Fundamentals of Art and Design 3(1+2)


Rhythm is an art principle, in which, a sense of orderliness, gracefulness and an easy movement leads the vision to move from one design to another related design in a rhythmic fashion, similar to hearing a musical note.

Goldstein H. and Goldstein V., have defined, Rhythm as a form of movement. It must be recognized that not all movements in design is rhythmic. Sometimes movement is distracting. Rhythm means an easy, connected path, along which the eye may travel in any arrangement of lines, forms or colors.

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 it evokes when looking at it.

When a shape is regularly repeated at proper intervals, a movement is created which carries the eye from one unit to the next in such a way that one is not conscious of separate units, but of a rhythmic advancement making it easy for the eye to pass along the entire length of the space. The greatest enjoyment of rhythmic sequence is found in nature forms.

Rhythm is a related a movement or the sense of leading the eye easily from one part of a design to another in an easy flowing manner. The change in rhythm may be from one line to another, from one dimension to another and from one color to another. Rhythm is an organized movement in continuity. It occurs in regular, repeated movement and also in variable transitional movement. Rhythmic movement in design and in interiors can be achieved through various methods.

Important methods of achieving rhythmic movement are as follows:
  1. Through Repetition of shapes
  2. Through progression of sizes.
  3. Through continuous line movement
  4. Through radiation
  5. Through gradation in arrangement of shape, size and colors.

Rhythm through repetition of shape: Rhythm through shape is the repetition or alteration of the same elements or objects often with defined intervals between them. A feeling of rhythm may be expressed by repetition of lines, colors and shapes, but we must also keep in mind the principles of proporcxddtion that deal with unity, with a certain amount of variety to add interest. Shapes of the same size and shapes arranged with the same spacing between each would give us an example of rhythm by repetition, but it might be very monotonous. In securing rhythm through repetition, one must be careful to avoid monotony in spacing. To achieve beauty through repetition, good proportion is a necessary accompaniment. However, when intervals are too far apart the movement will lack rhythm. Rhythm can be achieved in different ways, as follows.

  • Regular: A regular rhythm occurs when the intervals between the elements, and often the elementsdd themselves, are similar in size or length.
  • Flowing: A flowing rhythm gives a sense of movement and is often visually more organic in nature.
  • Progressive: A progressive rhythm shows a sequence of forms through progression of steps.

Practical application of rhythm through repetition:

  1. Repeating dots, circles, squares or any shape with good spacing create pleasing effects.gr
  2. Repeating a shape, a number of times gives an effect of repose.
  3. Sometimes a shape which is difficult to use as a single unit in design, will be successful when it is repeated at close intervals.For ex: A set of butterfly motifs on a wall.
  4. Exact repetition of a unit has a strongly integrated, clear and emphatic effect.
  5. Repetition is used in an arrangement of group of photos and accessories, wall papers, rugs, textiles, architecture etc.

Rhythm through progression of sizes and gradation:

  1. A regular progression of sizes may be satisfying enough to create rhythm. For example: A series of lines, circles or some motifs arrangement,
  2. Progressing sizes create a rapid movement of the eye like arrangement of pictures on wall in a series of shapesfr that carry the eye upward or downward to a more interesting part of room or just creating a rhythmic movement.
  3. Alternating of two to three lines with a gradual change in the length or thickness of lines gives an eye catching variety Fig 3.16 Rhythm through gradation by repeated semicircles of steps.
  4. Rhythm by gradation can also be achieved through a change in spacing between lines or shapes, change in hue, value or intensity, change in amounts overlapped in a composition, change in texture from smooth to rough, shiny to dull.
  5. Gradation is a sequence in which the contrasting extremes are bridged by a series of similar or harmonious steps.
  6. Gradation is a common and basic form of natural order that exists in nature like the sunrise, sunset, flowering pattern the scales on a fish, or the flowing of water etc.

Rhythm through continuous line movement: frwe gradations of its spaces. One finds many fine examples of this type of rhythm in Greek sculpture and in Japanese prints. Composition that shows rhythm through continued lines and curves are examples of rhythm through lines Fig 3.17. The spiral line of a shell brings out the beauty in the sequence of its line movement and in the rhythmical

In some design it is not always evident that any elements are repeated or that there is a progressive change from one part of the design to another and yet we have a sense of easy movement throughout the design. The related movement may be literally having breaks in the line, but spaces that are small enough so the eye still moves over to the next section of the line in the rhythmical manner.
Practical application or ways of achieving rhythm:

  • Rhythm through radiation is a method of obtaining organized movement that grows out of a central point or axis. It may be observed in the diverging lines which form the pattern like that of a flower,fvds leaves, shells etc. Radiating lines are is used very commonly in designs for store display.
  • Diverging lines sometimes do not tend to carry the eye smoothly from one part of a design to another; they are sometimes useful in creating a particular effect. Ex: Fig.3.19 depicts the radiating line through spiral effect (3 D effect) commonly used in store display. Wheel motif on wall display in interiors, is very common.
  • An arrangement in all the kinds of rhythmic movement may be observed with arrangements of lighting fixtures in interiors of the house, other handicrafts and also in exteriors through architecture and landscape.
  • Rhythm is found in designs of floor tiles, wall papers and furnishings. In a room with quiet walls, the figured pattern of a drapery material may display a greater degree of rhythmic movement which is a pleasing effect.
  • Rhythm through continuous line movement can be observed in the selection and arrangement of furniture, wall hangings or creative lines on the walls, suitable designs on the curtain or draperies. All these should be arranged in such a way that the eye travels from one to the other easily or rhythmically.
  • Restful effect can also be gained through proper use of a blend of a variety of lines in a selective manner that ultimately gives a pleasant effect. The balance, proportion and scale needs to be thought in designing and arrangement.
Last modified: Monday, 13 February 2012, 10:07 AM