# Symmetry vs. Asymmetry in Layout Design

Every layout begins with a blank page. Then come elements—a logo, menus, text sections, photographs, illustrations, etc. The placement of elements can determine how successful the design will be. That’s why one of the first things designers do when they start working on a new page is to decide what the arrangement of elements will be on that page. There are two basic approaches to space elements on a page—designers can either lean toward a more symmetrical arrangement of elements, or an asymmetrical one.

In this guide, we’ll see how symmetry and asymmetry work for design. We’ll cover the basic techniques, tips, and best practices for each approach.

Take our Designing for Conversion course

## What is symmetry?

For a long time, symmetry was thought of as the gold standard of design. The preference for selecting a symmetrical layout is especially noticeable in architecture. Take a look at one of the most beautiful buildings in the world—the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal has a lot of properties that make it so aesthetically-pleasing, but its symmetrical balance is one of the main ones.

The benefits of using symmetry in design didn’t arise out of thin air; same as many design principles, it emerged from the Gestalt Principles, a human behavior theory that describes how the human mind structures and arranges visual data. Our mind naturally creates order out of the things we see. That’s why symmetry is so powerful—symmetrical design is a design that has order and stability, and is therefore easy on the eyes.

### Types of symmetry

There are three types of symmetry: reflection, rotational, and translational symmetry.

#### Reflection symmetry

This is probably the first thing people think of when they hear the word “symmetry.” Also known as the mirror effect, reflection symmetry occurs when everything is mirrored around a central axis. The axis can be in any orientation—it can be horizontal, vertical, diagonal, and anything in between, as long as what’s on one side of the axis is mirrored or reflected on the other.

Designers often use reflection symmetry to give equal weight to either side, or to create an interesting visual effect.

#### Rotational symmetry

Also known as radial symmetry, this type of symmetry occurs when everything rotates around a common center. Rotational symmetry can occur at any angle/frequency as long as there’s a common center around which everything is rotated, and elements are equally spaced around a central point.