02.03.03: Rule of Thirds

Where to Use

Supports the need to divide a rectangle into sections in an interesting manner.


Consider using the ‘Rule of Thirds’, a compositional method that divides the rectangle into nine sections by splitting each side into three equal sections:

Example rule of thirds.png

This method is often used in composition of photographs, where subjects of interest are aligned with the intersections and lines.

A related technique is to use rabatment to divide the rectangle into three vertical sections. The intersection of the rabatment lines and diagonals from the outer corners is used to locate the vertical dividing lines, creating three vertical sections:

Example rule of thirds2.png

When the rectangle dimensions have a ratio of 3:2, this method gives the same result as the Rule of Thirds.

Another possibility is to use rabatment as above to create vertical sections. The central section is then broken into three sections (a fractal procedure):

Example rule of thirds3.png

This is a classic pattern used in Arts & Craft light screens. Another classic Arts & Crafts pattern also involves dividing the rectangle into three sections, based on a rabatment of the rectangle:

Example rule of thirds4.png

Related Forms

This form is related to Rabatment.

This form may be supported by Fractal.