Exploring Gestalt Principles for Design

Reference: Created by Me on Figma.

While learning about design, I went through Gestalt Principles for design. I learnt about the principles and why it is important to use them as a designer. So, today we will be exploring the Gestalt Principles and what I learnt from them.

Let’s Understand Gestalt Psychology

Gestalt is a German psychological word that translates to ‘ form. It is a configuration, pattern, or organized field having specific properties that cannot be derived from the summation of its components.

As a human, our brain does not tend to focus on every small component. For instance, if you look out of your window towards the clouds in the sky right now your brain will perceive the group of clouds as an object like a horse, or a big human face. Our brain won’t see the group of clouds as individual clouds rather it’ll always try to see it as some other object.

A Brief Background on Gestalt Principles

Gestalt Principles are the law of human perception that explains how the human brain groups similar elements, recognize patterns and simplify complex objects. It is an essential part of visual design.

Earlier Gestalt Psychology was used in other industries such as medical, psychology. Then Designers started incorporating Gestalt principles in their work at the beginning 1920s. Gestalt psychology led designers to believe that we all share some characteristics in the way we perceive visual objects and that we all have a natural ability to see good design. They started using Gestalt concepts, using our perception of things like color, contrast, symmetry, repetition, and proportion to create their work.

Some General Rules of Gestalt Theory

· Objects will be perceived in their simplest form.

· Humans naturally follow lines and curves.

· The mind will attempt to fill in the details which aren’t there actually.

Basic Principles of Gestalt Psychology

So, here are the basic principles which I have learned through understanding elements of the design journey. I’ll be explaining below what the principles are:

1. Closure

Closure occurs when an element is incomplete or a space is left intentionally. If enough of the shape is indicated or even if it is hinted to the viewer, they will subconsciously fill in the missing information.

2. Proximity

Proximity occurs when elements are placed close to each other. The position of these elements helps to portray a relationship between the separate parts. The opposite is also true.

3. Similarity

Similarity occurs when objects look similar to one another. The viewer will perceive them as a group or pattern. These can be similarities in color, shape, texture, or any other design element.

4. Figure-ground

The eye differentiates an object from its surrounding area. A form or shape is perceived as a figure, while the surrounding area is perceived as ground. Balancing figure and ground is an art form in itself, but rules were made to be broken.

Exploring Composition of Elements using Gestalt Principles

While exploring the Gestalt principles, I was looking through few examples. I was amazed at how I have been watching this design from childhood but never thought of the principles behind it. So I started exploring the composition of the elements by sketching them with pencil then color them to turning those designs into Figma. I have picked one of the best designs from them. Let’s check on what do they tell us.

Reference: My Sketched Compositions

1. Pacman in Space

Pacman in Space

In this frame, there is a Pacman who is in space flying towards his favorite food. The 2 giants circles look like planets in space.

2. The Triangular Planet Sunrise View

This is Triangular Planet is a new planet where everything looks like a triangle shape. In this frame, we can see the sun is rising over the mountain. It would be fun if there was a planet made up of triangular shapes!

3. Finding The Impostor

The Impostor

There is an impostor in the group! Everyone is finding the impostor only you know who the real impostor is. Can you help others finding the impostor or will you be the impostor?

4. Our Solar System

Our Solar System

In this frame, we can see our solar system. The planets are rotating around our lovely sun. We can’t see all planets in one frame because rest of them are far away.

5. Happy Childhood

Happy Childhood

This Composition reminds me of my childhood in playful mood running around the house! It was so fun when we were kids. We would be running around happily without any stress about our future.

Aspiring UI/UX Designer