Let’s look at three subjects that, at very first glance, may strike you as being incredibly an easy and self-explanatory. However, although they may seem prefer they need to need no introduction, we must study them. By knowledge these concepts, you’ll be able to apply them much more effectively come captivate your users’ attention while making her designs much more effective.

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Say “repetition” and you can think around someone who claims the very same thing over and over again. However, it’s different in design. Repeating things does not have to be boring! In fact, it have the right to empower a style when offered in the appropriate way. The can additionally ensure the messages are far better understood. As designers, we have three repetition methods: repetition, patterns, and rhythm.


Repetition is merely repeating a solitary element numerous times in a design. For example, you can draw a heat horizontally and then attract several others next to it.


Repetition deserve to be beneficial in web and app design. For example, you’d expect the logo design of a service to be repetitive on every page and also in the exact same place. Menu items are additionally often repetitive in the same place on a page. This helps carry out a continual user experience. By repeating elements, we as designers not only provide according come our users’ expectations in this way, but we likewise improve their experience. Ours being consistent makes the users an ext comfortable. Remember the the eye works in a certain way by default. Making use of repetition to keep the eye familiar with ours design’s elements means we’re taking advantage of this tendency. We can additionally use shapes, colors, textures, fonts, etc. To preserve this consistency via repetition.

You have the right to also attain repetition through using recurring messages. If you desire your client to know that she the cheapest or the fastest in the business, you’ll desire to phone call them that on more than one occasion if you desire the blog post to stick. In this instance, we usage repetition because that reinforcement. You might remember learning your time tables by repeating them till you drummed them into your mind. The principle below is the same. Us retain information far better the much more often we encounter it and internalize it.


Patterns are merely a repetition of more than one architecture element working in concert v each other. A smooth pattern is one where every facet within a design (no issue how often it’s repeated) combines to form a whole. This is most common in backgrounds ~ above web and also app pages. It’s likewise popular in carpet and also wallpaper design. Look roughly you: your bed cover, wall, notebook cover. If you see a smooth pattern, look at it closely. Do you see exactly how the elements (circles, spirals, cones, pineapples, etc.) show up again and again in the exact same way? Sometimes, they touch; sometimes, they have room between them.


As you might expect, designers base most patterns ~ above colors, textures and shapes, rather than words. We have the right to recognize forms far more quickly than words, which we have to read, no matter just how quickly. Girlfriend can uncover such fads in architecture, too. Architects tend to incorporate a unifying motif ~ above the inside and outside of buildings to boost the aesthetic appeal. This is nothing new. Think of ancient Greek structures such as the Parthenon. Old designers could be ingenious in their use of fads of such facets as lines and spirals.

When you take into consideration using patterns in your web or app design, you’ll desire to think around the pattern’s complexity. When it might seem prefer a pretty idea to tile a single image as a background, this have the right to make it lot harder to check out the text that lies over the pattern. If you desire to create a architecture for a website that deals with travel come Greece, you could use the height of an ancient column for her design. In ~ first, that looks great; you’ve got a beautiful architecture that functions circles and also grape leaves.

However, girlfriend still have to include text. So, composing over this, you soon notice a problem. The dark composing sometimes drops over the image’s dark lines. You might use brighter text, such together white or yellow, however you’ll find that the gray stone makes it hard to read, too. You’re having actually trouble analysis it, and also so will your users. They desire to communicate with her design, not work to shot and check out text. Simplicity and subtlety are key considerations if you want to maintain the user experience, keeping users on your page.


When you repeat elements, the intervals in between those repetitions can develop a sense of rate in the viewer and a feeling of movement. Musicians create rhythm in the spacing between notes, effectively making these “silent” gaps play turn off the notes. Designers insert spacing between facets to make rhythm. Over there are, extensively speaking, five types of intuitive rhythm.


Random rhythm – Repeating elements with no details regular interval creates random rhythms. The spacing can be a millimeter here, a centimeter there, if the elements could be anywhere the place. Think of fallout’s snow, pebbles top top a beach, web traffic movements: they space all instances of random rhythms in action.

It’s also worth noting the a rate may show up random if you study a tiny section of the rhythm. However, if friend step earlier and examine a larger section, it might be the there is a consistent but complex rhythm applied to the design. Remember that you have actually positive and negative images, i beg your pardon you have the right to use so the both the elements and the spaces between them make your style hard come “predict”. By making use of a larger collection of elements, you’ll have actually virtually endless possibilities to play with. The artist René Magritte made particularly interesting usage of random rhythm.

Regular rhythm – favor the beating the a heart, the consistent rhythm adheres to the exact same intervals over and over again. Friend can quickly make a consistent rhythm just by creating a grid or a series of upright lines. The user’s eye will instantly recognize a constant rhythm, scanning that for any kind of irregularities in the process. Remember, the eye “likes” to be drawn to superior elements. Therefore, there is a risk that once you’re making use of a constant rhythm in a design that that can become monotonous (like the dripping of a tap).

Alternating rhythm – You have the right to repeat much more than one element in a design. In an alternating design, you usage a 1-2-1-2-1-2 pattern. Think of the black and also white squares on a chessboard: that’s an alternating rhythm in play. An alternative rhythm is, in fact, a consistent rhythm with much more complexity. It can be together straightforward as our chessboard, or we can envision something an ext intricate. Some fantastic alternating rhythms incorporate rows of fish, birds, or various other animals. Acquisition fish as an example, we can see the each the same fish is complying with another. Below, the succession is repeated; however, the negative space in between the rows mirrors fish the the other shade (which we take to be the background) swimming the various other way, the fine lines of your fins and tails interlocking with those the the very first pattern the fish. M.C. Escher’s Lizard (1942) is another great example of this, incorporating 3 colors that lizards with a pair of lizards that each shade facing away from every other, tail to tail. As straightforward or complicated as we want to make an alternating rhythm, it can be an easy way to break up the monotony of a constant rhythm.

Flowing rhythm – A flow rhythm reflects the repeated aspects following bends, curves, and undulations. In nature, you deserve to see this in the waves on a coast or sand dunes. Together designers, we deserve to mimic nature by make wonderful trends of elements with flowing rhythm. Us can display clumps that seaweed underwater, their strands gently facing in a series of directions. The user imagines lock washing versus each other.

Progressive rhythm – We have the right to make a steady rhythm merely by changing one properties of a motif together we repeat it. We might draw a collection of circles, one above the other, do each reduced one larger. Do you see how the biggest one in ~ the bottom looks like it’s closest to you? We have the right to make a gradual rhythm readjust subtly or dramatically. Girlfriend could include shade come the smaller circles progressively so the the smallest one at the height is dark, the center one in partial shade, and the greatest one just slightly shaded. Gradual rhythms surround us. If you were to video someone dancing and then study that video frame-by-frame, you would have a gradual rhythm.

Designing with Repetition, Pattern, and Rhythm

The use of repetitive visual aspects is a technique designers generally employ in web design. You deserve to repeat style elements, for example, to provide a regular visual experience. It will make it less complicated for users to focus on the content due to the fact that they know where lock can uncover specific varieties of content or navigation options.

You can also use repeat to draw attention come a specific area of content or design. You have the right to use the to present relationships in between content blocks, too.

Also, you can use trends for backgrounds to add texture and also consistency, and also you can deploy them to provide consistency between pages the the same type.

As designers, we can use rate to create excitement (building slowly over time) or reassurance (a heartbeat might be perfect ~ above a web page aimed at expectant mothers, for example). Or, we have the right to use it to affect other emotions.

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The take it Away

As a designer, you have actually three types of repetition:


You have the right to use this to shape the user endure of your net or app. With repetition, patterns, or rhythm, you collection “the mood” of the user interface and also use these facets to one of two people reinforce your message and/or create the look and feel of your product.

Repetition is the simplest element you deserve to use. Sample is a combination of elements that room repeated. Rhythm involves using intervals or spaces between facets to offer the user one impression of valuation or movement. We can use five types of rhythm:

Random RhythmRegular RhythmAlternating RhythmFlowing RhythmProgressive Rhythm

There is likewise another conception of pattern that originates from architect Christopher Alexander. Us will examine that in a later article. Rhythm, prefer in music, helps develop a cadence in her design, engaging her users with all kinds of interesting variations. Through some thought, you can maximize the impact of your message by working the appropriate rhythm right into your design.

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