Basics of composition in graphic design part 2

Basics of composition in graphic design part 2

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Basics of composition in graphic design

Today we continue the story on basics of composition for graphic designers and photographers. We will talk about the dynamics and statics in the composition, of that there is a rhythm, to learn to slow down and speed up the movement. Then we will review what is the symmetry and asymmetry in the composition, and as equilibrium is achieved. And finally you will read about using of the rules of the composition in advertising.

Dynamics and statics in the image, movement and rhythm

Dynamic composition – a composition in which we have the impression of motion and internal dynamics. Static composition creates the impression of immobility.

dynamics and statics

Left image looks static. Right picture creates the illusion of movement. Why? Because we know very well from our own experience that will be with the round element, if we incline the surface on which it is located. And perceive this element on the picture as the moving element. Thus, for the transmission of motion in the composition we can use diagonal lines.

You can also transfer the motion, leaving a free space in front of a moving object to our imagination that may continue this movement.


The movement can be transmitted by sequentially display of some moments of this movement.

movement moments

Also, for the transmission of motion we can use a greased, blurred background and directional lines of the composition in the direction of motion of the object.

Statics in the composition is achieved by lack of diagonal lines, lack of free space in front of the object and the presence of vertical lines.

The movement can be slowed down or speeded up

slowing down and speeding up

It seems that the movement in the left picture faster than on the right. That is the way our brains is constructed. We read and write from left to right. And our movement is perceived easier from left to right. We can slow down the motion with presence of vertical lines in the composition.

slow down

The rhythm in the composition

The rhythm – one of the key moments in art. It can make the composition calm or nervous, aggressive or soothing. Rhythm is caused by repetition. We live in a world of different rhythms. This is the change of seasons, day and night, the stars, the sound of raindrops on the roof, rhythm of heart… In nature, the rhythm is uniform. But in art we can isolate rhythmic patterns, emphasize, resize, thereby giving the composition a special mood.

The rhythm in the visual arts can be created by repeating the colors, objects, spots of light and shadows.

rhythm in the composition

rhythm in the composition

rhythm in the composition

Symmetry and asymmetry in the composition, the attainment of equilibrium

The symmetry in the composition

As already mentioned, in the nature, a large number of visual images obey the low of symmetry. That is why the symmetry is easily perceived by us and in the composition. In the visual arts symmetry is achieved by a such placement of objects, that one part of the composition is like a mirror image of the other. The symmetry axis passes through the geometric center. Symmetrical composition serves to transmit peace, stability, reliability, and sometimes, majesty. However, we don’t need to create an absolutely symmetrical image. After all, in nature there is nothing perfect.


Symmetry – this is the easiest way to achieve balance in the composition. However, not only one.

Asymmetry, achieving of equilibrium

To understand what is the balance, we can imagine a mechanical scales.


In this case, the law of symmetry works. At the left and right scales equidistant symmetrically arranged two elements of the same shape and size. They create a balance. Asymmetry disrupts this balance. And if one of the objects is bigger, it is a simple way to outweigh the less.


However it is possible to balance these objects by adding to the composition anything as a counterweight. Asymmetry in this case remains:

ballanced asymmetry

Or, to achieve equilibrium in the asymmetry, we can outweigh a bigger element closer to the center:

ballanced asymmetry

Achieving of equilibrium is one of the most important stages in the construction of asymmetrical compositions, and often at the same time guided by an intuitive sense of balance. This feeling can be developed through a variety of exercises.

Equilibrium can be achieved by contrasting sizes, shapes, spots of color and shade. If you notice that some detail of the composition greatly outweighs all others, you can try to change the color, light, shape or balance it with any other object that is added to the opposite side.

The use of the rules of the composition in advertising

Proper presentation of information

To learn how to build complex compositional schemes, to express their thoughts, to transmit the idea of the work, develop a sense of unity and of equilibrium in addition to the base knowledgeof the composition, it is required a talent and many years of training. During the existence of fine art, artists, architects and photographers showed a huge amount of compositional schemes, utilizing a range of tools to achieve composition.

In addition to the complex artistic works, compliance with the rules of the composition is as important for the proper presentation of information in the advertisement. Whether you make an advertising snapshot of any product, place the graphic information on a site or a banner, provide a finished product to the customer for approval, you can not go without constructing of the composition.

The information provided must be in the center of the composite. For this purpose it is necessary to allocate one of the existing methods. Would be the best allocation of brightness. When submitting information, place a light object on a dark background, dark – on the contrary. Try not to use a mottled background, it can be distracting.

Do not forget about integrity. If case of multiple objects, do not place them randomly. It is best to arrange them in the form of simple geometric shapes. Try to keep a balance in this case. If an object should not be placed in the center, it is better to put it on the right to view moving toward him, as we read and view images, we left to right. Proper presentation of information – the key to success. Try to give it enough time and attention.

How to use the rules of the composition

Composition rules are not mandatory for compliance. Quite the contrary. Some rules contradict each other (for example, the transmission of motion and transfer the rest).

If a person’s face in the picture is rotated in any direction, you must leave a space on that side, to look not rested in the barrier. Valentin Serov in portrait Yermolova violates this rule of the composition, thereby creating the impression that the actress is looking at us right from the canvas.

Valentin Serov

Violation of the rules of the composition may be intended. Especially in such a precarious and complex industry like advertising. If we put a horizontal line in the packaging design of juice not by the rule of the golden section, but a little above, so, the juice pack will seem higher.

But before breaking any rule, it is necessary to know and be able to use it. Remember, if you break the rules, you must be aware of what you’re doing.

That’s it for today. In the locked form below you can find some composition tips.


composition tips



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