Art and Design

Typographic Design

Typography is a form of design we see all the time, for example in magazines, newspapers, leaflets, posters, websites and television programmes. Balance helps attract readers. It also helps to make the meaning clearer (in an unbalanced design, readers might ignore some parts of the page and miss important information).

In symmetrical design objects on either side of the design are very similar. In asymmetrical designs visual balance may be created by the density, colour, shape or position of objects (their visual ‘weight’).

One of the most interesting book designers in Wales is Olwen Fowler. Look at the pages from her designs for The Tradition: A New History of Welsh Art 1400-1990 by Peter Lord to see how you think they are balanced.

A balanced and proportionate layout designed by Olwen Fowler.

These pages are balanced symmetrically. There is an equal amount of text at the bottom and the two pictures are about the same size and placed in the same position.

A balanced and proportionate layout designed by Olwen Fowler.

These pages are balanced disproportionately. One side has a large photograph of a painting and the other has lots of text, an image and text in the margin. The visual weight of the two pages seems similar.


You will need a selection of books and magazines.

Look at different kinds of books and magazines.

  • Do you think there is balance between one side and the other?
  • How do the designers make the pages balance?
  • How does it affect the way you look at the things on the pages if they are balanced or unbalanced?

Extended task

You will need layout paper and drawing equipment or computers with design or word-processing packages.

Draw up your own pages with images and text to see how you can balance them. Work individually or in pairs.