depend on what you're trying to do.
It's a week-long yoga workshop titled, Finding Your Balance. We've already seen that the symmetrical poster conveys a sense of tranquility, literally of centeredness, which is one of the tenants of the week. The stillness of this suggests that the focus will be cerebral on your interior state, on your mindfulness. The asymmetrical poster is balance with tension. To my mind, it conveys the idea that the process, the process of finding your balance is an active one.
It requires involvement and effort and some stress, it's not something that passively happens to you. There's vigor and challenge and demand involved. You're out to find balance. However, I showed this poster to a live audience, and a fairly large percentage were uncomfortable with it. Her pose is clearly athletic and beyond the ability of most people, and they were kind of put off by that. This is a workshop they would not want to attend. That wasn't everyone, others were energized, they took the poster as a challenge, as an invitation to go further, to do more, all that.
An active pursuit of personal transformation with effort. So, there you go. A look at what balance can do. Balance is a primary design tool, something you deal with on every page. We'll cover this topic again, and that's your design for today, see you next time.
Q: Why can't I earn a Certificate of Completion for this course?
A: We publish a new tutorial or tutorials for this course on a regular basis. We are unable to offer a Certificate of Completion because it is an ever-evolving course that is not designed to be completed. Check back often for new movies.