Beginning Digital DesignDesign PrincipleBalanceAssignmentLetterform Abstraction Instructor: Po-Chi Chu
BalanceDefinition: Balance refers to the equal distribution ofweight or force among visual units.You can use either negative or positive shapes tocreate an equilibrium among compositional units,regardless of variations in their size, weight or shape.
When physical objects are of equal weight, they are inbalance. Visual balance works in much the same way.However, the visual weight can be affected not only bythe size of objects, but also their values, texture, colorsand shapes.Visual Weight refers to: the inclination of shapes to float or sink; the relative importance of visual units within a design.
Types of Balance1. Symmetrical Balance: occurs when shapes aremirrored on either side of an axis (i.e., vertically dividedor horizontally divided).
Types of Balance2. Asymmetrical Balance: creates an equilibriumamong visual elements that do not mirror each other oneither side of the axis.
Symmetrical Balance in 3-DThe Taj Mahal in India and Saint Peter’s Basilica inthe Vatican are both built symmetrically.(Taj Mahal, India) (Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican)
Variations on SymmetryApproximate symmetry is created when similarimagery appears on either side of a central axis. (Student work/FSU, 2006)
Variations on SymmetryHere are more examples of approximate symmetry.(Example 2 also demonstrates inverted symmetry.) Example 1 Example 2
Variations on SymmetryWhen design elements are mirrored both vertically andhorizontally, with the center of the composition actingas a focal point, it is called radial symmetry. Tibetan Mandala, early 13th century
Asymmetrical BalanceAsymmetrical balance can be quite stable, verydynamic or nearly chaotic; it depends on the degree ofasymmetry. You can use the following simple strategiesto create asymmetrical balance.STABLE VERY DYNAMIC NEARLY CHAOTIC
Strategies for Asymmetrical Balance1. Place a large shape in the center with a small shape farther away.
Strategies for Asymmetrical Balance2. Multiple small shapes placed together can balance a large shape.
Strategies for Asymmetrical Balance3. A solid, small shape can balance a large, open shape.
Strategies for Asymmetrical Balance4. A textured shape placed near the fulcrum can balance a distant open shape.
Add Boundary to Asymmetrical BalanceAsymmetry becomes evenmore interesting when aboundary is added.The negative shape will playan important role, and morecomplex composition can beachieved. The boundarymakes the imagery seemsymmetrical.
Balance Is Constantly ChangingBalance in a composition changes each time a visualelement is added or removed.
• ObjectiveUnderstand the design principles of unity and balancethrough the use of letterform.• Problem to SolveYou will create a design based on the abstraction of theinitials of your first and last names. The placement andjuxtaposition of the two letters and the specific choice ofthe type will help you to develop the ability to createunique shapes using the principles of unity and balance.
• Steps (Adobe Illustrator)1. Use two letters (your initials) for this exercise. The end result will be a design you could apply to your own brand or logo in the future.2. Create a new document with an artboard of 4 inches by 6 inches.3. Choose a specific typeface. Both letters must use the same typeface in 72 pts.4. After you type the letters, choose the Select tool to select the letters.
• Steps (Adobe Illustrator) Cont.5. Go to Type and choose “Create the outline”. This step will specify the letters you typed as the object/path (shape) for further manipulation.6. While the letters are still highlighted, go to Object, then choose “Ungroup”. Now, you should have two individual shapes to manipulate with the Pen tool (P), the Direct Selection tool (A) or the Object Transform function.
• Steps (Adobe Illustrator) Cont.7. Arrange and distort the letters to make them interesting. After you have completed the design, scale the design larger than 4 inches by 6 inches on your artboard. Group the letters together.8. Create a 4 inch by 6 inch rectangle with the white fill and 1pt black stroke. Move the rectangle on top of the letter design. Change the opacity of the rectangle to 80%. You should be able to see through the rectangle now.
• Steps (Adobe Illustrator) Cont.9. Next, move and rotate the design you have created. You will compose a partial design that is both balanced and visually interesting within the 4 inch by 6 inch rectangle.10. Now select all the objects on the artboard. Check the Layer palette to ensure the rectangular shape is above the other designs.
• Steps (Adobe Illustrator) Cont.11. Go to Object and choose Clipping Mask, then Make. The design sitting outside the rectangle will become invisible, and only the part that was inside the “mask” will remain.12. Save the file as letterform**.ai for future use.