Elements of Style: Balance

One of the principles of design in any artistic venue is balance.   The two types of balance are called formal and informal.  The difference?  Whether the “weight” of the picture is balanced evenly across the image, with a matching motif on each side, or informal balance, where a lot of “weight” on one side is balanced by a small but crucial element on the other.

Some examples:clip_image0121

How do you respond to these images, viscerally?  Most people consider one or the other of these types of balance mildly repellent.  Either formal balance is “boring” or informal balance is “messy” – and the other just looks right.


It’s important to know which of these sets of balance that you respond to, because the formality of your preferred balance is something that comes through all your aesthetics, and that visceral response affects which outfits you feel comfortable in.  Balance is one of the ways in which you can manipulate corporate dress code expectations – you can feel so much more like yourself if you’re wearing the design characteristics that suit you, no matter the rules that you need to follow on the job.

Wearing the wrong balance, contrariwise, is a great way to feel like you’re wearing someone else’s clothing.

Homework assignment:  Pick one.

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