Repetition is

  • the repeated use of visual elements—e.g., use of color, shape, columns, headers, and callout boxes—in a composition
  • the repetition of words, phrases, and sentences in print discourse.

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Repetition refers to repeated visual elements, such as use of color, shape, columns, headers, and callout boxes. Repeated design elements help readers understand how you have organized the work. As readers scan texts document, they anticipate content based on the current design.

Principles of Design

Note in this example from Greenpeace how the repeated green text blocks and green headers draw your attention.

In word processors, you can create helpful repetition by using a template. A template enables you to set the font type, size, and style for each heading. For example, by tagging a top header as “level 1” or tagging a passage “body text,” you can ensure continuity throughout your document. Then, if you decide to change a design element, such as the font of your footnotes, you just modify the footnote tag.
On Web sites, repetition is especially important because readers can easily develop vertigo–a sense of not knowing where they’ve been or where to go. Most Web editors provide templates or themes to enable you to repeat design elements easily.

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