A Beginner’s Guide to Symmetry in Graphic Design

Ilfusion Creative
4 min readMay 24, 2023
A Beginner’s Guide to Symmetry in Graphic Design

Symmetry is an aspect of design where objects, lines, and shapes are arranged in a balanced way. It can work both directly and subtly, allowing designers to create art that looks balanced and visually appealing.

However, if you’re just starting out in graphic design, understanding and using symmetry can be a bit tricky. This guide will help you get familiar with the concept of symmetry and how to incorporate it into your designs.

Symmetry vs. Asymmetry: How Do They Benefit Design?

Symmetry and asymmetry are two types of design that can be used to create visual interest:

  • Symmetrical design focuses on balance and creating an overall sense of order. It’s often used to create a calm and peaceful atmosphere.
  • Asymmetrical design emphasizes contrast and disruption. It can be used to create drama, tension, and movement.

Both can be used in different ways to achieve the desired effect. Used separately or combined, they can create visually interesting brand designs that evoke emotion and prompt customers to your desired action, such as making an inquiry or buying your products.

Fundamental Elements of a Balanced Composition

Balance refers to the equal distribution of visual weight in an image. It can be achieved by positioning design elements in an orderly and symmetrical way. A balanced composition is comprised of the following elements:

1. Lines: Horizontal and vertical lines create an overall sense of balance and symmetry, which can be used to enhance your design.

  • Horizontal: A line that runs from the left edge of the page to the right.
  • Vertical: A line that runs from the top of the page to the bottom.

2. Shapes/geometry: Shapes like circles, squares, and triangles provide structure and lend visual appeal to a composition.

3. Colors: Different colors evoke different emotions and create visual interest. Using complementary or analogous colors will help draw the eye to certain points of your design.

4. Space: Negative space helps create balance and proportion. It also highlights important elements of your design and allows viewers to focus on the main content.

5. Texture: Textures can add depth and dimension to your design. Rough textures often make objects look tactile, while soft textures create a calming and peaceful atmosphere.

Different Types of Symmetrical Arrangement Styles

Symmetry can be used in various ways to create a balanced, visually appealing composition. Here are some of the most common:

1. Mirror Image Symmetry

Mirror image, reflection, or bilateral symmetry is one of the most common forms of symmetry used in design. This type of symmetry is created by placing two objects that are exact replicas of each other on each side of the composition. It’s typically used to convey a sense of balance and peace.

Image courtesy of Tessa Portuese via Dribbble

2. Rotational Symmetry

Rotational or radial symmetry is created by rotating an object around its axis. This type of symmetry is often used to create patterns or designs that have a sense of movement or flow. It also conveys energy and a sense of dynamism.

Image courtesy of Lauren Dickens via Dribbble

3. Translational Symmetry

Translation symmetry is created by shifting objects to a certain degree in order to create patterns and other visual effects. This type of symmetry is often used to create a sense of depth and movement.

Image courtesy of Bailey Sullivan via Dribbble

Quick Tips for Incorporating Symmetry into Your Brand Designs

There are no hard-and-fast rules on how to incorporate symmetry into your design. However, here are some quick tips that will help you get started:

1. Establish the mood and overall message

The brand message and the mood you’re aiming for will help in determining the right kind of symmetry for your design. A few things to keep in mind:

  • Mirror image symmetry: best for creating a sense of balance and peace
  • Rotational symmetry: best for conveying energy and dynamism
  • Translational symmetry: best for conveying movement and depth

2. Create a hierarchy of elements

To create an effective symmetrical composition, it’s important to establish a hierarchy of elements. This helps draw the eye to the most important details, such as the call-to-action (CTA) and brand message.

3. Create visual interest with contrast and texture

On a related note, contrasting elements can help create visual interest and help draw the eye to specific parts of your design. Textures can also add depth and dimension to an otherwise flat composition.

4. Pay attention to proportions

Pay attention to the size and placement of elements in your composition. Proportion is key for creating a visually balanced design, so make sure all elements are in the correct scale and position.

Symmetry, along with color, texture, space, and shape, can be used to create visually engaging designs that aid in achieving your marketing and overall business goals. For more graphic design tips, check out our blog at https://www.ilfusion.com/blog.

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Ilfusion Creative

Ilfusion Inc. is a full-service creative agency located in Fort Worth, TX with talents in web, design, video, social media and marketing consultation.