Asymmetry is a form of compositional balance achieved when elements within the frame are not visually equal.
It sounds strange, I know but we are talking about visual weight here, not physical weight. Let me explain...
When arranging elements within a frame, a common approach is to place items equally on both sides or top to bottom. This creates a symmetrical, graphic design that appears very stable and calm.
Now consider the opposite, what happens when you place elements unequally within your composition? Well, if you try it willy-nilly, it might look a bit weird, so let's take a look at how to create beautiful asymmetrical compositions.
Firstly the concept of 'Visual Weight' needs to be considered. This refers to the amount of visual attention an element in the frame receives. It is usually achieved by variations in the element's size, or colour, texture, shape and so on.
For example, the shadow in the image below attracts the eye because it is bigger and contrasting to other elements in the frame.
It is important to remember that asymmetry is a form of composition that still must remain balanced. We achieve balance by judging the visual weight of elements and matching their visual interest with each other.
Asymmetrical compositions are challenging to create but very rewarding in the interest they can create. To help you on your way, remember to;
- Weight is achieved by the amount of contrast in shape, colour or texture, size etc between elements in your frame.
- Practice looking at elements and judging their 'visual weight'.
- Find balance by matching large with small or lesser visual weight.