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Provide Comfort for Readers with Repetition

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Repetition Consistency

Repetition / Consistency

Do your designs exhibit consistency?
Repetition and consistency go hand-in-hand in page layout. Repetition is repeating the same elements (such as multiple uses of the same image) or the same style (all pull-quotes in italics, for instance) within a single composition or across multiple pages of a document. Consistency is the uniform use of an element or style. It's hard to separate the two so we'll call it consistent repetition.

Readers gain comfort from having certain elements repeat themselves at consistent intervals or in the same position. It is much easier to flip to the desired page of a magazine if the reader knows that the page number will be in the same location on every page. Specific columns or special sections of a newspaper are more readily recognized, even when they change location, if they look the same from issue to issue.

When a magazine changes its format many readers are likely to complain at first, not because the changes are bad, but because they are different. Readers, especially long-time readers, grow accustomed to certain colors, fonts, and repeating layouts and a sudden change is unsettling.

Using Repetition Consistently

Whether it's your choice of fonts, method of alignment, or inclusion of specific text or graphic elements in your layout, repeat them with consistency. Here are just a few examples:
  • Use the same font for all your headlines. If you have multiple levels (headline hierarchy) give each type of head it's own style.

  • Use the same graphic rule at the top of all pages in a multi-page document or the same end sign following each article.

  • Put repeating elements (such as page numbers) in the same location on each page of a multi-page document.

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