MOVEMENT and BALANCE – Issues for Design -5

Post 609 by Gautam Shah



Movement is perceived as a shift in visual attention, but often it is due to the aberrations of other sensorial perceptions. We are conditioned in perceiving things in certain position, sequence, and pace in time-space reference. Whenever, a shift is noticed, it signifies a direction of movement, or chaos. A movement or shift is perceived in objects or images. Movements seem balanced, if are directional but of a consistent pace. Movement of objects have intrinsic changes, or reflect a change in reference to other objects that are stationary, moving at another pace or in different directions. Movement in images represent the ‘perceptible’ sequence of change, in reference to the frame or as interlude or gap between the images.


Curved wall & curved edges at top > Wall Pavilion in Zwinger Dresden Germany > Wikipedia image by Kolossos

Movements in design are used to indicate the static and non static states of components and directions. The movement across objects in space are perceived, due to the scale (size, weight, mass), gradations of sensorial perceptions (hot-cold, bright-dark, rough-smooth), proximity (background-foreground), interest (of purpose or function), confirmation (to natural forces like gravity, magnetism), form, preconception or premonition, etc.


Building in Ramot Polin Jerusalem Israel > Wikipedia image by Nehemia G


Movements in design are explored to give dynamism to the form and composition of the object. The dynamism makes an element stand out in an otherwise static scene. The indication of movement gives a sense of direction and is useful in ‘de-shaping’ or reshaping the form through a perceptive aberrance. The movement dynamism is also created by going against the perceived notions. The cubism, impressionistic works and Deconstructivism operate on this premise. In art and architecture the movement have been with overwhelming visual reference, but performing arts like dance, drama, mimes etc. do try to break out of the spatial limitations of performance space through non-visual clues.


Bradshaw rock paintings in Kimberley region W Australia > Wikipedia image by TimJN1

 The movement of images were first created in primitive cave arts where over deep and dark walls the drawn images were superimposed with shadows of dancers of a little lamp. This was aided by the shimmer over the oil-glossy surface. The enaction through sounds heightened the effect. Here the visual and other sensorial effects were merged to form the movements in images. Modern buildings use the shine over water, glass and other surfaces, mirror effects, acoustical surface treatments, skylights, strobe lights, conditioned and controlled air movements, vibrations of surface and object.


The Scream ART by Edvard Munch (1863-1944) > Wikipedia image


Unequal balance House designed by Gerrit Rietveld  Utrecht, Netherlands > Wikipedia image

 Movement and balance are opposite as well as complimenting effects. Balance is not necessarily a static state, but one that persists and does not force one to imagine the next state. Balance and un-balance both could be contrived effects. If balance creates lesser sequential expectations, then an unbalanced situation offers ‘a continuing saga’. An object could be axially balanced, well distributed mass, proportionate form, gravity compliant shape.


Taj Mahal Agra India -a balanced structure > Wikipedia image by Subhrajyoti


Art & Architecture Building Yale University -Asymmetrical form > Wikipedia image by Sage Ross

For images one of the simplest tools for balance has been the positioning of the ‘ground line’. In films and videos a scene is balanced by acknowledging and placing the ground line (horizon) below the half-frame mark. Moving from left to right sides of the frame is preferred (this perhaps could be different for people used to reading-writing right to left). Symmetry is another aspect of balance. It is used in architecture, to provide a form that is safe, stable and assuring. Asymmetrical balance requires design skills as it involves exploiting many clues simultaneously. Objects or images with asymmetrical makeup have strong affinity to movement. Asymmetry and movement occur concurrently.


Yoyogi National Gymnasium Tokyo By Kenzo Tange > Wikipedia + Flickr image by Yoyogi Tokyo Japan


One of the most familiar asymmetrical forms that we have been using are the letters of the alphabet. But here again some consistencies occur through traditions of writing (or sculpting-forming), tools (pens, brushes, points, etc.), medium (Papyrus, pal-leaf, parchments, paper, fabrics, etc.). To these modern technologies such as of font composition, printing, reduction-enlargement, graphical manipulations, etc. can be added.


Devianart image > Singers rappers fonts by


Maya stucco glyphs Mexico > Wikipedia image by Kwamikagami


This is the 5 th article of 20 topics series on ISSUES for DESIGN

4 thoughts on “MOVEMENT and BALANCE – Issues for Design -5

  1. Pingback: Links to Blogs on ISSUES of DESIGN | Interior Design Assist

  2. Pingback: BLOGS LINKS about PERCEPTION | Interior Design Assist

  3. Pingback: BLOG links for Articles on BALANCE and MOVEMENTS | Interior Design Assist

  4. Pingback: ISSUES of DESIGN -List of 34 Blog articles | Interior Design Assist

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