What Is Balance in Art And Why Does It Matter?

If you’re an artist or just getting started in the world of art and design, chances are you’ve heard the term “balance” pop up here and there.

It’s a very simple yet important concept. When done right, it can take your art projects to the next level.

So what exactly is balanced, and why does it even matter? Let’s find out!

What Is Balance?

Balance in art is the using and organizing of artistic elements to create visual stability. It’s one of the main pillars of the structural element organization of art. These include proportion, unity, rhythm, emphasis, and others.

Compositional balance is different from physical balance. Artists don’t necessarily need to arrange artistic elements around a center to create balance. The arrangement is only one part of the equation.

Why Is Balance Important in Art?

Balance in design and art is essential for creating a sense of stability in the artwork’s composition. It also makes the viewer more comfortable because the artwork is more pleasing to the eye. In other words, a balanced artwork will make you want to look twice.

By varying the weight of different elements, artists can manipulate their artwork to draw attention to specific parts.

See also: What Is Perspective in Art?

Types of Balance

There are multiple types of balance, which include:

Symmetrical Balance

As its name implies, symmetrical balance is when the visual weight on each side of the vertical or horizontal axis of your composition is the same. It’s just like looking at yourself in the mirror.

Symmetrical artworks are very appealing and simple at the same time.

Asymmetrical Balance

Asymmetrical balance is the exact opposite of symmetrical balance. Instead of relying on symmetry to balance a composition, the visual weight on each side of the axis isn’t the same, creating a sense of asymmetry.

Artists use this type of balance to draw attention to a specific focal point that’s very important from their point of view.

Radial Symmetry

Radial symmetry is another type of symmetrical balance where the symmetry is created by arranging the elements around a central point rather than an axis. Radial symmetry has a strong focal point that effortlessly draws the attention of the viewer.

Crystallographic Balance

Crystallographic balance, also referred to as mosaic balance, is a type of balance where most of the elements in the artwork are given equal visual weight.

As opposed to symmetrical balance, mosaic balance is more about combining various elements into a whole instead of achieving a symmetrical pattern. This results in the viewer seeing the artwork as a whole rather than multiple elements.

Read also: What Colors Make Brown?

Elements That Impact the Balance of an Artwork

Some of the  elements used to achieve balance in an artwork include:


Textured parts or shapes of your artwork will have more weight than non-textured parts.


There are 3 variables that come together to give a particular color a visual weight, which are saturation, value, and hue.

Saturation gives colors more intensity, which translates to a heavier visual weight. Value, on the other hand, increases as the color gets darker, which also gives its visual weight a boost.

Hue determines the warmness of a color, where colors get a higher visual weight the warmer they are. Cool colors, on the flip side, hold a lower visual weight.

Transparency also plays a role here, but it’s not as significant as the other 3 factors. Nevertheless, opaque colors hold more visual weight than transparent or semi-transparent colors.


Thicker lines tend to weigh more visually than thinner ones.


Placing the elements of a piece of art near the corners of the canvas gives them more visual weight, as opposed to center items.

In addition, elements can be balanced along an axis of any orientation, including horizontal, vertical, and even diagonal axes.

It’s also worth noting that background elements tend to create a balancing effect with foreground elements.


Certain shapes have more visual weight than the others. Complex shapes such as pentagons and trapezoids hold more visual weight than simpler shapes like triangles. Similarly, squares have more weight than circles, triangles, and other simple shapes.

Size also plays a key role here. Larger shapes tend to catch the attention of the viewer and thus, have more visual weight. Nevertheless, placing multiple small shapes together creates a similar effect.

See also: Things to Draw When Bored

Final Thoughts

That was a quick overview of what balance is, why you should care about it, the different types of balance, and the elements used in creating balance.

World-renowned artists make the best use of balance to convey certain emotions and messages in their pieces of art. It’s undoubtedly an essential concept to master if you’re serious about art.

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