20 April 2011

symmetry and balance

i fell in love with radiolab in 2006. every one of their episodes is so inspiring and really makes you think... and inspired people that think tend to do interesting things. one of their latest shows is on symmetry. along with their usual podcast they also have a cool video (embedded above). well, today i loaded the podcast to my ipod and decided to listen to it during my run. i was hoping for something inspiring and radiolab never disappoints. one minute into the video it clicked to me: symmetry is about halves... symmetry is about balance... symmetry is about order. symmetry is good in design because it makes evident the need for the other half. just as we look for someone that is our other half, our soulmate, we look for products that are our other halves. products with good soul-matting potential (symmetry, balance, order) are easier to assimilate and to engage with.
but what about layouts that are not symmetrical but are still engaging? well, it all comes down to balance. the more i think about it the more i think that balance is the main attribute here and symmetry is just a type of balance. symmetry can be a more linear, static type of balance... asymmetry, focal points and other groupings are dynamic types of balance. whenever i think about relationships between products and users i realize that it's all about balance. [good] designs are effective extensions of ourselves. they provide us balance in situations where we would feel unbalanced otherwise.

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