What is Symmetrical Balance in art? Examples and why it’s important (2022)

Do you want to learn what is symmetrical balance in art? You might not realize it at first glance but nearly every piece of artwork has some form of symmetry within its composition.

Whether it’s an image with two halves that mirror each other or an architectural structure with identical windows on both sides, symmetry plays a big role in creating visually appealing images and designs.

This article will give you all the tools necessary to start using symmetrical balance in your own work today!

Keep reading so we can show you what makes this article different and learn what balance is, how symmetry is related to composition, how you can create balance in art plus some valuable tips on creating your own balanced art with lots of examples.

What is Symmetrical Balance in art? Examples and why it’s important (1)

What is symmetrical balance in art

Symmetrical balance is a fundamental principle of art and design, and it can be found everywhere from art to design to architecture. It’s the perfect way for artists and designers alike to create beautiful compositions that are balanced and pleasing to the eye.

If you’re looking for inspiration or just curious about how symmetry works, this article will help you understand everything there is to know about symmetrical balance in art.

What is Symmetrical Balance in art? Examples and why it’s important (2)

“Dynamic Symmetry: The Foundation of Masterful Art” byTavis Leaf Glover

What does symmetry in art mean?

In art, “Symmetry” means that one side of the picture looks like the other side. Symmetrical balance is pleasing because it replicates itself in all directions to make an even, symmetrical whole. What does symmetry art look like?

You can easily see symmetrical balance in traditional paintings, including landscapes and still lifes.

(Video) BALANCE:PRINCIPLE OF ART EXPLAINED (ACTIVITIES AND DISCUSSION OF SYMMETRICAL BALANCE)

If you look at the example below, if you were to draw a line in the middle of the painting and then compare the two halves, you would see that there would be symmetrical balance as both sides would look almost identical.

What is Symmetrical Balance in art? Examples and why it’s important (3)

Why is symmetry important in art?

Symmetry plays a crucial role in our lives because we are very good at recognizing patterns—so good that we can find patterns even when they’re not really there!

That tendency works to the advantage of artists who use symmetrical composition deliberately to create beauty or suspense or just to organize complicated shapes into simple forms that seem easy for your eyes to follow around the drawing.

When things are not in symmetry in art, the artwork or subject matter starts to look a little ‘off’. It is the main reason why most portraits fail or why many artworks are actually disliked by viewers. It gives you that feeling that something is just not right with the artwork.

When you get that feeling with your own artwork then chances are you messed up the symmetry and you should look at fixing it.

What does balance mean in art?

When you look at any artwork, what makes it visually appealing to your eyes? What makes us want to take another look at an artwork or photograph more than once?

What factors trigger our visual senses and make us view a piece of art as something special or unique.

Balance. Without it, no piece of work can be considered pleasing to the eye.

No matter how good the lines are drawn or the colors used to make you feel comforted, no matter how deep the meaning behind a composition may be, without balance then it won’t have that extra something that makes us think that the artwork is pleasing to the eye.

Not everything that has symmetry has balance though. Balance can be achieved without symmetry by using color, tone, shade, shapes that help balance one half of an artwork with the other.

(Video) Arts: Balance (Symmetrical and Asymmetrical)

Think of it as a physical weight. Darker colors tend to appear heavier than lighter ones.

When one side of an artwork is predominantly a darker color or has larger shapes then the balance can be out.

You can re-balance the artwork by adding other shapes or colors among some of the techniques available.

Balance is classified into three types: symmetric, asymmetric, and radial.

Artworks that are symmetric and radially balanced utilize formal balance.

Asymmetric balance is quite different and is also referred to as informal balance.

What is Symmetrical Balance in art? Examples and why it’s important (4)

How do I create balance in art?

The balance of composition is influenced by four factors. Following are some of the more important factors to consider as you pursue balance in your artwork. As this is a high-level explanation, you can use these points as a jumping-off point for further study.

Size

As stated earlier, bigger objects appear heavier than smaller objects even if there is no physical weight, this is a trick our brain plays on us. When two objects of different sizes must be balanced, the one with less visual weight will need to have weight added to it, this can be done using color, making it darker, or even using heavier and thicker lines.

Color

Dull and darker colors are heavier in appearance than bright ones. If you find that your image does not appear balanced, experiment with using different shades of the same color or apply a contrasting color and see if you like the results.

Position

Our real-world experiences with weight and physics influence our two-dimensional arrangement of visual elements. If for example, we draw two spheres of the same size on the opposite ends of a scale, they will appear balanced.

(Video) Balance and Symmetry in Art

If we draw the same two spheres but one is closer to the center of the scale, then the image will not appear balanced.

In the example above we can achieve balance by making the sphere we moved closer to the center larger or darker – giving it more weight in our minds. And everything should appear normal.

Texture and Pattern in Art

What is the difference between texture and pattern in art? Texture and pattern in art can appear to be the same thing but both create different visual effects that can affect balance.

A pattern is a recurring visual element, such as plaid or stripes, whereas texture may be sensed, such as the surface of a brick or a piece of sandpaper.

Textures and patterns provide visual weight. You can change the balance of forces in art by adding different textures or patterns. When you combine or add just one pattern or texture to your image, you can create balance. Do not overdo it with mixing up too many types of textures and patterns as then it can make your artwork look busy and harder on the eyes, which is even worse than having a lack of balance or symmetry.

Why are people drawn to symmetry in artwork?

What is it about symmetry that has an impact on people? Symmetry give people a level of comfort that something is in order.

A characteristic inherent in symmetrical balance is orderliness when an image appears ordered then it’s because it follows an accurate system of scientific or mathematical laws, which by the way is called symmetry.

What this means is that symmetrical balance shows us structure and orderliness since everything has its place.

It means that there’s a sense of uniformity where every element in the picture all follow or correspond with one another so as not to interrupt your vision seeing these images as whole compositions rather than fragmented elements put together.

Symmetry works by showing how structured shapes are organized into balanced patterns which visually communicate compositional organization and orderliness.

Symmetry can be found everywhere but what you must know about it is how important it is for an artist no matter if he creates two-dimensional or three-dimensional art.

(Video) Good Composition #3: Asymmetrical Balance

How do Symmetry and composition fit together?

Art will always be art; it’s the one common thing that people will never stop creating because of its importance as a part of life. What changes is how we see and understand what makes up a particular work of art so if you ask yourself What is symmetry in art, the answer is simple: it has to do with composition.

Symmetry deals with composition which deals with objects being arranged or positioned in relation to each other either close together or far apart, etc.

Composition also deals with all elements within an image such as lines, color, shape, and texture. What does symmetry do? It creates balance within these compositions resulting in beautiful designs that are pleasing to look at because everything complements each other forming patterns that have familiar feel to them.

Why do artists use symmetry in their work?

Artists use symmetry in their work because it’s beautiful to look at. It’s also calming and soothing, but most importantly symmetrical art works well with the brain because what the eyes see matches up with what the brain remembers. What does this mean? When we look at an image that has symmetry in it, our brain automatically finds patterns and familiar sights that it can relate to. This familiarity helps us stay relaxed and calm when looking at such images.

Where symmetry is found within artwork is all over the place! Most of you probably wouldn’t even notice where symmetrical balance was being used unless there were no patterns or familiar sights anywhere on the canvas or paper.

Even those of us who are trained to use symmetry and balance do not actually seek it out when we are looking at our favorite artworks but it is something that is there at the back of our minds playing its part.

What is Asymmetrical Balance?

On the flip side of symmetrical balance in art is asymmetrical balance. Asymmetrical balance is when the weight on one side of an image or composition is not equal to the weight on the other. What this does is add tension and interest to an image as our eyes move around trying to find the point of equilibrium.

It should be noted that asymmetrical balance is not a bad thing, in-fact it can often be more interesting as not everyone needs to see two halves that are mirror images of each other.

What is Symmetrical Balance in art? Examples and why it’s important (5)

Tips for creating your own piece of artwork that has symmetrical balance:

Here are some tips for creating symmetrical balance in art.

  1. Look at your artwork or design using a mirror. The mirror has an uncanny ability to show all the problems with balance and symmetry. Your brain will tell you if something is off with symmetry or balance.
  2. Create an imaginary center line that divides your composition in two. When everything on one side of the line is balanced with everything on the other side, then you have a symmetrical balance.
  3. Make sure all elements in your artwork are the same size and weight. This includes both lines and shapes, as well as any type or size of font you may be using. This does not mean that have to measure the same size but you need to balance one side with an equal amount of weight using colors, shapes, or lines.
  4. Use a grid to help you create accurate symmetry in your artwork or design. Grids can be very helpful for artists and designers who struggle with creating perfect symmetry.
  5. Don’t worry if your artwork is asymmetrical, if you aren’t looking for perfect symmetry you can still achieve balance using the techniques we discussed earlier.

What is Symmetrical Balance in art – wrap up!

As you can see, there are many ways to create symmetrical balance in art. You may want to experiment with different techniques and find what works best for your style of art. Balance is all about finding the right mix between symmetry and asymmetry that complements both composition and subject matter. Try out these methods to make sure your artwork has a sense of harmony!

(Video) Drawing vs Painting | Artwork with Symmetrical Balance

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FAQs

Why is symmetrical balance important? ›

With symmetrical balance, the visual weight is distributed evenly. You can draw a straight line through the middle of the design in any direction and the visual balance would be evenly distributed. This makes the composition appear stable and creates a more orderly look.

What is symmetrical balance in art examples? ›

Symmetrical balance is achieved in work of art when visual elements are arranged on both sides of a center line in equal weight. Symmetrical balance, also called formal balance, can be thought of as a mirror image of one half of a work of art on the other half.

What is the example of symmetrical balance? ›

A good example of symmetrical balance in nature is the human face. If you were to draw a line down the middle of your face, you would have two sides that have the exact same design.

What painting is a good example of symmetrical balance? ›

Symmetrical balance in art examples includes none other than the famous The Last Supper (1495-1498) by Leonardo da Vinci. In this painting, approximate symmetry is utilized, while most of the composition is equal in how the art elements are placed, there are differences here and there.

Is symmetry important in art? ›

It is when the elements of your painting or drawing balance each other out. Symmetry in art can refer to the balance of your subjects, the colors your use or even the composition techniques you employ in your artwork. Symmetry has the magic of making or breaking your masterpiece.

What is the importance of balance in an artwork? ›

Artists generally strive to create artwork that is balanced. A balanced work, in which the visual weight is distributed evenly across the composition, seems stable, makes the viewer feel comfortable, and is pleasing to the eye. A work that is unbalanced appears unstable, creates tension, and makes the viewer uneasy.

Why is asymmetrical balance important? ›

Asymmetrical balance is more dynamic and interesting. It evokes feelings of modernism, movement, energy and vitality. Asymmetrical balance offers more visual variety, although it can be more difficult to achieve because the relationships between elements are more complex.

What is balance in art explain it with example? ›

Balance in Art refers to the use of artistic elements such as line, texture, color, and form in the creation of artworks in a way that renders visual stability. Balance is one of the principles of organization of structural elements of art and design, along with unity, proportion, emphasis and rhythm.

What is balance explain it with example? ›

1 : a steady position or condition The gymnast kept her balance. 2 : something left over : remainder He spent the balance of his allowance. 3 : an instrument for weighing. 4 : a state in which things occur in equal or proper amounts a balance of work and fun. 5 : the amount of money in a bank account.

What is considered the most important art principle and why? ›

The sense of continuity or similarity across an artwork that creates a connection and a flow of intent is called harmony. It is the most important and a very versatile principles of art. Eg. Cubism Art Movement.

What are the examples of asymmetrical? ›

Asymmetry exists when the two halves of something don't match or are unequal. The American flag is an example of asymmetry. If you understand symmetry, you're on your way to understanding asymmetry.

Is the Mona Lisa symmetrical or asymmetrical? ›

In DaVinci's most famous painting, the Mona Lisa, details reveal that the background, as well as her face are not symmetrical. Art critics have implied that this is what has allowed the face of Mona Lisa to look so realistic and human and to become so famous throughout the past 500 years.

What are the importance of variety in art? ›

Variety is the principle of art that adds interest to an artwork. Variety works through juxtaposition and contrast. When an artist places different visual elements next to one another, he/she is using variety. Straight lines next to curvy lines add variety.

Why is balance important in principles of design? ›

The principles of design describe the ways that artists use the elements of art in a work of art. Balance is the distribution of the visual weight of objects, colors, texture, and space. If the design was a scale, these elements should be balanced to make a design feel stable.

Why is the Last Supper painting considered the best example of symmetrical balance? ›

Leonardo Da Vinci's The Last Supper is another great example of symmetrical balance, drawing upon a one-point perspective in which the vanishing point is somewhere behind and above Christ in the center of the painting. An equal number of figures can be seen on either side of Christ, six on each side.

What is the importance of rhythm in art? ›

Rhythm provides a path for the viewer's eye to follow in an artwork. Lines, shapes, color, brushstrokes, light, and space help the artist create this visual tempo.

Why is asymmetry important in art? ›

Compositions do not need to be completely symmetrical to appear balanced. Asymmetrical balance can be created through careful arrangement of visual weight within a work of art or design. Asymmetry gives the artist or designer a greater range of freedom and can be used to create more interesting and varied work.

What is an example of an asymmetrical balance design? ›

To create a successful asymmetrical design, you still need to figure out how to balance out the image. Vincent van Gogh's The Starry Night, for instance, uses a notable visual, the sun, in the top right, and balances it out with a dark cypress tree in the bottom left.

Why is symmetry important in architecture? ›

Symmetry helps bind various elements of a structure together into a single, unified whole. It is also commonly used to create a sense of rational order and calm logic, a favored aesthetic of the ancient Greeks and Romans.

What are 3 types of balance in art? ›

There are three different types of balance: symmetrical, asymmetrical and radial.

How do you use symmetry art in a painting or drawing? ›

How to Draw with Paint Symmetry - YouTube

What are some examples of balance exercises? ›

Examples of balance exercises include:
  • Standing with your weight on one leg and raising the other leg to the side or behind you.
  • Putting your heel right in front of your toe, like walking a tightrope.
  • Standing up and sitting down from a chair without using your hands.
  • Walking while alternating knee lifts with each step.
23 Nov 2020

How do we use balance in everyday life? ›

Just walking across the room or down the block requires good balance. So does rising from a chair, going up and down stairs, toting packages, and even turning to look behind you. And good balance helps prevent potentially disabling falls.

What are the 4 types of balance in art? ›

There are four main types of balance: symmetrical, asymmetrical, radial, and crystallographic.
  • Symmetrical Balance. Symmetrical balance requires the even placement of identical visual elements. ...
  • Asymmetrical Balance. ...
  • Radial Balance. ...
  • Crystallographic Balance.
30 Oct 2015

How is symmetrical balance used? ›

Symmetrical balance occurs when equal weights are on equal sides of a composition, balanced around a fulcrum or axis in the center. Symmetrical balance evokes feelings of formality (it's sometimes called formal balance) and elegance.

Why is asymmetrical balance important? ›

If both parts are different from each other, yet maintain a sense of balance, that means the designer has used asymmetric composition to create visual tension. In other words, asymmetrical balance comes into play when you have inequality between two sides of a picture, but the image still looks complete and sensible.

Why is symmetry important in architecture? ›

Symmetry helps bind various elements of a structure together into a single, unified whole. It is also commonly used to create a sense of rational order and calm logic, a favored aesthetic of the ancient Greeks and Romans.

How do you explain symmetrical balance? ›

Symmetrical balance occurs when you have two identical sides of a design with a central point of axis -- so if you cut the design in half, the left and right are mirror images of each other.

Why is symmetry important in graphic design? ›

It conveys a sense of balance, order, and harmony. And it helps us quickly absorb and make sense of visual information. That's why we're going to break down what you need to know about symmetry in graphic design—including what it entails, why it's so important, and creative uses for different types of symmetry.

What is balance in art explain with example? ›

Balance in Art refers to the use of artistic elements such as line, texture, color, and form in the creation of artworks in a way that renders visual stability. Balance is one of the principles of organization of structural elements of art and design, along with unity, proportion, emphasis and rhythm.

What are the examples of asymmetrical? ›

Asymmetry exists when the two halves of something don't match or are unequal. The American flag is an example of asymmetry. If you understand symmetry, you're on your way to understanding asymmetry.

Why is asymmetry important in art? ›

Compositions do not need to be completely symmetrical to appear balanced. Asymmetrical balance can be created through careful arrangement of visual weight within a work of art or design. Asymmetry gives the artist or designer a greater range of freedom and can be used to create more interesting and varied work.

What is considered the most important art principle and why? ›

The sense of continuity or similarity across an artwork that creates a connection and a flow of intent is called harmony. It is the most important and a very versatile principles of art. Eg. Cubism Art Movement.

What is an example of balance in design? ›

If you drew a line down the center of the page, all the visual elements on one side of the screen are mirrored on the other side. They don't have to be identical visual elements but can be similar in number, colour, shape and scale. When visual elements are equal in weight, they are said to be in balance.

What are the 4 types of symmetry in art? ›

While designers most often use the symmetrical balance, most painters tend to look towards the slight shifts that are available in inverted symmetry, near symmetry, biaxial symmetry, radial symmetry, and even asymmetry is used to place focus on one particular part or figure within the work.

What are the 3 basic types of symmetry? ›

Animals can be classified by three types of body plan symmetry: radial symmetry, bilateral symmetry, and asymmetry.

How do you use symmetry in design? ›

Symmetry in design takes place when symmetrical shapes or forms are used to create an image. For instance, in a reflectional symmetry, there are two identical sides to the design with a central point of axis. In other words, if you cut the design in half, the left and right sides will be mirroring each other.

What is the importance of rhythm in fine arts? ›

Rhythm provides a path for the viewer's eye to follow in an artwork. Lines, shapes, color, brushstrokes, light, and space help the artist create this visual tempo.

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