Gestalt Laws Used in Design

Gestalt is a psychology term that defines as everything or anything in its simplest form. In German, gestalt means ‘shape’ or form’. The term also refers to principles, or theories, of visual perception that were founded by German psychologists in the 1920s. The founders of these theories are Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Kohler, and Kurt Koffka. Koffka defined Gestalt theory as “The whole is other than the sum of the parts is often incorrectly translated,” meaning that the whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts. This belief led to the discovery of several varying phenomenons that occur during perception.

Laws/Theories of Gestalt Psychology:

  • Law of Similarity-objects that are often perceived as a group or pattern due to having similar characteristics. When there is similarity, a part of the whole can be modified or emphasized, creating an anomaly. This anomaly then becomes the center focus of the whole object.
Similar shapes of circles and triangles are grouped together.

Similar shapes of circles and triangles are grouped together.

An anomaly is created due to an indifference in one of the human shapes.

An anomaly is created due to an indifference in one of the human shapes.

  • Law of Proximity-elements are grouped together if they look similar. This similarity can occur in the form of shape, color, or other qualities.
When the rectilinear shapes are put together in this Adidas logo, they are perceived as a whole.

When the rectilinear shapes are placed closely in this Adidas logo, they are perceived as a whole.

  • Law of Closure-occurs when is incomplete, yet is still perceived as a whole. If enough of the shape is indicated, people perceive the whole by filling in the missing information.
The image can still be understood even though it is incomplete, like the invisible triangle and the panda.

The image can still be understood even though it is incomplete, like the invisible triangle and the panda.

  • Law of Symmetry-states that the mind perceives objects as being symmetrical and forming around a center point.
This image can be bisected, thus creating two similar parts.

This image can be bisected, thus creating two similar parts.

  • Law of Continuity-occurs when the eye is compelled to move throughout an object, due to the use of lines or patterns.

The viewer’s eyes naturally follows the curve of the H, leading it to the end point, or the star.

 

  • Law of Pragnanz-explains that elements of objects tend to be perceptually grouped together if they form a pattern that is regular, simple, and orderly. The image below is perceived as a series of rings rather than complicated shapes.
The Law of Pragnanz is shown in the famous Olympics logo.

The Law of Pragnanz is shown in the famous Olympics logo.

  • Law of Past Experience- states that under some circumstances visual stimuli are categorized according to past experience
A viewer may perceive the colors red as stop, yellow for slowing down, and green as go, like a traffic light.

A viewer may perceive the colors red as stop, yellow for slowing down, and green as go, like a traffic light.

Gestalt psychology tries to understand the laws of our ability to acquire meaningful perceptions in an apparently chaotic world. The central idea of gestalt psychology is that the mind forms an understanding of an object or an image that may or may not have a subliminal message.

 

To learn more about Gestalt theories, click the sites below:

http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Gestalt_principles

http://facweb.cs.depaul.edu/sgrais/gestalt_principles.htm

http://blog.usabilla.com/gestalt-laws-start-with-thinking-basic/

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2014/03/28/design-principles-visual-perception-and-the-principles-of-gestalt/

 

Photo Source:

http://www.theinspiredeye.net/how-to-use-the-law-of-similarity-in-photography/

http://blog.usabilla.com/gestalt-laws-start-with-thinking-basic/

http://jeremybolton.com/2010/08/gestalt-principle-the-law-of-proximity/

http://www.marmaracografya.com/pdf/30.1.pdf

http://www.pinterest.com/milan17/gestalt-law-of-symmetry/

http://www.snipview.com/q/Law%20of%20Continuity

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Olympic_Rings_black.svg

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2014/03/28/design-principles-visual-perception-and-the-principles-of-gestalt/

http://imgarcade.com/1/gestalt-psychology-art/

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