Asymmetrical design is typically off-center or created with an odd or mismatched number of disparate elements. However, you can still have an interesting design without perfect symmetry.
With asymmetrical balance you are evenly distributing the elements within the format which may mean balancing a large photo with several small graphics. Or, you can create tension by intentionally avoiding balance.
Uneven elements present us with more possibilities for arranging the page and creating interesting designs than perfectly symmetrical objects. Asymmetrical layouts are generally more dynamic and by intentionally ignoring balance the designer can create tension, express movement, or convey a mood such as anger, excitement, joy, or casual amusement.
See the descriptions below each of these examples that describes how asymmetrical balance or tension is achieved in each case.
Asymmetrical Balance - This page uses a 3 column format to create a neatly organized asymmetrical layout. The two columns of text are balanced by the blocks of color in the lower left topped by a large block of white space. In this case, because the white space is in a block shaped much like the text columns, it becomes an element of the design in its own right.
Asymmetrical/All Over Balance - It can't be neatly sliced in half like a symmetrical design but most of the elements have only small differences in shape and mass. This page achieves an overall balance by use of an underlying grid that spreads the many pieces out over the entire page, more or less evenly.
Asymmetrical Tension - Like a wild, unruly garden, the elements of this brochure cover are barely contained on the page. The plants spring up primarily along the left side but with a few stems escaping and arching across the page. The text, although randomly placed, follows the lines of the plants keeping them anchored to the overall design. The off-balance design creates a sense of freedom and movement.
Look for examples of asymmetrical balance, do these exercises and answer these questions (to yourself).
- How many examples of asymmetrical balance can you find?
- Examine the elements within the piece to see how the designer arranged them to achieve a balanced design without symmetry.
- Look for pieces that appear to be intentionally out of balance?
- How does the balance contribute to the mood of each piece? Is it dynamic? Does it appear to move in a certain direction or vibrate on the page?
Next > Radial Balance