Website Design and Visual Weight

One of the notions of design is that design elements can vary in weight, meaning even on two-dimensional pages, some objects can have a heavier appearance than others. This powerful concept, known as visual weight, allows designers to create visual balance, harmony, hierarchy and symmetry with their designs. Applied strategically, visual weight can assist designers to guide the attention of viewers to a specific part of/ place within a page.

In essence, visual weight revolves around the concept that distinct design elements vary in heaviness in relation to one another. In some cases, this is obvious - a large object, for instance, automatically appears heavier than a small one, because it takes up more space.

Sometimes, however, this is not quite as clear cut. Some colours, for instance, will have a more dominant and heavier appearance than others. Pacing a black square and a slightly larger, pale yellow square side by side onto a plain white background, for example, will show that the black square appears heavier - in spite of the fact that it is smaller.

The main factors combining to create visual weight are:

Darkness/ Lightness
Density and

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