Bookmark Design: Balance and Line

The is the bookmark I made for line, and as you can see, it’s made with a specific type of line, broken lines as linear marks. Linear marks are one of the most common types of lines seen in design, and I chose broken lines to add a bit of versatility. The prompt asked the design to be as simple as possible, so I made these lines point in the same direction, without mixing horizontal and diagonal lines. I chose to fill the page with these lines and also have equal spaces between them because that creates unity, and the effect is mosaic balance, the element of balance chaos. To put even more versatility while keeping the simplicity, I decided to add colors from green, one by one down the color wheel to blue.

I think a strength of this bookmark is that it somewhat looks like a legit design, and successfully demonstrated the design element of the line that it’s supposed to. I also think that the compact and large number of lines didn’t look that messy. A weakness of this design is that I think I didn’t control well the balance of the number of white lines to the color lines, as there is a very eye-catching piece of bland with three while lines in a row in the center. I think I could have done better on that by coloring in one more line so it looks complete. Another weakness of this design is that the people looking at it might not realize the specific design element by their first glance. Because this design could also be about colors as well as balance; so I could have done better on the emphasis of line.

This is the bookmark I made for balance, and whenever I hear the word balance, the first thing that comes to mind is Yin Yang, where this design took inspiration from. From the idea of Yin Yang, I first created two equally sized rectangle blocks, one black, and one white. After putting them together, I decided that this design was going to be created using asymmetrical balance, meaning that what I put on the black side will reflect its way across the middle line of the design. Then, I created three rectangular blocks on each side, and that makes the final product. The unequal spaces between the rectangles are being made intentional because when I tried with the gaps being equal, the design looked over-balanced. I didn’t like the look because it seemed to lack the design feel to it, because it looked duller. Another reason I chose this design is that it is able to show two different types of balance. First, the shapes of the two sides are able to show symmetrical balance, as the shapes, with disregard to the colors, reflect across the middle line. From the colors, asymmetrical balance because the colors are in fact not the same on both sides of the middle line, but the heavier visual weight with black on white is balanced with the white on black on the left.

I think a strength of this design is that it’s a good demonstration of contrast, with relatively balanced visual weight on both sides of the composition. It also presents two different types of balance as a design principle and achieves the requirement of being simple. A weakness of this is that it could be easily mistaken for contrast as the white and black pieces stand out from their background, maybe I could have done something more typical to show an obvious example of balance.

Balance:

  • A balanced composition feels right. It feels stable and aesthetically pleasing. While some of its elements might be focal points and attract your eye, no one area of the composition draws your eye so much that you can’t see the other areas. A balanced composition arranges both positive elements and negative space in such a way that no one area of the design overpowers other areas. Everything works together and fits together in a seamless whole. The individual parts contribute to their sum but don’t try to become the sum.
  • Symmetrical balance occurs when equal weights are on equal sides of a composition, balanced around a fulcrum or axis in the center. Symmetrical balance evokes feelings of formality (it’s sometimes called formal balance) and elegance. A wedding invitation is a good example of a composition that you’d likely want to be symmetrically balanced.
  • Asymmetrical balance results from the unequal visual weight on each side of the composition. One side of the composition might contain a dominant element, which could be balanced by a couple or more lesser focal points on the other side. One visually heavy element on one side might be balanced by a handful of lighter elements on the other.
  • Radial balance occurs when elements radiate from a common center. Rays of sunlight and ripples in a pond after a stone is tossed in are examples of radial balance. Maintaining a focal point (fulcrum) is easy because it’s always the center.

Lines:

  • Lines are often the starting point for all artistic expression, the line is also one of the most essential elements in the design. It always has more length than thickness, and can be broken, unbroken, or implied. A line could be vertical, diagonal, curved, or horizontal. A line in design could lead to other principles, such as stacking lines to form texture.
  • Linear marks are paths traced by the moment of a single point. Theoretically, it has no width as it then becomes a shape. In visual arts practice, we can consider the most basic example of a line the simple linear mark made by a pen, brush, or pencil.
  • A Boundary line is the meeting of two sharply defined shapes produces a boundary line. This differs from our first example in that it is implied by the contrast between the two shapes and relies on the shapes for their existence.

Implied Lines – Caravaggio (1571-1610), “The Inspiration of Saint Matthew” 1602

  • An implied line is shown in this painting by Caravaggio, a powerful line runs down the robe of the angel, into the figure below and down the curve of his back. This powerful unifying element doesn’t really exist but is implied by the thrust of smaller lines in the painting. These repeated curves add up to an implied line with more power and impact than any of the smaller individual curves.

This design task is about creating a simple design that emphasizes the specific principle and element that we were given, and to be more specific, this task is about creating two bookmarks each with each classmate in charge of different design elements & design principles, so when these bookmarks are printed out, we are able to have a collection of pieces for each design elements and principles. In the future, these simple examples of each would help guide us in applying them.

Citations

Lovett, John. “Design Element Line: John Lovett Design.” John, www.johnlovett.com/line.

Bradley, Steven. “Design Principles: Compositional, Symmetrical And Asymmetrical Balance.” Smashing Magazine, 29 June 2015, www.smashingmagazine.com/2015/06/design-principles-compositional-balance-symmetry-asymmetry/.