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Balance and Harmony4:53 with Nick Pettit
Balance is how equal or unequal a visual appears. Harmony is when combined elements complement one another.
- Balance - The appearance of equality in a composition.
- Harmony - Instances where combined elements complement one another.
[MUSIC] 0:00 The elements of art and design are the fundamental building blocks of any visual, 0:04 and the principles of art and 0:09 design describe how the elements can be combined together. 0:11 The principles can be used to help describe a complete composition, 0:16 like a painting or 0:20 a website, rather than its individual components, like colors and shapes. 0:22 Let's start with two principles, balance and harmony. 0:27 Balance is how equal or unequal a visual appears. 0:31 You might have one side of a composition that has some shapes, colors, and 0:37 textures, and other elements represented. 0:41 And then the other side of the composition 0:44 might have a fairly equal set of those same elements. 0:46 This is called symmetrical balance, and it can create a sense of calm and stability. 0:51 Think about the facade of an Ancient Greek or Roman building. 0:57 The balance is almost always symmetrical, split down the middle. 1:02 And the buildings look formal, strong, and confident. 1:07 If two sides of a composition are not equal, 1:11 say one side has lots of shapes and colors, and 1:16 maybe the other side does not, this is called asymmetrical balance. 1:21 Asymmetrical balance may be desirable. 1:27 In some cases, especially in fine art, it might be your intention to create a sense 1:30 of uneasiness, as if the composition could topple over at any moment. 1:35 In this 1830s wood block print by the Japanese Ukiyo-e artist Hokusai, 1:41 this big wave on one side dominates the image. 1:46 And it's leaning over a bit, clearly about to topple over on these people. 1:51 They're definitely in the splash zone. 2:00 It inspires both wonder and fear of nature, 2:03 not just because of the subject matter, but 2:06 because of the way it is depicted as being stronger and bigger than us. 2:08 On a website marketing a service, you might be able to use this to present 2:14 a problem as chaotic and unmanageable, with your product 2:18 acting as a serene solution on the other side of the composition. 2:25 The next principle is harmony. 2:30 Similar to harmony in music, this is when combined elements complement one another. 2:33 You might have some similar shapes that feel like they go together like two puzzle 2:39 pieces. 2:43 And as we saw previously, 2:44 there are many harmonies that can be found when combining colors on the color wheel. 2:46 It can create a sense of completeness, and make a piece feel whole. 2:50 Like two rhyming words, 2:55 harmony can be powerful when you're attempting to persuade an audience, 2:57 because it can make your ideas have a stronger sense of belonging. 3:01 This is very useful when creating landing pages on websites and apps. 3:06 This principle can be one of the most difficult to grasp, because it's hardly 3:10 ever one thing that makes a composition appear to be harmonious, but 3:15 a confluence of things working together. 3:19 Take a look at this painting by Paul Cezanne, 3:22 one of the most famous French post-Impressionists, from around 1885. 3:25 The red cherries have a color complement present in this green jug. 3:30 The orange and 3:36 red peaches are complemented by the green and blues in the background. 3:38 There is warm tones in the food on the left and right side, and 3:44 cool tones everywhere else, giving a sense of balance. 3:48 The circular or elliptical shape of the food is echoed 3:54 by the shape of the plates that they're sitting on, and the chaotic lines of 3:59 the cherry stems are present in the folds of the cloth. 4:04 And if you just sort of pause the video and look at this image for a minute or 4:10 two, and just let your eyes wander to whatever looks most interesting to you, 4:14 you might start to notice more things in this composition 4:19 that feel like they work together. 4:22 In fact, this painting is so harmonious, you might even think this picture 4:24 is pretty boring, because it just looks like it belongs. 4:29 But imagine, instead of cherries, that this was a big plate of broccoli. 4:33 It would throw off the whole balance of the cool and warm tones. 4:38 The complements wouldn't be there anymore. 4:42 The shapes wouldn't be repeated anymore. 4:45 And it just wouldn't work quite as well. 4:47 That's the essence of harmony. 4:50
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