Online College Courses for Credit




In this lesson, you will learn about the Rhythm principle.

See More
Fast, Free College Credit

Developing Effective Teams

Let's Ride
*No strings attached. This college course is 100% free and is worth 1 semester credit.

29 Sophia partners guarantee credit transfer.

314 Institutions have accepted or given pre-approval for credit transfer.

* The American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE Credit®) has evaluated and recommended college credit for 26 of Sophia’s online courses. Many different colleges and universities consider ACE CREDIT recommendations in determining the applicability to their course and degree programs.


Source: Image of Morse Code, Creative Commons Image of Golden Rectangle, Creative Commons Image of Sand Garden, Creative Commons Image of Mars rock layers, Creative Commons Image of Rotunda, Creative Commons, Image of Newcastle Railway Station, Creative Commons

Video Transcription

Download PDF

Hi, and welcome, everyone. My name is Mario. And today's lesson is going to be on rhythm. So we'll talk about the rhythm principle, talk about why it's important, and then show you a few examples of rhythm in practice. So as always, feel free to stop, fast forward, and rewind at your own pace. And when you're ready to go, let's get started.

So what is rhythm? Rhythm is a visual principle that emulates time by repeating strong and weak elements sequentially in a design. So you'll have repeating elements in a design that will emulate progression or movement in some fashion.

So let's take a look at a few quick examples to see just what I'm talking about here. And we have some very simple shapes in a very simple pattern that create rhythm. So we have this repeating visual element that creates a regular beat, which creates this nice flow of motion in return.

So you can kind of think of this principle as how you would think of rhythm in music too, in a sense. So rhythm in music will have that beat. And similarly, in design it'll have this sort of nice flow or beat as well.

So let's take a look at another example of this really cool-looking Morse code wine label. And for those of you that don't know, Morse code was this means of transmitting text back in the day, using basic tones, clicks, or sounds. And I think it was in the 1800s when it was invented.

So I'm pretty sure the label here says chardonnay. And every line is a letter. But anyways, you'll notice that repeating elements, again very similar in shape to our first example. But there's no longer that sense of movement anymore here. There's no real beat. There's no real rhythm. So much is just shapes that the common viewer will see as just stacked or scattered. There's not that nice pattern or flow that we had from our first example.

Now, what's cool about rhythm is that it can also be applied to line work. And you can use it to create an area that will navigate the viewer's eye through the design, like in this example of this spiral that's commonly known as the Fibonacci sequence or golden rectangle. So again, here rhythm is used effectively to spiral the viewer inward into the design. So the line here creates this nice flow or movement.

I'd like to show you just a few more examples here of rhythm as we might see it in our daily lives, maybe in your garden. Some nice movement here. Or maybe while you're out and about, hiking, exploring. And oddly enough, this is actually a picture of Mars somewhere. Or maybe you're just bored and looking at the ceiling indoors. Some very obvious patterns and nice flow and movement.

Or maybe you're just sitting around and waiting to catch the next train. So there's a lot of repeating elements here as well, and even that nice line that will guide the viewer all the way to the end of the tunnel here. So this principle is very, very effective and very, very important.

Well, that does it for this lesson. We'll finish up as usual with our key term of the day, which was rhythm. My name is Mario. I hope you've enjoyed this lesson. And I'll see you next lesson.

Terms to Know

Rhythm is a visual principle that emulates time by repeating strong and weak elements sequentially in a design.