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Interval and Dynamism/ Symmetry and Asymmetry
Fighting the tendency of two-dimensional form to feel static—in an awkward state of inertia—is always challenging. A static visual condition usually results when positive and negative elements appear optically equal; when positive forms have similar mass or presence, when spatial intervals are of similar shape and size, and when these spaces also appear about the same size as the positive forms. Positive and negative need not be physically the same shape to appear equal in presence, so it is necessary to evaluate the aggregate mass of each, independent of their specific shapes.
The simplest strategies for ensuring dynamic composition, then, focus on enforcing differences in the variables of proportion and interval—larger versus smaller; verticality versus horizontality; cluster and overlap versus tight proximity or generous spacing between elements; and linearity versus mass /A /.
Even when participating in an asymmetrical structure, multiple forms situated around similar spatial intervals create static interaction. Altering the intervals between form elements /E /, or between elements and format edges /F, G /, creates a dynamic composition. The movement of the eye is enhanced as these intervals exhibit greater contrast with each other, becoming compressed or expanding with a directional thrust. Symmetrical arrangements inherently confront the designer with a potentially static condition because the spatial intervals and shapes surrounding the material that is organized around the symmetrical axis are the same. To counteract this problem (in a bilaterally summetrical, vertical format, for instance), a designer may look to: exaggerate lateral width, spacing, and vertical emphasis changes /B/ as well as differences in vertical intervals; unexpectedly interrupt a repetition of intervals /C /; or violate the symmetry by shifting an element out of its mirrored relationship with corresponding elements across the axis /D/.