Rhythm is the repetition or alternation of elements, often with defined intervals between them.
Rhythm can create a sense of movement, and can establish pattern and texture. There are many
different kinds of rhythm, often defined by the feeling something evokes when viewed.
  • Regular: A regular rhythm occurs when the intervals between the elements,
and often the elements themselves, are similar in size or length
  • Flowing: A flowing rhythm gives a sense of movement, and is often more organic in nature
  • Progressive: A progressive rhythm shows a sequence of forms through a progression of steps

Page Content:

Rhythm on the Web
Use of Rhythm in Design
Use of Rhythm on a Web site

Regular Rhythm
Regular Rhythm

Flowing Rhythm
Flowing Rhythm
Progressive Rhythm
Progressive Rhythm

Alternating Occurrence of Form and Space




Rhythm on the Web

"On the Web, vertical rhythm – the spacing and arrangement of text as the reader descends the page
– is contributed to by three factors: font size, line height and margin or padding. All of these factors must
calculated with care in order that the rhythm is maintained." - Richard Rutter

Use of Rhythm in Design

" Nearly anything in a Web design can be repeated to create a rhythm to your designs. You can repeat a
headline multiple times for emphasis, repeat an image across the top of your design, create a patterned
background with repetitive elements, or repeat a style throughout the pages of your site to provide
consistency. " -Jennifer Kyrnin,

Click to Hear the SXSW Panel "Web Typography Sucks"

Use of Rhythm on a website

Rhythm can also be achieved on a website or other two-dimensional design by:
  • Repeating a series of elements that progressively increase or decrease in size and spacing
  • Alternating dark and heavy with light and thin elements
  • Repeating similar shapes or elements throughout the layout
  • Presenting consistent elements in the same position of every page throughout a site


Image from "Graphic Design Principles: the keys to graphic success",
A Digital Dreamer:

Rhythm In Photography

Rhythm in photography refers to the regular repeating occurrence of elements in the scene, similar to how
musical rhythm involves the regular occurrence of certain musical notes over time. In photography, the repetition
of similar shapes sets up a rhythm that makes seeing easier and more enjoyable. Rhythm is soothing and our
eyes beg to follow rhythmic patterns. To be effective, rhythm also requires some variability - rhythm that is too
similar or perfect may be boring. Therefore when composing your images look for repetition with variation. For
instance if you are photographing a fence - one that is perfect will not hold a viewer's interest for long, but one
in which some of the posts are bent, broken, larger or smaller will generate more viewer interest.




Tuscaloosa City Schools, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and The College of Education,
The University of Alabama, "Basics of Graphic Design", Tutorials, 2002: