Friday, September 14, 2012

Rhythm In Design Consciously Captivates A Scene

Rhythm introduces order to make anything visually entertaining. We see it all around us, in nature or in man-made structures.

Rhythm is organized movement: Objects placed one after the other in equal spaces creates rhythm. It could be a line of trees, breathing, heartbeat or the movement of waves. Anything that follows a regular pace or interval is rhythm. However, rhythm is only easy to understand when objects are in motion. But, it is harder in design because motion is made to happen in a rigid or static body. To achieve rhythm in design, the eye must be drawn towards a series of patterns and perhaps colors. Perception actually makes motion possible in a linear plane.

Rhythm and design principle is repetition: When visual patterns are arrayed or arranged one after the other in a linear space it creates unity and movement. There are ways to create rhythm:

  • The simplest being the regular arrangement of similar elements in a linear axis. Patterns could be used as borders, vertical or horizontal trim. It could even go circular or diagonal. So long as the repetitive element is present, rhythm is achieved.
  • The repetitive element could be color; it can be any shape, arrayed alone or in groups. Even in monochromatic surroundings if the patterns can lead the eye towards a point of interest there is rhythm.
  • To add interest to rhythm shapes and pattern could not always be similar. It could be varied but follow a regular pace.
  • Rhythm could also result by progression, not only the shape, but the character of a recurring element as well.
  • Light and shadows can be made to project rhythm. In Egyptian temples for example, lights coming from the clerestory delivers an eerie sense of rhythm.

There are so many ways to create rhythm. Only trained application of the recurring element can project unity.  Chaos often results in a composition when the principles of design - rhythm are not dramatically organized.

In the design of buildings, rhythm is the most relied element. Structural members like beams, girders, columns are meticulously spaced from each other to create the desired effect. This is evident in the colonnades of Greek Temples of the past. Windows in the Renaissance and Baroque period are as well designed to create a pattern.  Modern skyscrapers made the curtain wall of mullions and glass panels to create repetitive harmony; even in dams and bridges.  Look at the Golden Gate in San Francisco, vertical members are spaced equally giving it rhythm.  All the structures serving our needs are all conceived with rhythm in mind.

Remember, that when an object is visually captivating, possibly all the recurring elements of rhythm in design is working.

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