What Is Radial Balance? How to Use It in Art and Design - Upsmag - Magazine News

What Is Radial Balance? How to Use It in Art and Design

There are many ways to compose your art, designs, or photos. If you’re stuck in a composition rut, looking into other ways of balancing your work is a no-brainer. Radial balance is a great method of composition, regardless of your creative medium.

Learn some art theory while looking at examples of different ways you can use radial balance in your work. Let’s dive right in.


What Is Radial Balance?

Radial balance, otherwise known as radial symmetry or formal balance, is a type of composition. Radial balance is symmetry or balance in multiple directions and has a clear central focal point that extends outwards toward other elements.

It doesn’t mean everything has to be perfectly symmetrical, but the piece should feel naturally balanced and harmonized from the center. Radially balanced designs are usually circular but can take on other shapes as well.

You can use radial balance alongside other principles of design: emphasis, repetition, movement, proportion, perspective, contrast, and harmony.

Radial Balance in Nature

Radial balance is organically found within nature. If you’ve photographed flowers up close or taken a macro shot of a halved orange, for example, you’d have focused on the radial balance of these organic elements. Spider webs and snail shells are some more great examples.

We see radial balance in nature daily, and it’s a great way to get inspired. We also see it in human-made objects all the time; bicycle wheels, spiral staircases, and umbrellas, to name a few.

How Radial Balance Is Used in Art and Design

There are countless ways to include radial balance in art and design. Sometimes it may be an unconscious decision, a happy accident, or a planned attempt at composition.

radial balance can be created in many ways, including with digital mediums; you can draw in perfect symmetry with Photoshop, Illustrator, Procreate, and more.

Radial Balance Art Examples

For some examples of radial balance in art and design, just look at the world around you. You will find circular patterns in architecture or cultural designs and artifacts that you see every day.

Mandalas are often found in regions that practice Hinduism and Buddhism. Traditionally, they are created to be temporary and often made in circular patterns of colored sand.

You can also find mandalas painted or drawn with chalk, and often added as part of intricate Henna designs for Mehndi celebrations. Mandalas are a representation of the universe and one’s spiritual journey.

Architects may use radial balance in designs that form internal parts of their structures. Look for stairs, chandeliers, or artistic windows in churches.

You may not always experience radial balance until you can view it from a different perspective. Try looking down from the top of a spiral staircase to truly be at one with radial balance art.

How to Use Radial Balance in Photography

Every photographer knows that great composition is the key to a visually pleasing photo. There are many principles of composition you should follow to get the best shot. Photos with radial balance often come from impeccable timing and unique perspectives. Experiment with different angles to get the perfect radial symmetry.

You’ll find radial balance from angles you don’t see every day. A drone with a camera can give you access to views that many people don’t get to see—like birds’ eye views of circular mazes, parks, or roundabouts.

Macro photography is another way to get a very focused radial balance in a photo. Macro images are a great way to show nature and natural radial patterns. Use a macro lens for your camera, or you can use an iPhone for macro shots.

To get the full radial balance effect, you should aim for a central focal point, even if the rest of the image isn’t symmetrical. Photographing this composition might feel unnatural if you’re used to shooting with the rule of thirds.

Balance Your Compositions With Radial Symmetry

Having a central focus point is a great way to invite more eyes to your creative work. Whether the radial center is the star of the show or simply a way to accentuate leading lines towards the outer edges of your work, radial balance is a great composition technique to use. You can focus on colors or textures in artwork, or take photos of unexpected radial magic.

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