Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul – Plato
The quote by Plato establishes the similarity between rhythm in music and rhythm in design. Visual rhythm may be best understood by relating it to rhythm in sound. The sound of a Nigerian “talking drum” which has a consistent pattern and flow to it follows the intonation and rhythm of speech. The parallels between rhythm in sound/ music are very exact to the idea of rhythm in a visual composition. The difference is that the timed “beat” is sensed by the eyes rather than the ears.
Rhythm, a principle of design 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. Rhythm depends largely upon the elements of pattern and movement to achieve for its rhythmic effects.
Rhythm is best done by repetition and alternation. Alternation is a specific instance of patterning in which a sequence of repeating brand elements are presented in turn and repetition is the use of patterning to achieve timed movement and a visual “beat”. This can be translated to any brand by ensuring that there is a synchronization of the the different brand assets to achieve synergy. This repetition may be a consecutive repetition of brand elements across different media or it may be a more subtle kind of repetition that can be observed in the underlying brand themes and story.
Do your customers get the same vibes whenever they come in contact with your business? Do you maintain a signature style, language , look and feel at all times? Businesses should ensure that accurate brand specifications are adhered to at all times. It is neither okay to take a guess at your correct colour palette nor is it right to use tones and shades of colour not found in your colour palette and end up confusing your customers about your real identity. Be rhythmic with the elements on your brochure, website, flyer, signage, stationeries, business premises, business cards and other customer touch-points. Allow the dots connect to form the big picture of what you stand for. Great brands like coca-cola has been using this design principle for decades with success so much so that all Coca-Cola symbols (typography, imagery, Coca-Cola Santa, colour and bottle) are practically known the world over even when the coca-cola name is absent.
Allow a consistent theme run true across all your communication and you might just find a spot in that secret place in the soul of your ideal customer.