4.Repetition, Rhythm & Movement (1)

December 22, 2018 | Author: Kavya | Category: Rhythm, Shape, Pattern, Composition (Visual Arts), Minimalism
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elements of design....


Repetition and Rhythm

The use of same form or element in a building can be termed as repetition.

What is Repetition?

The use of same form or element in a building can be termed as repetition.

What is Repetition?

Repetition of unit forms usually conveys an immediate sense of harmony . Repetition adds visual interest to design, and helps to identify elements that belong together. It can be considered a way of adding consistency to any design. These elements can be as simple as colour, spatial relationships, a shape, a texture, Columns and windows, pattern and arrangement of tiles.


In general, throughout Nature repetition is associated with  peaceful things with the idea of quiet succession in events. Repetition of days or cycles of activities in nature imply a sense of calmness. Dissimilarity and non-succession are results of interference and disquietude.

Repetition in Nature

“Thus ,

though an echo actually increases the quantity of sound heard, its repetition of the note or syllable gives an idea of calmness attainable in no other way; hence also the feeling of calm given to a landscape by the repeated calls of birds”  [Ruskin, John. Elements of Drawing,1971].

Repetition phenomena

Here the same butterfly is shown twice. Which one appears closer? Note how size relationships create depth or space in a composition.

Repetition and size

Examples in History

The interior of the dome of the Pantheon has repetitive coffers in five rings of 28 each.

Examples in History

Examples in History

The Seagram building by Mies Van der Rohe in Manhattan. Completed in 1958. Marked the onset of minimalist approach to design and a new era of skyscrapers. The minimal glass and steel façade is an example of both horizontal and vertical elements in repetition. •

• •

Modern Examples

The MIT Simmons Hall by Steven Holl Architects.

Examples in recent times

Repetition creates patterns.  Pattern is created by the repetition of a shape, form, or texture across a work of art.

Repetition and Pattern

Excessive repetition may cause Monotony.

Result of increased density in Hong Kong  the repetition of similar buildings with several units of same elements makes it monotonous.  – 


Repetition of shape - Shape is always the most important element. Repetitive shapes can have different sizes, colors, etc.

Repetition by the use of similarly shaped elements is a strong unifying force. Two similar shapes, even at different sides of an image, will lead the eye from one to the other. A shape can obtain more visual weight by being repeated, e.g., by its own shadow. •

Repetition of size - repetition of size is possible only when the shapes are also repetitive or very similar. Repetition of color - This means that all the forms are of the same color but their shapes and sizes may vary.

Types of Repetition

Repetition of texture - All forms can be of the same texture but they may be of different shapes, sizes, or colors. In printing, all solidly printed forms with the same type of ink on the same surface are regarded as having the same texture. Repetition of direction - This is possible only when the forms show a definite sense of direction without the slightest ambiguity. Repetition of position - This has to do with how forms are arranged in connection with the structure. Repetition of space - All forms can occupy space in the same manner. In other words, they may be all positive, or all negative, or related to the picture plane in the same way.

Types of Repetition

Unity is alone, the center, the One.

World Financial Center, Shanghai

Units of Repetition

Duality is YIN & YANG- indicating continuity. Duality is fundamental to the Universe.

Units of Repetition

LEFT & RIGHT- divided yet related, like the horns of a bull. Two together make a pair, which we see as separates a divided unity.  – 

Units of Repetition

Three is magical-the resolved duality , the Trinity, the circular motion- two brought together by one.

Can be represented by a pair and a single dominant; a triangle. In terms of repetition , four tends to many and leads to confusion, or just breaks into pairs/ twos.

Five resolves into two twos about a center, six and more can be the repetition of pairs.

Units of Repetition

When the unit forms are used in  larger size and smaller numbers, the design may appear simple and bold ; when they are infinitely small and in countless numbers, the design may appear to be a piece of uniform texture, composed of tiny elements.

Units of Repetition

Rhythm is the basic element of design that results from grouping and repetition of one or more elements within a visual composition with the goal of creating harmony i.e. a rhythmic feeling.

What is rhythm?

Rhythm is based on repetition, but requires more similar elements than does repetition. A small number of similar elements will be perceived as a single group, but rhythm requires enough similar elements to be perceived as several related groups. The repetitive groups must have some variation to achieve rhythm. The most common way to achieve rhythm is with common shapes. Rhythm can evoke an emotional response, e.g., curvilinear forms can calm whereas angular lines can stimulate.

What is rhythm?

The of importance of creating Rhythm can be demonstrated by noting how many important rhythmic cycles we observe in nature -- consider the alternating tension and relaxation in the heart's beating or in the ocean's waves, the revolutions of the earth around the sun, or the comings and goings of generations. Each of us has personal rhythms to our days, weeks, and years. Life, indeed, would be chaotic without rhythm. Participating in the tempo of this flow gives us each amounts of excitement and calm, yearning and contentment, yin and yang. It is natural that we would employ rhythms to organize and unify our work, and rest of our experience.

Everyday phenomena

 Repetitions of similar or varying graphic elements can create a visual rhythm that creates a sense of organization and unity . •

 Rhythm can be described as timed movement through space; an easy, connected path along which the eye follows a regular arrangement of motifs. The presence of rhythm creates predictability and order in a composition. •

It is often achieved through the careful placement of repeated components which invite the viewer's eye to jump rapidly or glide smoothly from one to the next . •

In any artwork, it is possible to distinguish between rhythm of color, line, and form. In the continuity of the three comes the whole rhythm of that work. •


Paul Klee

Henri Matisse

Rhythm in Art

Sophie Taeuber-Arp

The Dancing House by Frank Gehry, 1996

The Guggenheim Museum by Frank Lloyd Wright,1959

Examples in recent times

There are several types of visual rhythm. •

Regular rhythm - AB-AB-AB - Picture alternating stripes of two colors, for instance.  Alternating rhythm consists of successive patterns in which the element(s) continue to appear in a regular distinct order- ABBA-AB. Progressive Rhythm is repetition of a shape that changes in a very regular manner. Progression occurs when there is a gradual increase or decrease in the size, number, color, or some other quality of the elements repeated.

Types of Rhythm

Flowing rhythm - Flowing rhythms are the most relaxing, and their gradual crescendos and decrescendos can be modulated into a final "cascade" to make a memorable point. Random rhythm - Groupings of similar motifs or elements that repeat with no regularity create a random rhythm. Pebble beaches, the fall of snow, fields of clover, herds of cattle, and traffic jams all demonstrate random rhythms. What may seem random at one scale, however, may exhibit purpose and order at another scale.

Types of Rhythm

Repetition  refers to one object or shape repeated;  pattern is a combination of elements or shapes repeated in a recurring and regular arrangement; rhythm--is a combination of elements repeated, but with variations.

Repetition, Pattern and Rhythm

Repetition, Pattern and Rhythm

The words Rhythm and Movement are often associated with music, dance and sports. We think of steady marching rhythms, drum beats and the pulsing sound of the bass on the radio as types of rhythms. The darting of soccer players, the graceful flow of ballet dancers and the artful dodging of basketball players emphasize Movement. Art also has rhythm and movement, a visual rhythm, a rhythmic movement.

Rhythm and movement


Movement  is the way a viewer's eye is directed to move through a composition, often to areas of emphasis.

What is Movement?

Motion is a characteristic an important consideration in design as well as art. The visual illusion of movement can be based on anticipated movement. The use of multiple images can also create the illusion of movement


A pulsing rhythm is set in motion by alternating the direction of bands of diagonal lines in this painting. Op Art paintings, called Op because they often contain optical effects, often present dizzying rhythms like the pattern seen here.

Movement in Art

The easiest way to understand rhythm in work of art is to look at a three-dimensional sculpture that actually moves in space. Changes in air currents move the repeated shapes in this sculpture to form new compositions.

 ART+COM - kinetic sculpture, 2008

Movement in Art

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