Thursday, August 27, 2009

Gestalt - Required Post

People like to feel smart. If your design or art has a visual trick in it, that requires their interaction, people engage with the work and try to make sense out of it. Our brains are good at making order out of chaos and recognizing visual forms from collections of lines and shapes. Your work will make people feel good if they get it, but if they don't you leave them cold. Understanding principles of Gestalt Psychology may help you create visually stimulating work.
is where we are able to recognize forms from seemingly random collections of visual marks.

is where we perceive whole shapes where they are inferred as negative shapes by their interaction with positive shapes.

is where the collection of forms allows us to see more than one recognizable form, though usually not at the same time.

is where an object, even when transformed or translated significantly, is still recognizable.

is the Gestalt principle that says that we prefer to imagine groups and logical orders to visual things. It has several basic laws:

  • Law of Closure - we perceive closed and complete forms when given sufficient parts

  • Law of Similarity - things that are similar are perceived as a group or related

  • Law of Proximity - we form groups out of things that are closer or equally further than other things

  • Law of Symmetry - symmetrical forms are perceived as belonging together

  • Law of Continuity - once a pattern is recognized we perceive its repetition

  • Law of Common Fate - things that move or act the same are perceived as a group

Many Gestalt principles rely on a good use of positive and negative shapes. Altering edges of an object to serve a dual purpose for another form can help you to make use of Gestalt priniciples. Always take a step back from your work and try to see what sort of connections and visual order people will try to make of your work.

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