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Balance Around the Optical Center

The optical center of a rectangular region—the place where a viewer's eye spends most of its time—is slightly above the geometric center. (This is why mat board for photographs and artwork is usually slightly wider at the bottom.) Balance can be achieved through either symmetric balance (equal weights in all directions from optical center), or asymmetric balance ("heavier" elements near the center are balanced by "lighter" elements farther away), to different effect. Symmetric balance produces a stable, calming effect. It can be used for entire layouts, or as a soothing background for more challenging material. Asymmetric balance becomes progressively more dynamic as one alters the weights in the horizontal, vertical, and diagonal directions, respectively.