Active/Passive (including Hierarchy)

Active-Passive■ The most active element in a composition will usually be the focal point.
■ The elements of lesser interest or weight are considered relatively passive.
■ It’s all relative. For example, Negative space may typically be seen as passive space until it has significance, such as the arrow inside the FedEx logo.
■ Multiple focal points may cause confusion or chaos. Chaos can offer excitement but at the expense of clarity. Managing both becomes a dynamic issue of proportion involving balance.
Hierarchy refers to the relative importance (or activeness) of one thing versus the relative lack of importance (or passiveness) of another thing or group of things. (This also goes back to our earlier discussion under the definition of Proportion.) By adjusting proportions involving balance and contrast, a primary area of interest (called a focal point) as well secondary areas of interest can become established. A well-expressed hierarchy can be helpful in directing viewers where to enter and how to navigate a composition.

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