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54 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I DECEMBER 2021 Feature Article by Chris Young YOUNG ENGINEERING SERVICES LLC An empty board outline is a PCB designer's empty canvas. Components are the design- er's paint palette, and the traces are the brush strokes used to blend and mesh the compo- nents together on the canvas. e subject mat- ter is defined by the schematic entry and the tone is oen set according to the purpose of the design. e subject matter's form emerges dur- ing placement and takes shape when routed. e aesthetic nature of a PCB or PCBA is typi- cally judged by the designer's use of symmetry, focal points, and centers of interest. e enjoyment experienced by observing a bee (a bilaterally symmetric insect) symbioti- cally interact with a flower (a radially symmet- ric plant) is derived from the realization of two well-proportioned beings striking a mutually equitable existence, a classic win-win scenario. I surmise that our use of symmetry in our own creations is our sincerest form of flattery to these well-balanced relationships. Hence, we have embedded symmetry in nearly all aspects of our lives—from our homes, roads, and bridges, right down to the printed circuit board designs present in our modern-day elec- tronics. We are hard wired to identify symmetry, we tend to find it appealing, and the subject of PCB design is no exception. 1 Symmetry in PCB design is aesthetically pleasing to look at, and the physical balance of components, traces, and layers convey deeper meanings to the observer. A simple example of this can be seen in Figure 1. Further observation will reveal that this board design is the physical representation of two identical circuits running vertically and The Art of Using Symmetry— and Asymmetry—in PCB Design Figure 1: The mirroring across the vertical axis and proportional distribution across the horizontal axis convey a sense of organization and careful consideration. This is a board that has been architected to fit a purpose.

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