Balance in art refers to how different elements are arranged in a composition.

Every element has a visual weight. How ‘heavy’ it looks depends on the following:

  • Position – the further from the centre of a composition the heavier
  • Shape – complex shapes feel heavier than simple shapes
  • Colour – bright, intense colours feel heavier than pale, muted colours
  • Size – larger elements feel heavier than small elements
  • Quantity – increasing the number of elements gives a greater combined visual weight
  • Texture – complex, detailed textures tend to be heavier.

We tend to find balanced compositions more visually pleasing and comforting. Unbalanced compositions can make us feel uneasy.

Artists and designers often consider the placement of elements within a design or artwork to ensure it is well-balanced and aesthetically pleasing. One of the simplest ways to do this is by using symmetry.