Shape Tools

Shape Tools

Justification Activity
One of the main goals of my unit of instruction is to teach learners about the design concept known as balance. Essentially, balance is an equilibrium that results from viewing images and judging them against a particular person’s ideas of physical structures like mass and gravity. In other words, the concept of balance is the arrangement of the objects in a given design as it relates to their visual weight within a composition. Therefore, to demonstrate the concept of balance, I choose to create a graphic that uses shapes to illustrate the three most common types of balance: horizontal symmetry, radial symmetry, and asymmetry.


As with my entire unit of instruction, the intended users or viewers of this specific graphic will be beginner art and design students in grades 9-12. Specifically, the learners will be able to read at a 9th grade reading level and possess intense focus, motivation, and adaptable social skills. Additionally, each individual learner is assumed to have the ability to comprehend simple and complex shapes as well as the concepts behind their use. Lastly, each learner must have the ability to listen to and follow directions on concrete and abstract ideas.

Why I Think My Solutions Work

In short, I believe this particular graphic utilizing simple shapes works extremely well in conveying the balance aspect of my unit of instruction. In fact, I believe the simple circles, lines, and squares effectively demonstrate the meaning of horizontal symmetry, radial symmetry, and asymmetry. Specifically, the circles in all three sections of my graphic imply unity and harmony within a graphic element (Lohr, 2008, p. 250). In other words, the circles create a natural balance and attract the learners’ attention to their specific arrangement (Lohr, 2008, p. 250). Thus, that is why I found circles to be the perfect way to demonstrate the meaning of horizontal symmetry, radial symmetry, and asymmetry. Next, I found that by using lines in both the horizontal symmetry and asymmetry elements, I separated and defined the space of a particular concept and helped translate the meaning of a particular balance (Lohr, 2008, p. 250). Lastly, in both horizontal symmetry and asymmetry, I utilized simple square shapes to facilitate comparisons between all of the elements on opposing sides of the center line (Lohr, 2008, p. 250). In the end, the squares were a great way to translate a concept and focus the attention of each individual learner.


Upon the completion of this particular balance graphic, I tested the graphic on one of my co-worker’s high school daughters, who happens to be an art student, to get her initial impressions. To be fair, I did tell her that this particular graphic was to be used during the portion of my instruction focused on balance. Nevertheless, although I gave her the context of the graphic, I did not explain anything else in terms of concepts, definitions, or meaning of the elements exhibited. To my excitement, within seconds, she began to explain to me what she thought each graphic represented and ultimately formed an acceptable definition of what was meant by the terms horizontal symmetry, radial symmetry, and asymmetry. In fact, she admitted to not ever studying the concepts before, but she ultimately thought she had a clear understanding and take on each concept after viewing the graphic. Thus, I learned that my simple shapes graphic is extremely effective in translating the concept of balance within a composition.

Changes I will make

After reviewing my notes I took on my chosen test subject, I do not believe any changes are needed on this particular graphic. In short, I believe the shapes I chose accurately translate the concepts of each element of my graphic. Additionally, I believe the shapes act as a great visual aid for many students first learning about the concept of balance. Thus, as I mentioned earlier, I will not make any changes and will continue using this graphic for this portion of my instruction.


Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance: Lessons in visual literacy. Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson/Merrill/Prentice Hall.