# Proportion vs. Balance — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on October 30, 2023
Proportion refers to the relative size or amount of parts within a whole, while balance is the state of equal distribution or equilibrium.

## Key Differences

Proportion relates to the comparative relationship of elements, ensuring parts of a design fit together well. Balance is the even distribution of weight, ensuring stability.
While proportion often deals with the visual aspects, such as in art and design, balance can be physical, as in weight, or abstract, like in work-life equilibrium.
Proportion requires a reference to other elements for it to be determined, suggesting a harmony of parts. Balance can be a standalone concept, meaning stability within itself or a system.
An artist may pay attention to the proportion of figures in a painting to achieve aesthetic harmony. A tightrope walker must maintain balance to prevent falling.
Proportion can influence the perception of whether something is pleasing or not. Balance, conversely, often conveys a sense of calm and order, be it in visual, physical, or metaphorical forms.

## Comparison Chart

### Definition

Relative size or scale among elements.
State of stability or equilibrium.

### Application

Art, design, mathematics.
Physics, finance, life management.

### Principle

Harmony and aesthetics.
Stability and equity.

### Visual Impact

Can affect compositional aesthetics.
Can create visual calmness.

### Necessity

Essential for pleasing design.
Required for functional stability.

## Compare with Definitions

#### Proportion

Comparative relation between things.
The proportion of windows to wall space was carefully calculated.

#### Balance

The power to remain steady and not fall.
She kept her balance on the icy path.

#### Proportion

A part considered in relation to the whole.
A small proportion of the budget was allocated to marketing.

See Libra.

#### Proportion

The proper or harmonious relation of parts.

#### Balance

A weighing device, especially one consisting of a rigid beam horizontally suspended by a low-friction support at its center, with identical weighing pans hung at either end, one of which holds an unknown weight while the effective weight in the other is increased by known amounts until the beam is level and motionless. Also called scale.

#### Proportion

A part, share, or number considered in comparative relation to a whole
The proportion of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is rising

#### Balance

A state of equilibrium or parity characterized by cancellation of all forces by equal opposing forces.

#### Proportion

Adjust or regulate (something) so that it has a particular or suitable relationship to something else
A life after death in which happiness can be proportioned to virtue

#### Balance

The power or means to decide
Matters that fell outside the judge's balance.

#### Proportion

A part or amount considered in relation to a whole
What is the proportion of helium in the atmosphere?.

#### Balance

A state of bodily equilibrium
Thrown off balance by a gust of wind.

#### Proportion

A relationship between things or parts of things with respect to comparative magnitude, quantity, or degree
The proper proportion between oil and vinegar in the dressing.

#### Balance

The ability to maintain bodily equilibrium
Gymnasts must have good balance.

#### Proportion

A relationship between quantities such that if one varies then another varies in a manner dependent on the first
"We do not always find visible happiness in proportion to visible virtue" (Samuel Johnson).

#### Balance

A harmonious or satisfying arrangement or proportion of parts or elements, as in a design.

#### Proportion

The agreeable or harmonious relation of parts within a whole
The statue seems out of proportion.

#### Balance

An influence or force tending to produce equilibrium; counterpoise.

#### Proportion

Often proportions Dimensions; size
First measure the proportions of the room.

#### Balance

The difference in magnitude between opposing forces or influences.

#### Proportion

(Mathematics) A statement of equality between two ratios. Four quantities, a, b, c, d, are said to be in proportion if a/b = c/d .

#### Balance

Equality of totals in the debit and credit sides of an account.

#### Proportion

To adjust so that proper relations between parts are attained
Have you proportioned the oil in the dressing properly?.

#### Balance

The difference between such totals, either on the credit or the debit side.

#### Proportion

To form the parts of with balance or symmetry
The artist proportioned the figure nicely.

#### Balance

Something that is left over; a remainder.

#### Proportion

(countable) A quantity of something that is part of the whole amount or number.

#### Balance

(Chemistry) Equality of mass and net electric charge of reacting species on each side of an equation.

#### Proportion

(uncountable) Harmonious relation of parts to each other or to the whole.

#### Balance

(Mathematics) Equality with respect to the net number of reduced symbolic quantities on each side of an equation.

#### Proportion

(countable) Proper or equal share.

A balance wheel.

#### Proportion

The relation of one part to another or to the whole with respect to magnitude, quantity, or degree.
The proportion of the parts of a building, or of the body

#### Balance

To determine the weight of (something) in a weighing device.

#### Proportion

A statement of equality between two ratios.

#### Balance

To consider and compare or assess
Balanced the pros and cons before making a choice.

#### Proportion

The "rule of three", in which three terms are given to find a fourth.

#### Balance

To bring into or maintain in a state of equilibrium.

Size.

#### Balance

To act as an equalizing weight or force to; counterbalance.

#### Proportion

(transitive) To divide into proper shares; to apportion.

#### Balance

To compute the difference between the debits and credits of (an account).

#### Proportion

(transitive) To form symmetrically.

#### Balance

To reconcile or equalize the sums of the debits and credits of (an account).

#### Proportion

To set or render in proportion.

#### Balance

To settle (an account, for example) by paying what is owed.

#### Proportion

To correspond to.

#### Balance

To bring into or keep in equal or satisfying proportion or harmony.

#### Proportion

The relation or adaptation of one portion to another, or to the whole, as respect magnitude, quantity, or degree; comparative relation; ratio; as, the proportion of the parts of a building, or of the body.
The image of Christ, made after his own proportion.
Formed in the best proportions of her sex.
Documents are authentic and facts are true precisely in proportion to the support which they afford to his theory.

#### Balance

Mathematics & Chemistry To bring (an equation) into balance.

#### Proportion

Harmonic relation between parts, or between different things of the same kind; symmetrical arrangement or adjustment; symmetry; as, to be out of proportion.

#### Balance

To move toward and then away from (a dance partner).

#### Proportion

The portion one receives when a whole is distributed by a rule or principle; equal or proper share; lot.
Let the women . . . do the same things in their proportions and capacities.

#### Balance

To be in or come into equilibrium.

#### Proportion

A part considered comparatively; a share.

#### Balance

To be equal or equivalent.

#### Proportion

The equality or similarity of ratios, especially of geometrical ratios; or a relation among quantities such that the quotient of the first divided by the second is equal to that of the third divided by the fourth; - called also geometrical proportion, in distinction from arithmetical proportion, or that in which the difference of the first and second is equal to the difference of the third and fourth.

#### Balance

To sway or waver as if losing or regaining equilibrium.

#### Proportion

The rule of three, in arithmetic, in which the three given terms, together with the one sought, are proportional.

#### Balance

To move toward and then away from a dance partner.

#### Proportion

To adjust in a suitable proportion, as one thing or one part to another; as, to proportion the size of a building to its height; to proportion our expenditures to our income.
In the loss of an object we do not proportion our grief to the real value . . . but to the value our fancies set upon it.

#### Balance

(uncountable) A state in which opposing forces harmonise; equilibrium.

#### Proportion

To form with symmetry or suitableness, as the parts of the body.
Nature had proportioned her without any fault.

#### Balance

(uncountable) Mental equilibrium; mental health; calmness, a state of remaining clear-headed and unperturbed.

#### Proportion

To divide into equal or just shares; to apportion.

#### Balance

Something of equal weight used to provide equilibrium; counterweight.
These weights are used as a balance for the overhanging verandah
Blair thought he could provide a useful balance to Bush's policies.

#### Proportion

The quotient obtained when the magnitude of a part is divided by the magnitude of the whole

#### Balance

A pair of scales.

#### Proportion

Magnitude or extent;
A building of vast proportions

#### Balance

(uncountable) Awareness of both viewpoints or matters; neutrality; rationality; objectivity.

#### Proportion

Balance among the parts of something

#### Balance

(uncountable) The overall result of conflicting forces, opinions etc.; the influence which ultimately "weighs" more than others.
The balance of power finally lay with the Royalist forces.
I think the balance of opinion is that we should get out while we're ahead.

#### Proportion

Harmonious arrangement or relation of parts or elements within a whole (as in a design);
In all perfectly beautiful objects there is found the opposition of one part to another and a reciprocal balance

#### Balance

(uncountable) Apparent harmony in art (between differing colours, sounds, etc.).

#### Proportion

Give pleasant proportions to;
Harmonize a building with those surrounding it

#### Balance

(accounting) A list accounting for the debits on one side, and for the credits on the other.

#### Proportion

Adjust in size relative to other things

#### Balance

(accounting) The result of such a procedure; the difference between credit and debit of an account.
I just need to nip to a bank and check my balance.

#### Proportion

A rule of size used for making things.
The architect used classical proportions for the new building.

#### Balance

(watchmaking) A device used to regulate the speed of a watch, clock etc.

#### Proportion

Mathematical ratio.
Her income and expenses were in proportion.

#### Balance

The remainder.
The balance of the agreement remains in effect.
The invoice said he had only paid \$50. The balance was \$220.

Libra.

#### Balance

(transitive) To bring (items) to an equipoise, as the scales of a balance by adjusting the weights.

#### Balance

To make (concepts) agree.

#### Balance

(transitive) To hold (an object or objects) precariously; to support on a narrow base, so as to keep from falling.
I balanced my mug of coffee on my knee.
The circus performer balances a plate on the end of a baton.

#### Balance

(transitive) To compare in relative force, importance, value, etc.; to estimate.

#### Balance

To move toward, and then back from, reciprocally.
To balance partners

#### Balance

(nautical) To contract, as a sail, into a narrower compass.
To balance the boom mainsail

#### Balance

(transitive) To make the credits and debits of (an account) correspond.
This final payment, or credit, balances the account.
To balance a set of books

#### Balance

(intransitive) To be in equilibrium.

#### Balance

(intransitive) To have matching credits and debits.

#### Balance

To weigh in a balance.

#### Balance

To hesitate or fluctuate.

#### Balance

An apparatus for weighing.

#### Balance

Act of weighing mentally; comparison; estimate.
A fair balance of the advantages on either side.

#### Balance

Equipoise between the weights in opposite scales.

#### Balance

And hung a bottle on each sideTo make his balance true.
The order and balance of the country were destroyed.
English workmen completely lose their balance.

#### Balance

An equality between the sums total of the two sides of an account; as, to bring one's accounts to a balance; - also, the excess on either side; as, the balance of an account.
I still think the balance of probabilities leans towards the account given in the text.

#### Balance

A balance wheel, as of a watch, or clock. See Balance wheel (in the Vocabulary).

#### Balance

The constellation Libra.

#### Balance

To bring to an equipoise, as the scales of a balance by adjusting the weights; to weigh in a balance.

#### Balance

To support on a narrow base, so as to keep from falling; as, to balance a plate on the end of a cane; to balance one's self on a tight rope.

#### Balance

To equal in number, weight, force, or proportion; to counterpoise, counterbalance, counteract, or neutralize.
One expression . . . must check and balance another.

#### Balance

To compare in relative force, importance, value, etc.; to estimate.
Balance the good and evil of things.

#### Balance

To settle and adjust, as an account; to make two accounts equal by paying the difference between them.
I am very well satisfied that it is not in my power to balance accounts with my Maker.

#### Balance

To make the sums of the debits and credits of an account equal; - said of an item; as, this payment, or credit, balances the account.

#### Balance

To arrange accounts in such a way that the sum total of the debits is equal to the sum total of the credits; as, to balance a set of books.

#### Balance

To move toward, and then back from, reciprocally; as, to balance partners.

#### Balance

To contract, as a sail, into a narrower compass; as, to balance the boom mainsail.

#### Balance

To have equal weight on each side; to be in equipoise; as, the scales balance.

#### Balance

To fluctuate between motives which appear of equal force; to waver; to hesitate.
He would not balance or err in the determination of his choice.

#### Balance

To move toward a person or couple, and then back.

#### Balance

A state of equilibrium

#### Balance

A scale for weighing; depends on pull of gravity

#### Balance

Equality between the totals of the credit and debit sides of an account

#### Balance

Harmonious arrangement or relation of parts or elements within a whole (as in a design);
In all perfectly beautiful objects there is found the opposition of one part to another and a reciprocal balance

#### Balance

Equality of distribution

#### Balance

Something left after other parts have been taken away;
There was no remainder
He threw away the rest
He took what he wanted and I got the balance

#### Balance

The difference between the totals of the credit and debit sides of an account

#### Balance

(astrology) a person who is born while the sun in in Libra

#### Balance

The seventh sign of the zodiac; the sun is in this sign from about September 23 to October 22

#### Balance

(mathematics) an attribute of a shape or relation; exact correspondence of form on opposite sides of a dividing line or plane

#### Balance

An equivalent counterbalancing weight

#### Balance

A wheel that regulates the rate of movement in a machine; especially a wheel oscillating against the hairspring of a timepiece to regulate its beat

#### Balance

Bring into balance or equilibrium;
She has to balance work and her domestic duties
Balance the two weights

#### Balance

Compute credits and debits of an account

#### Balance

Hold or carry in equilibrium

#### Balance

Be in equilibrium;
He was balancing on one foot

#### Balance

An even distribution of weight.
He lost his balance and stumbled.

#### Balance

The ability to maintain equilibrium.
Balance is key in gymnastics.

#### Balance

A condition in which different elements are equal.
The balance of nature is delicate.

#### Balance

Equality between the totals of the two sides of an account.
He struggled to keep his checkbook in balance.

## Common Curiosities

#### How do you achieve balance in a room?

You can achieve balance in a room by evenly distributing visual weight across the space through furniture arrangement and decor.

#### Is balance always symmetrical?

Balance can be symmetrical or asymmetrical; it's about equal visual or physical weight, not necessarily mirror-image symmetry.

#### Is balance more than just physical?

Balance extends beyond physical to include financial, emotional, and work-life aspects.

#### How is proportion used in everyday life?

Proportion is used in everyday life in cooking (recipe ratios), budgeting (income vs. expenses), and even socializing (time spent with each friend).

#### Why is proportion important in design?

Proportion ensures that each part of a design relates harmoniously to others, affecting the aesthetic and functionality.

#### Can balance be emotional?

Yes, emotional balance refers to the ability to maintain stability in feelings and mood.

#### Can you have good proportion without balance?

Yes, it's possible to have good proportion with elements well-related in size, even if the overall balance is off.

#### What does proportion mean in art?

In art, proportion refers to the relative size and scale of the various elements in a composition.

#### Does proportion relate to quantity?

Proportion can relate to quantity when it involves the ratio or fraction of one part to another.

#### Do balance and symmetry always go hand in hand?

No, while symmetry can lead to balance, an asymmetrical design can also be balanced through the strategic placement of elements.

#### What is an example of balance in nature?

An example of balance in nature is the predator-prey relationship that maintains ecosystem equilibrium.

#### How do scales measure balance?

Scales measure balance by comparing the weight of objects to ensure they are equal or at equilibrium.

#### Is a sense of balance innate?

A sense of physical balance is partly innate but can be improved through practice and

#### Can proportion affect perception?

Yes, disproportionate elements can make objects or designs seem awkward or unappealing.

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