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Repetition in Design: How to Create Visual Rhythm

Thus far, we have discussed proximity and alignment. Now it is time to move onto learning how using repetition in graphic design can create unity (More on unity in a later post!) and add much needed visual interest.

Principle of Design: Repetition

Repetition definition: Consistency; Repeating elements throughout a design

It may be that repetition is something that you automatically put into your designs without realizing it. It happens when you make the subheadings all bold, or bigger, or a different color. It happens when you make bulleted lists and place the same amount of space between each point. It happens when you use the same colors throughout your design.

All of these things are good ways of showing repetition and they all help keep the interest of the viewer. Repetition helps to connect different parts of a design together.

Image Source

Consider the product line above. It is VERY easy to understand that all of the different products belong together because of the repetition of the same graphic, colors, font, even the overall shape of the products are similar.

Imagine if the designer had changed the shape or the color on each of the individual product boxes. You might catch on that they are from the same company, but it would not be immediately obvious. As a designer, you don’t want to make it difficult for the customer to understand the purpose of what they are looking at.

Game night

One last example before we leave our discussion on repetition. Take a look at the image above. Note that it already has some good repetition to recommend it. The headline font is the same as the subheadings and the other text is all the same color. Now that the basics are covered, take a simple graphic and add some visual interest

Game night

With the added graphics repeated strategically throughout the flyer, one can immediately see what the gathering is about and know if it might be something they’d be interested in going. If an image is familiar to a reader, all it takes is a piece of it to help the reader make the connection.

Ready for some tips and tricks to help you achieve repetition in your own designs? See below!

  1. Find an element (font/graphic/shape/etc) that you like and play around with it in several combinations until you find something that appeals to you.
  2. Avoid repeating the graphics so much that they become annoying or overwhelming. 


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