Rhythm & Balance
From page 29:
Balance and rhythm work together to create works of design that pulse with life, achieving both stability and surprise.
Such a simple statement, and a simple concept, yet can be so hard to execute. The importance of good balance and rhythm is one of those things you don’t notice (or at least I don’t) unless it’s really bad. A design can look nice as far as all the beautifully crafted elements, but if the balance is off or the rhythm is lacking, it’s uncomfortable to look at and I likely think “I’m confused; something’s not right here.”
One of my struggles (and for others, I’m sure) is when I notice something I’m making is off balance, I try to add something to the part that is lacking… when sometimes it would be better to take away something from the “heavy” part. When I keep trying to add more and more to balance it out, the rhythm is lost and it’s just a big mess. The viewer’s eye goes everywhere and focuses on nothing of importance. The message is lost.
At that point, I tend to either trash the whole thing and start anew, or go back and do what I should have done in the first place: start removing anything that isn’t vital.
Just a silly anecdote: I have a family friend who loves to collect “tchotchkes”. And she would always buy and add more to her collections to even out both of her couch’s end tables, for example. “This side has a big lamp, so I need to put something big on the other side.” That sort of thing. And then she’ll just keep adding more and more everywhere. But it’s just chaos and people tend not to notice any of her nice things because there is so much to look at. It’s all a-jumble. It wasn’t until she moved to a smaller home and started having to get rid of things and be more selective about what would be on display that she had to stop and really think about what one or two items she can add or remove from an area to help balance it out. I just thought that was an excellent example of really having to focus on only what is necessary and working with that to create a balance in the room.
That focus can get lost sometimes the deeper I get into a project. I have to remember to step back and look at the whole thing. Make sure my eye is going where it needs to go within the design. Make sure I’m not just inundated with chaos.