Repetition is an often used concept in graphic design. If you want to draw attention to your design, you have to understand what repetition means and how to use it the right way.
What’s repetition in graphic design
It might seem quite obvious. Repetition means using one element or a combination of elements of your design repeatedly. That’s more or less right. But you can’t just take one element and plaster it all over your layout. You need to use this concept with care for it to be effective. Choose the right element and create interest with different techniques for using repetition.
Examples of repetition in graphic design
You probably see a lot of repetition without even realizing it. In brand design, repetition is the go-to concept to build recognition. You use the same colors, fonts, and design elements throughout all your designs. This cohesive look helps your audience to instantly recognize your brand.
Related post: Why consistency is important in brand design
Another reason to use repetition is to create user-friendly, intuitive designs. By placing your elements always in the same space. Take your website menu as an example. It’s in the same place on every page to make it easy for a visitor to navigate through your website.
These are examples of using repetition throughout several designs. But you can also use it inside one layout. Design elements to use here are geometric shapes, lines, your logo or part of your logo, illustrations or icons.
Why repetition is a great concept
Before we get to the different ways you can use repetition, let’s talk about the reasons why you need to use it. And why it’s a powerful concept.
Often elements like shapes and lines are used to guide people. A simple line inside a layout doesn’t have much meaning. But if you repeat this line, in one form or another, it becomes a statement. So we can repeat an element to add meaning to it.
Being an element of guidance and direction, repetition helps you to take people from one point to the next. From important to less important. The elements you repeat can create a sense of order.
Repeating something is always a good way to remember it. That’s why it’s so important to use it in brand design and build recognition.
Applying this principle in your design creates a cohesive overall image. It’s a tool to make several elements look like they belong together and establish a harmonious layout.
How to use repetition
First of all, repetition isn’t boring. It doesn’t mean that you were running out of ideas if you use one element twice. There are several ways to use repetition to create interest.
Mix it up. When using an element more than once you can get creative. You can change the color or size for example. Only make sure it’s still recognizable as the same element.
You can also break down one bigger element into several smaller ones. This way you only repeat one part instead of the whole thing.
If you’re unsure about where to put your elements use a grid system and rules of composition like the Golden Rule.
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Lastly, don’t overdo it. Your layout should always make sense. So don’t repeat something for the sake of it. If repetition isn’t applied right it will confuse and make your design look unprofessional.