Search for a definition of the word “asymmetry” and you’ll likely find a simple explanation like “lacking in symmetry” or “the absence of symmetry”. Though a definition that includes the words “lacking” or “absence” makes the term sound negative, truth is that asymmetry is often a good thing.
Consider asymmetry in architecture, for example. Some of the world’s well-known asymmetric buildings are the most stunning on the planet, like the Sydney Opera House, The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, and London’s Norman Foster-designed City Hall. They are eye-catching and, even if you’re not a fan of asymmetric architecture, you’d be hard-pressed not to admit that they are indeed remarkable.
For certain, asymmetry may not be as aesthetically pleasing to some as is complete balance, but the fact remains that asymmetry possesses a sort of movement that you don’t find in something that’s very deliberately even in design.
Now consider the websites you’ve recently browsed. Chances are some were quite bland while others were more exciting, not only because of the content but because of how the content was placed. Indeed, if you happened upon a fairly asymmetric website, you probably found it more interesting then one where everything was laid out in a predictable pattern. And you may not have even realized why!
More and more website designers are turning towards asymmetry when putting together a new website or redesigning an existing one. And while there’s no right or wrong regarding the use of symmetry or asymmetry, many website builders are finding that a bit of unbalance can be to their client’s advantage, with some symmetry thrown in as well. Here’s why.
- An eye-catching page with asymmetric elements will keep the viewer on the page or site for a longer amount of time. Why? Simply because it’s more interesting! If you’re the owner of a website, you may know that Google likes it when people stay on your site for a longer length of time, raising your site up the ladder where search results are concerned. That’s certainly a win for you and your business.
- Asymmetry helps the eye move more dynamically from element to element. This movement, which often runs from upper left to lower right, is a way to draw the eye from one point to another or from one idea to another if you’re using images to convey your message.
There are a number of interesting and intriguing ways to create asymmetry on a web page.
- Making an asymmetric page might be as simple as placing photos off center or varying the width of the side bar. Nothing crazy but still far more interesting than having everything “in line”, so to speak.
- You might decide to experiment with using different fonts, perhaps. Remember, however, elements must still be complementary to one another, For example, you wouldn’t mesh an elegant photo of a ballerina with huge bold type, just to try to achieve asymmetry. You want to make sure that the words and the image say the same thing or convey the same message.
- Some website builders experiment with the use of blank space. For example, the left side of the page may be mostly blank while the other half is quite full. This provides contrast and draws the eye towards the important info on the right.
- Color choices help with asymmetry as well. Using opposites on the color wheel can create a sense of unbalance yet be visually very interesting. So, don’t look for classic color combinations but, rather, think outside the box. Consider the background color as well and perhaps choose a font color that you wouldn’t normally pair with that background hue.
But how will it look on a phone?
Most of our clients are rightfully concerned about how their website looks to someone who opens it on their mobile device. Thankfully, asymmetry has little to no effect on mobile display. With mobile responsive themes available for use, WordPress websites will re-flow blocks of content according to which device is being used. That means the success in conversion to mobile devices should never stand in the way of experimenting with asymmetrical design.
Want to know more about sprucing up your website and creating more interest so that customers hang around longer? Talk to the WordPress experts at Watershed9 and schedule a no-obligation consultation to learn how we can help you attract more customers and clients and keep them coming back again and again.