Gestalt law of closure images

View all platform capabilities. The human brain is wired to see structure, logic, and patterns. It helps us make sense of the world. In the s a group of German psychologists developed theories around how people perceive the world around them, called Gestalt principles. Source: The Inspired Eye. When this cognitive process kicks in, our minds leap from comprehending all of the elements as individual and unrelated components to seeing the entire shape as a whole.

And as a result, we perceive forms and objects where none were created. To further illustrate this process, check out the GIF below. Source: Gizmodo. These are simple examples, but they demonstrate the types of shortcuts our brains make all the time to quickly make sense of the world. These shortcuts are known as the Gestalt principles of visual perceptionand they detail how our brains create structure by default.

But why is understanding this important for web and mobile design? Think about that quote for a minute. When people first see your designs, how do they experience them? To understand what makes UI design work, you need to understand the psychology of human perception. This is what allows us to create meaning in a complex and chaotic world.

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And having a solid understanding of how these principles work will help you in three ways. The figure-ground principle states that people instinctively perceive objects as either being in the foreground or the background. They either stand out prominently in the front the figure or recede into the back the ground.

Source: A Dwarf Named Warren. In the image above, for example, your eye instantly sees a white apple sitting on a black background. When people use your website or mobile app, one of the first things they do on each screen is to determine which is the figure and which is the ground. The Basecamp homepage has a bunch of graphics, text, forms, and other information.

And because of the figure-ground principle, you can immediately tell that you should focus on the content in the white foreground areas. AngelList uses the figure-ground principle in two ways below. First, the text and logo on the left side of the page are clearly sitting on top of the background image. Second, the white text in the menu on the right stands on top of the black background. The principle of similarity states that when things appear to be similar to each other, we group them together.

And we also tend to think they have the same function. For instance, in this image, there appear to be two separate and distinct groups based on shape: the circles and the squares. Source: Creative Beacon.

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A variety of design elements, like color and organization, can be used to establish similar groups. Source: Andy Rutledge.The gestalt effect is the form-generating capability of our senses, particularly with respect to the visual recognition of figures and whole forms instead of just a collection of simple lines and curves.

Web designers are constantly looking for new ways of improving their projects and therefore they are introducing in their works elements from mathematics. View on Dribbble. The Gestalt laws of perceptual organization describe how we see and experience different perceptual phenomena in the world around us. Closure is part of a set of design principles called the Gestalt principles of perception.

Closure says that when we see a set of individual elements, we tend to put them together as a set in our mind. Humans fill in missing information to try to solve each shape as part of a set with collective meaning. Terrific Gestalt example: Closure. The principle of closure is literally about drawing conclusions. We humans are very adept at drawing conclusions from less-than-all the information. Gestalt is a psychology term which means "unified whole". It refers to theories of visual perception developed by German psychologists in the s.

These theories attempt to describe how people tend to organize visual elements into groups or unified wholes when certain principles are applied. These principles are: 1. Pragnantz figure and ground 2. Symmetry 3. Closure 4. Common fate continuity 5. Proximity 6. Similarity 1.

Gestalt Laws Applied to Data Visualization

Pragnantz The eye differentiates an object form its surrounding…. Look at the adorable GIF above. What you're seeing is nothing more than a blob of disconnected, alternating smaller blobs.

So why do our brains tell us that we're looking at a trotting dalmation? It's all because of a little trick our brains are playing on us known as the Law of Closure.Have you noticed how a series of flashing lights often appears to be moving, such as neon signs or strands of lights?

gestalt law of closure images

According to Gestalt psychologythis apparent movement happens because our minds fill in missing information. This belief that the whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts led to the discovery of several different phenomena that occur during perception.

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The law of closure is one example of a Gestalt law of perceptual organization. According to this principle, things in the environment often tend to be seen as part of a whole. In many cases, our minds will even fill in the missing information to create cohesive shapes.

This is known as the phi phenomenon. Motion pictures are based on this principle, with a series of still images appearing in rapid succession to form a seamless visual experience. According to Gestalt psychology, the whole is different from the sum of its parts. Based upon this belief, Gestalt psychologists developed a set of principles to explain perceptual organization, or how smaller objects are grouped to form larger ones.

These principles are often referred to as the "laws of perceptual organization. Follow the links below to find more information and examples of the different Gestalt laws of perceptual organization. The law of similarity suggests that things similar things tend to appear grouped together. Grouping can occur in both visual and auditory stimuli. In the image above, for example, you probably see the groupings of colored circles as rows rather than just a collection of dots.

The word pragnanz is a German term meaning "good figure. This law holds that objects in the environment are seen in a way that makes them appear as simple as possible. According to the law of proximity, things that are near each other seem to be grouped together. Because the objects are close to each other, we group them together. The law of continuity holds that points that are connected by straight or curving lines are seen in a way that follows the smoothest path.

Rather than seeing separate lines and angles, lines are seen as belonging together. According to the law of closure, things are grouped together if they seem to complete some entity. In the image above, you probably see the shapes of a circle and rectangle because your brain fills in the missing gaps in order to create a meaningful image.

This Gestalt law of perceptual organization suggests that elements that are grouped together within the same region of space tend to be grouped together. For example, imagine that there are three oval shapes drawn on a piece of paper with two dots located at each end of the oval.Gestalt psychologists Max Wertheimer, Kurt Koffka and Wolfgang Kohler sought to understand how we humans make sense of what we see from the chaotic stimuli around us.

Their findings were that we seek to form patterns, group objects in particular ways and simplify complex images. The number of Gestalt Laws vary by literature. Here are the 9 that I found apply to Data Visualization. In this chart, we see 2 groups or clusters of dots, though there are no visible markings of a group. In this chart, we associate the labels Europe, The Americas and Africa with the corresponding lines because they are positioned close to the line.

We can get away with not using a legend with this law of proximity. We seek similarities and differences in objects and link similar objects as belonging to a group. We see 3 groups in this chart — dots of colour Red, Blue and Black. Though the Red dots do not appear close together, we see them as a group since they are all Red. Colouring the labels Europe, The Americas and Africa with the same colour as the lines, adds an element of similarity between the lines and labels.

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Want to learn how to use colour in charts? Read this article on Preattentive Attributes. Here is a chart with some missing data for the year When we look at this, our minds automatically imagine a line connecting the 2 broken lines. Like this:. This is one of the pitfalls of the law of closure. We should be careful when showing graphs with breaks because our minds tend to form complete shapes even if the shape is incomplete.

This is an example where the law of closure actually helps us avoid the clunky borders around the chart. We tend to form a complete picture of the chart with borders in our heads though there are no borders. So go ahead and remove the default borders that excel creates in charts because we rarely need them. We perceive objects as belonging to a group when they are enclosed in a way that creates a boundary or border around them.This article is the third in the Gestalt series.

Please refer to the previous two to learn about the Laws of Similarity, Proximity, Uniform Connectedness, and Continuation.

Gestalt Laws of Perceptual Organization

So, for example, text on a page makes use of this law. The figure is the text itself and the ground the paper on which the text sits. This rule shows that when we look at a design, we perceive the figure from the ground distinctly. There are two main factors that affect the way we perceive the figure and the ground in any given design:.

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7 Gestalt principles of visual perception: cognitive psychology for UX

Stable — In the case of a stable figure, the figure will be clearly identifiable from the background, and one element clearly dominates the overall layout. Reversible — In this case, the figure and background have near-equal density. This can be used to create visual illusions in both web design and art.

gestalt law of closure images

However, at any point in time, a reversible design will have a clear figure and a clear ground. A classic illustration of this is the image of a Rubin vase have a look at the image above. This tends to be a black vase that is set centrally over a square white background. Down the middle, it has five contours and four projections before it flares out again to cover most of the width of the bottom.

Ambiguous — In an ambiguous design, there is little distinction between the ground and the figure. At any point, a single element might be both figure and ground at the same time. You can make your design ambiguous by blurring the boundaries between your ground and figure. Escher — a Dutch graphic artist - was a master at this.


His designs tapped ambiguity to the maximum and, thanks to that, we have wonderful pictures of people climbing steps in buildings: some are going up; some are going down, but at impossible angles.

Escher used ambiguity to make waterfalls flow around more buildings in an impossible way — the water initially flows downward, falling in places, follows a seemingly logical course, and then, mysteriously, flows up again. Ambiguous designs are yours for the taking of your inspiration, whether you want to insert hidden writing, faces in profile that are also a single, different face, or faces made of fruity parts. The use of drop shadow and color creates the illusion of the lower blue menu being on a top layer, while the white menu remains part of the background.

The background is a large and dominant image — the vista of a lake in a majestic mountain wilderness - but the content is clearly identifiable, thanks to the use of both space and contrast with the background. This stops the background from overwhelming the content and distracting or confusing a visitor, who is probably joining in with the couple who sit with their backs to us to take in the view.Have you ever watched a video or seen a GIF that was just Or maybe you can relate to the episode of The Office when they wait patiently for the DVD graphic to fit perfectly in the bottom corner of the screen.

Why does it feel so soothing when things fall into place or fit just right? The answer has to do with the way our minds work - or at least this is what Gestalt psychology says. They proposed a set of Gestalt Principles that explain how we see images and why certain images are soothing or satisfying.

The Laws of Figure/Ground, Prägnanz, Closure, and Common Fate - Gestalt Principles (3)

These principles have served as guidelines for designers, marketers, and anyone who wants to build a satisfying image. In German, Gestalt translates to form. Gestalt Psychology looks at the way that our mind recognizes forms and patterns. After all, we have a lot to take in. Think about everything that you can see around you, right now. This includes the patterns on the wall, the details in the floor, and any other individual objects that you could turn your focus to at any given moment.

In order to recognize all of these things, we do have to intentionally turn our focus to them. This is also known as the Law of Good Gestalt.

gestalt law of closure images

Remember, this is the work of the mind. It has nothing to do with our eyesight. Originally, the principles of grouping were called the laws of grouping.

Over time, as more research has been done, they have been renamed as the principles of grouping. Not every list you see will include all of these principles. Some lists will include more principles that are not seen here. Tell me if this image sounds familiar to you.Negative space has long been a staple of good design.

Leaving white space around elements of a design is the first thing that usually comes to mind. The human brain is exceptionally good at filling in the blanks in an image and creating a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. This principle is one of the most important underlying ideas behind the gestalt principles of visual perception.

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Regardless of who first proposed the ideas there have been essays dating back as far asgestalt principles are an important set of ideas for any designer to learn, and their implementation can greatly improve not just the aesthetics of a design, but also its functionality and user-friendliness. In the simplest terms, gestalt theory is based on the idea that the human brain will attempt to simplify and organize complex images or designs that consist of many elements, by subconsciously arranging the parts into an organized system that creates a whole, rather than just a series of disparate elements.

There are also some additional, newer principles sometimes associated with gestalt, such as common fate. In gestalt, similar elements are visually grouped, regardless of their proximity to each other. They can be grouped by color, shape, or size. Similarity can be used to tie together elements that might not be right next to each other in a design. Of course, you can make things dissimilar if you want to make them stand out from the crowd. In UX design, using similarity makes it clear to your visitors which items are alike.

For example, in a features list using repetitive design elements such as an icon accompanied by lines of textthe similarity principle would make it easy to scan through them. Even things as simple as making sure that links throughout a design are formatted in the same way relies on the principle of similarity in the way your visitors will perceive the organization and structure of your site.

The law of continuity posits that the human eye will follow the smoothest path when viewing lines, regardless of how the lines were actually drawn. The eye tends to want to follow the straight line from one end of this figure to the other, and the curved line from the top to the bottom, even when the lines change color midway through.

They will follow the simplest path on the page, so make sure the most vital parts they should see fall within that path. Since the eye naturally follows a line, placing items in a series in a line will naturally draw the eye from one item to the next.

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Horizontal sliders are one such example, as are related product listings on sites like Amazon. Closure is one of the coolest gestalt principles and one I already touched on at the beginning of this piece.

In its simplest form, the principle of closure allows your eye to follow something like a dotted line to its end. But more complex applications are often seen in logos, like that for the World Wildlife Fund. Large chunks of the outline for the panda are missing, but your brain has no problem filling in the missing sections to see the whole animal. Without a partial image, i.

Proximity refers to how close elements are to one another. The strongest proximity relationships are those between overlapping subjects, but just grouping objects into a single area can also have a strong proximity effect. The opposite is also true, of course. By putting space between elements, you can add separation even when their other characteristics are the same.

The only thing differentiating the group on the left from those on the right is the proximity of the lines.

And yet your brain interprets the image on the right as three distinct groups. In UX design, proximity is most often used in order to get users to group certain things together without the use of things like hard borders. By putting like things closer together, with space in between each group, the viewer will immediately pick up on the organization and structure you want them to perceive. Your brain will distinguish between the objects it considers to be in the foreground of an image the figure, or focal point and the background the area on which the figures rest.

Where things get interesting is when the foreground and background actually contain two distinct images, like this:.

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