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Take a look at the header on 9Rules for a study in well-considered balance. This unusual layout combines multiple design elements that look nothing alike, and places them together in a way that anchors each so that no one weighs down the header.

On first viewing, in my opinion, your eyes are not drawn to anything in particular because of this balance. All items appear to carry equal weight, leaving the user scanning the page for something important.

But as you say:

Studying how shape can be used effectively in design is simply a starting point.

It is important to remember that a design needs more than balance to be a great design, but understanding how areas interact is essential.

A good article nonetheless.