5 Ways to Use The Principle of Balance in Design

Have you seen minimalistic logos like the logo of Chanel? They use simple fonts and symbols. Yet there is a sophistication to the design. Sometimes, when you create your logo from scratch it feels close to impossible to achieve this result. Especially when you do it yourself, without prior design knowledge. Have you wondered why? What is that secret sauce that makes these professional logo designs look, well, professional? The answer lies in the principle of balance in design! 

Brushing Up the Basics

What is the principle of balance in design

There are many attributes that make up a design. Textures, colors, the position of elements, and visual weights. When there is a visible harmony in these elements, it creates an aesthetically appealing result. And that’s when we call a design to be balanced. 

When the balance is off, something about the design feels off. You can instantly tell that it is not something designed by a professional! 

Balance can be of many types
  • Symmetrical balance is when the design looks mirrored on either side of an axis. Or in other words, one half of the design looks like a reflection of the other half. 
Web banner design by Kimp

Asymmetrical balance is when the visual weights are not even on both sides. But you will notice that as individual elements the weights are contrasting. But together they look balanced. For example, there might be bold text in a large font size on one side. This is used to create a visual hook. But then to balance this bold text section, there would be another text section with smaller fonts and a lighter or thinner stroke on the other side. But the smaller fonts section might have several lines of text to make up for the single line of bold text. 

Here is an example:

Social media design by Kimp
  • Radial balance makes it appear like the elements in the design are all connected to a single focal point. And these are again of similar visual weights, as with symmetrical balance.
Infographic design by Kimp
  • Mosaic balance is when there are multiple elements with similar visual weights but no defined focal points. When you have to break the hierarchy but represent equal emphasis for various items, you can use this type of balance. 
Social media design by Kimp

We have a whole blog on the basics of visual balance. And also the different types of visual balance you can use in your design. That would be a great place to start if you want to get to the basics. 

Now, let’s get to the topic – how to use the principle of balance in design to create marketing designs that sell. 

Using the Principle of Balance in Design to Create Marketing and Branding Designs 

So, you have heard enough about why balance is important. And about the different types of balance to use. But how exactly do you ensure that your design is balanced? Use attributes like color, texture, and size to play with your options. We’ll talk about these ideas in detail here. 

1. Using color to create visual balance 

Aligning your design’s color palette with your brand colors is a priority. But just to incorporate your brand colors in the design you cannot compromise on the balance. 

Have you seen designs with too many vibrant colors? They might make the design pop. But they cause a visual strain. And that’s bad user experience. Any design that does not deliver good user experience is bad design. 

How can you tackle this? Understand color harmonies. When you choose colors for your design, you can select complementary, analogous, triadic, or monochromatic colors for the best results. We’ll give you a few examples to understand this idea better. 

1) One of the reasons why the logo of the Los Angeles Lakers looks brilliant is the use of a complementary color pair, yellow and purple. 

Source: Wikipedia

Despite being strong colors they balance each other. And thus the design looks vibrant without the colors clashing with each other. 

2) Here is a logo design by Kimp. This is a design with a lot of character. The monochromatic palette here is one of the reasons for the visual balance. 

Logo design by Kimp

3) When you want your brand color to be the only element that pops, you can do so without altering the balance in design. And this is by using white or black to create contrast. As you can see in the below packaging design by Kimp. It is a cheerful-looking design. But yellow is the only color that stays in your mind when you see the packaging. 

Packaging design by Kimp
2. Using size to create balance in design 

Remember we spoke about using a section with smaller fonts to balance the hero text in bold? That’s an example of using size to create balance. If a design has too many large elements and very few small elements, it might end up looking chaotic. There would also not be enough emphasis on the focal section. 

When you create print/digital ads or even flyers and billboards, you need to have a hero text section. This will be the title text. Or in other words, this will be the section that summarizes what the design is about. And the reason why this is often in big chunky text is to draw attention. When you get customers to take notice of your ad and instantly convey the gist of the ad, there are better chances of conversion. 

But for this, if you add lines and lines of big bold text, do you think it will be a pleasant reading experience? That’s one way in which the lack of balance ruins your design. 

Social media design by Kimp

In the above social media design with asymmetrical balance, the product image is bigger than the ingredient images. And thus a major share of your attention falls on the product. To balance the large element the other bubbles, featuring the ingredients, are made smaller. 

Both the below images create balance using text size and shapes of the elements (the silhouettes in this case). 

Packaging design by Kimp
Packaging design by Kimp

Notice how the positions of these elements are different in both designs. And how these differences cause a difference in the type of balance created. The first one has an asymmetrical balance while the second one has a symmetrical balance. 

3. Using shapes to create balance in design 

Geometric shapes like circles and squares have different visual weights in design. Squares, rectangles, and polygons with rigid corners appear heavier than circles. And irregular shapes appear even lighter in visual weight. There is a fluidity in these shapes due to which their visual weights are less. 

So, if you are creating a design with too many squares and rectangles alone, the design might feel too stiff. 

Infographic design by Kimp

In the above infographic, the curvy shape at the center balances the geometric shapes. Together they make a pleasant combination. 

Here are a few more examples of using shapes appropriately to create balance. 

Social media design by Kimp
Social media design by Kimp

The similarity in shapes causes a symmetrical balance in the first image. And the difference in shapes causes an asymmetrical balance in the second one. 

Kimp Tip: Designs like infographics can be quite heavy to consume. There is a lot of information for the users to grab. So, visual balance can make or break the effectiveness of these designs. If the design is not visually appealing and if there are too many clashing elements, users might easily feel distracted. As a result, they might not read the whole thing! 

Want to create visually balanced informative infographics? Get in touch with the Kimp team today. 

4. Using textures to create balance in design 

The texture of an element can determine whether it has a strong visual weight or it appears light. Some textures are eye-grabbing. They make that particular element pop. But then if you use too many textures, there is nothing but chaos. 

Consider this like combining prints to create outfits. Bold chunky prints paired with other bold prints make the whole outfit look noisy. But pairing them with tiny prints or solids creates a beautiful balance. A very similar thing can be applied to design as well. 

For example, if you are going to add gradients to the background, avoid having too many color variations in the foreground text. On the other hand, colorful text pops out on a solid background. 

Take a look at the below design. 

Design by Kimp

The solid black section in a contrasting color elegantly balances the grandeur of the textured gold accent in the background. 

Kimp Tip: Textures might be tricky to work with. But that should not stop you from using them. As you can see, it all depends on how you balance them with solids. Because textures can create an interactive interface. They can make specific elements in your design more prominent than the others. 

Looking to explore the use of textures to add a new dimension to your design? Choose a Kimp Graphics subscription. 

5. Using the position of elements to create balance in design 

Have you ever looked at a web page and felt that it is too cluttered? So much that you had to scour the page meticulously to find what you were looking for! If that has happened, blame it on the lack of visual balance. 

The positions of different elements in design affect both balance and hierarchy. 

(Hierarchy is the intended direction for the design. Or the order in which you want your target customers to view and interpret the various elements in the design. Want to delve into the concept of hierarchy and how it affects design? Check Kimp’s blog on hierarchy.) 

Now back to our balance discussion! Elements that are positioned close to each other look like a connected group. If there are random groups of elements with varying negative spaces separating them, then the design looks noisy. 

Does the below design look balanced to you? In other words, see if can patiently read every single piece of information in the ad. 

If you were waiting to scroll past the above ad, you are not alone. Blame it on lack of design and poor sense of hierarchy. 

On the other hand, take a look at the flyer design below. 

Flyer design by Kimp

The flyer conveys plenty of details. But there are two good things about this design. 

  • The centered alignment of the elements 
  • And the presence of plenty of negative spaces around the central text section 

Together they create a beautifully balanced composition. That’s how you carefully use the positions of different elements to play with the balance in design. 

Create Visually Balanced Designs for Your Brand’s Marketing With Kimp 

The sense of harmony that balance creates can be that one aspect that sets your designs apart. So, if you wish to create elegant visually appealing designs, prioritize balance. At the same time, do not be afraid to explore the benefits of asymmetrical balance. Especially when you have to create strong focal points in your design. 

Ready to execute these ideas? Kimp’s subscriptions are here to help. Sign up for our 7-day free trial today.