The Basic Idea of Symmetrical Design

Symmetry is one of the most useful techniques when you design. Symmetry has been used in various situations since ancient times to create balance and harmony. I will focus on symmetry in this article and think how to use it for your design.

What is Symmetry?

Symmetry, the sense of harmoniously pleasing balance and proportion, is well known as “reflection” but also includes “rotation”, “transition” and “scale”. This is a very simple technique, so I believe you’ll manipulate it easily even you are beginner designer.

In the reverse case, the lack of symmetry is called asymmetry. Asymmetry can represent an object that breaks a predefined pattern of symmetry. It can be used as a design tool to create points of interest and creates disorder, which can call attention to certain points of a design through distinction. However, again, I will focus on only symmetry in this article because I think we need to know how to use symmetry first to use an imbalance of design elements.

Reflectional Symmetry

Reflectional symmetry is the “mirror” effect using an axis line, or when one object is reflected across a plane to create another instance of itself. Various works such as the buildings, painting or sculpture are used reflectional symmetry in Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome.


Garden of Palace of Versailles is used ​​reflectional symmetry.
Photo: ian murchison


Symmetrical website, The Mealings.


You can use this technique if you need to fill the space.

Rotational Symmetry

Rotational symmetry is when an object is rotated in a certain direction around a point. You’ll see lighter balanced effect than reflection symmetry.


The sign of recycle is one of the most famous symbols using rotational symmetry.

rotational symmetry

You can use natural line of the photo. It will be easier to see when you add guidelines. In this example, a bicycle and people are composed of triangles. Then I inserted the text into an inverted triangle within which is rotated counterclockwise.


It is possible to take advantage of space, as well as create balance.

Translational Symmetry

It is configured to move the same shape. People feel the continuity when it is repeated five times or more in the same interval and the same shapes. Pattern using it can represent harmony with the rhythm.


It has a configuration with a sense of rhythm.


Insert guidelines into this photo. You’ll see the skew line in the part of hands, so create the same angle lines into the left and right.


Done with adding the filled parallelogram and text.

Scale Symmetry

It is composed by reducing or expanding the same figure. Arranging the process to continue to change in size, and will be able to feel the evolution and growth, and at the same time incorporate the change and stability. The line up continuously, of course, even if sprinkled here and there, you will feel the beauty if the original shape is the same.


From Apple’s website. We’ll concentrate on the centre point of view because it gets the sense of perspective by letting scaled gradually at the same angle.


Glitters that you can often see in the Japanese gal magazine also used scale symmetry. It doesn’t feel uncomfortable even they are sprinkled irregularly because the original shape is the same.

You’ll find that many designs that you see casually are also used variety of symmetry. You can try to use these techniques when you are stuck on your design project.