Gestalt theory for designers

Research in the psychology of visual perception in Germany in the 1920s showed that people tend to organise visual material into a unified whole in order to make better sense of it. Often referred to as the “Gestalt” theory, it illustrates a number of principles including: closure, similarity, proximity, symmetry, continuity and common fate.

(The word “Gestalt” means “unified whole” in German and is frequently written with the capital “G” because that is the practice in the German language. It’s pronounced “Gheshtalt”.)

https://i0.wp.com/www.teaching.louisabufardeci.net/111/files/weblog/designTips/worksheets/gestalt_closure.gif

closure
We see a circle here even though there are really only four unrelated forms.

https://i0.wp.com/www.teaching.louisabufardeci.net/111/files/weblog/designTips/worksheets/gestalt_similarity.gif

similarity
We group the similarly coloured circles together and perceive them as independent rectangles and squares within the main design.

https://i0.wp.com/www.teaching.louisabufardeci.net/111/files/weblog/designTips/worksheets/gestalt_proximity.gif

proximity
We see two groups of circles here rather than 24 individual circles.

https://i0.wp.com/www.teaching.louisabufardeci.net/111/files/weblog/designTips/worksheets/gestalt_symmetry.gif

symmetry
Even though these symmetrical shapes are not touching we assume they are part of a single whole.

https://i0.wp.com/www.teaching.louisabufardeci.net/111/files/weblog/designTips/worksheets/gestalt_continuity.gif

continuity
Even though the dots are not touching we read this sequence as a line and follow its direction.

https://i2.wp.com/www.teaching.louisabufardeci.net/111/files/weblog/designTips/worksheets/gestalt_common-fate.gif

common fate
We will group these rectangles in two depending on the direction they are facing.

Illustrations and essay by Louisa Bufardeci.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s