Our last blog on symmetry focused on scientific research that has shown that we humans, and in fact other primates, respond positively to symmetrical design. But you didn’t need the science experiments to know that – we are used to symmetry because we see it every day. We see it in nature in plants, sea shells, our pets, and even our own faces when we look at them in the mirror. Symmetry – the Science
Symmetrical design works because of this familiarity, and because it easier for our brain to process than an asymmetrical design. That said, there are actually various types of symmetry that can be used in design and in curb appeal.
Reflection: This is the most familiar type. This is where there are two mirror sides split with a line. The line can be either vertical or horizontal such as two light fixtures that are on either side of the door or two types of cladding material, such as brick on the bottom and cedar shingles above.
Rotational: This type is where there the object can be rotated around a central focal point without losing its shape. At your entrance, this can be something like a wreath on the door.
Translational: This type repeats the same pattern multiple times and therefore creates the illusion of motion. Examples of this would be in tiled floors or in a brick pattern repeated on the facade.
Asymmetry: While symmetry is the most natural form of design, sometimes asymmetry can be used in order to draw attention to a particular design element.
Which type of balance that you should use will depend upon the symmetry of the existing architectural features as well as the size of the space on which you are working. Reflection symmetry works well on any scale but when working with a smaller area it is the best to use. Rotational and translational should be used sparingly in small areas, but can work well in larger spaces.
There are many different elements that can be used to create that sense of symmetrical balance and harmony. We will continue to explore those in upcoming blogs.