The Rule of Thirds

Yes, you’re in design jurisdiction now. But even if you weren’t thinking about visual arrangements, you’d still be in violation of the law. The Rule of Thirds exists whether or not we’re thinking about it, like gravity or the laws of thermodynamics. With that in mind, you’d might as well know the rule, right?

What Is It?

The Rule of Thirds is a design strategy that will allow you to capture the power of your visuals more effectively. Some people follow the rule naturally out of some inherit sense of composition; others, by which I mean most, do not. Simply stated, the Rule of Thirds dictates that the most powerful images have their focal points at the intersection of thirds-lines on a given canvas. So, if you divide your presentation slides into vertical and horizontal thirds, the intersections of those lines are like crosshairs, and you want to place those crosshairs right on top of the focal point of your image.

How Does it Work?

One way to explain why it works is to think of it like this: if your subject is in the middle of the image, it’s considered static. Your eye is drawn to it then has nowhere to go from there because the object is equal distance from all sides. Therefore when your subject is positioned closer to one of the edges, it forces your eye to follow it…to find it. This allows the viewer to linger on your image longer. It makes for a more captivating photo because it’s almost interactive. Like a conversation going on between the photo and you.” – David Peterson, Digital Photo Secrets

Any Questions?

It is generally agreed that images falling outside of these intersecting thirds, or placed right in the middle of a canvas, screen, or photograph, somehow have less impact than those that do.  It’s a simple rule and easy to apply, and will probably save you lots of time. After all, when we don’t know where things go, we’re apt to spend time thinking about it. When you know the Rule of Thirds, you just follow the rule and move on!