If you see two circles of the same size and colour which are placed next to each other, you tend to perceive that they have a relationship with each other rather than just being two different circles. It is how most people see elements as a whole or try to group them into whole. Gestalt is a term used in psychology which expresses the idea that the whole of something is more important and convenient to our understanding than the individual parts.
Gestalt theory is a hypothesis which states that people tend to organize visual elements into groups or unified wholes when certain principles are applied. According to it, the whole is different from the sum of its part.
Gestalt principles try to describe the ways by which the human mind interprets the visual elements. There are three general rules of Gestalt principle.
a. Objects are perceived in the simplest form.
b. Humans naturally follow lines or curves.
c. The mind will attempt to fill in detail that isn’t there.
There are several principles under Gestalt Hypothesis:
Principle of Continuity
The Principle of Continuity states that whenever our eyes begin to follow something, they will continue to travel in that direction until they encounter another object. The eyes create momentum as they are compelled to move through one object and continue to another. Let’s check the examples of Continuity.
1. Logo designs
The logos of Amazon, Proquest, USA Network, and Coca-Cola follow the continuation principle of Gestalt. In the logo of Amazon, there is an arrow starting from A and ending at Z which depicts that Amazon has everything from A to Z. Similarly, in the logo of the famous soft-drink brand, Coca-Cola, our eyes follow the “C” from Coca to Cola, beginning from the “C” in the word Cola through L and A. These types of visual aids help our eyes to follow an upcoming object.
2. Google Maps
Google Maps have become a necessity for an individual who has shifted to a new city or for the ones who like to travel. Google Maps also follow the rule of continuity. When we set a destination on Google Maps, it shows us the pathway from the starting point to the destination. We follow that pathway to reach our destination.
Principle of Closure
Closure occurs when an element is incomplete or is not enclosed in space. It, subconsciously, involves filling in the missing gaps or information. When enough of the shape is shown and it is still incomplete, our minds tend to fill in the blanks and construct the whole of the shape. Let’s see the relevant examples of the closure principle.
3. Incomplete Logos and Designs
We can find some unfilled gaps in the logos of WWF or EA sports. For instance, in the logo of WWF, there is an image of a panda, and it has some missing spaces on its back and head. It is probably where the white fur of the panda would be. However, we are well aware of the shape and colour of the panda; and so, we automatically and subconsciously fill the missing gaps.
The above image is an advertisement for lenses. In this ad, the advertiser has tried to construct a smiley with the help of objects and sentences, and we perceive the smiley as a happy face as the advertisers would have apprehended. Though there is not an entire image on a smiley emoji, we perceive the missing details and imagine it to be a happy face. It is a technique used by advertisers to attract people.
Principle of Similarity
The principle of similarity states that we tend to perceive things that physically resemble each other as a part of the same object. There may be a similarity in any one of them, colour, shape, texture, or any other element. Let’s see the examples of the principle of similarity.
5. Logo Designs
In the logos of NBC, Panda Security Touts, and Sun Microsystems, objects and patterns have similar visual characteristics, though they are not identical in colour, shape, or size. In the logo of Panda Security Touts, logomark is perfectly linked with the wordmark. Similarly, in the logo for NBC (1986-present), all the feathers are of different colours but are perceived as similar in the group because of their same shape.
Principle of Proximity
Principle of proximity states that when two or more elements are close to each other, the position of these elements portray the relationship between separate parts and render a specific meaning to that group. Let’s see the examples of the proximity principle.
6. Dots/Puzzle Buzz
In the above image, dots on the left appear to be the part of one group, whereas the ones on the right seem to be in three different groups.
7. IBM Logo
When we look at the IBM logo, we see three letters composed of short horizontal lines stacked above each other instead of the eight horizontal lines interspersed with uniform gaps.
Principle of Pragnanz
The word “Pragnanz” is a German term meaning “good figure.” The Law of Pragnanz is also referred to as the “law of good figure” or “the law of simplicity.” This principle states that humans naturally perceive objects in the simplest form.
8. Olympic Logo
The Olympic logo has five circles. We tend to see this logo straightforwardly. The logo is perceived to consist of five circles which are juxtaposing each other. The logo is less likely to be apprehended as an assortment of curves, shapes, colours, and lines.
Principle of Figure To ground
The human eye can differentiate an object from the surrounding. We perceive certain objects as being in the foreground and other objects as being in the background. Let’s check the examples of this principle.
9. Multistability Images
The above logo for “Hope for African Children Initiative” simultaneously depicts the map of Africa and the waning silhouettes of an adult and a child.
10. Face and Vases Illustration
In this image, we see faces and vases which depend on our way of perception. If we see the white as the figure, then we perceive men and vice-versa.