Metronomes, Whip-poor-wills & Typographic Rhythm

whippoorwill2_blogpost_header_02 copy

I heard a bird calling outside my window today. This prompted my strange brain to wonder whether a bird call could be used as a source of inspiration for laying out a set of text columns.

When I first scan a visual composition — whether it’s a painting or a web page — my eye lands on the various parts of this composition at distinct moments in time. These moments can be assembled into a rhythm that evokes the sound of a time-keeping device, or they can be arranged in accordance with a rhythm from nature. In the two videos below I wanted to illustrate how the relative widths of a set of three text columns — as well as the spaces between the columns — could be connected with these different rhythms.

video 1 of 2: metronome-based design

video 2 of 2: whip-poor-will-based design

Audio Source for Video 2: Birds of North America, at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *