What is Gestalt Theory?
In this session, we were introduced to an interesting theory called “Gestalt Theory” developed by a german psychologist in the 1920s . It’s a theory with a series of principles that allow us to predict how the viewers respond to design.
- Law of Similarity – Items that are similar to one another are often being grouped by your brain it’s a natural pattern that your brain notices, here’s an example:
In this example of triangles and circles your brain creates, or rather notices a vertical pattern consisting of triangles and circles, the brain naturally organizes it in vertical columns rather than long horizontal columns.
- Law of Prägnanz – This law explains how our brain reduces certain shapes within a complex bigger shape into a more simple form. It reminds me of how most artists often see something before they draw it, simplifying a visually complex object.
- Law of Proximity – Having a closer object next to one groups them together. Space separates certain objects especially when there is a closer object near the other, the brain automatically groups the shapes with the smallest distance to one another thus forming them together.
- Law of Good Continuation – Your brain notices which lines are continuous and naturally follows it no matter what colour it is thus putting other lines into a separate category, and the example shows exactly how the use of continuity can be a more powerful guide than colour.
- Law of Closure – The brain naturally fills negative space, missing information creating a shape or an image by grouping objects together.
In this example, we see how the brain fills the negative space creating a cube shape object even though it’s not there.
Pareidolia is a pattern recognition in the brain, it’s when our imagination forms a group of objects into one image (for example of an animal or a person etc.). Personally, I’ve always been able to just see more than just a crack in the ceiling or a cloud in the sky, just as how some Americans end up on the news for “spotting the image of Jesus” on a Cheetos. I’ve encountered it throughout my life yet I didn’t know the definition of it up until this point, and I’m glad I acquired the knowledge as I can explain it to someone more briefly.
For my examples, I have decided to include Jesus “appearings” to further help understand the Pareidolia.
Here we see virgin mary holding baby Jesus. For some who may not know, Cheetos are cheese-flavored puffs. It’s pretty rare to see a puff shaped like Jesus. I just hope it’s not just me that see it.
Here we see Jesus on Marmite. The marmite on the lid that looks like him, that is.
and one example just for the sake of diversity.
I wonder if the designer of this sink had an image in mind because it certainly does look like a face that is a little confused or rather, a blank expression. I don’t really need imagination for this one as it covers all the basic shapes of the face, making the image inevitable to overlook.
Workshop – Point, Line & Form
Understanding grids has been something that I personally have overlooked, it just wasn’t interesting to me during college and I felt a little limited with it. But to be honest this workshop did spark an interest in understanding more about them. Their function serves a great purpose not just in books and magazines but in buildings, roads, fields etc. Pretty much everything is dependent on a certain grid to be measured, build or to have a function.
I’ve come across great book layouts that are simplistic and at the same dynamic with so much going on. The examples in the workshop did make me remember aspects within the subject that I was taught before, and I think if I want to develop something whether it’s just a logo or a full page layout I need to learn the fundamentals in order to make the best use of it.
What we had to do might seem simple at first, it was to cut out a few pieces of text using a scalpel and glue the text, header, and shape in different layout styles (I believe we were told to aim at 8 layouts) all at 200 mm.
As I heard this I began to quickly sketch small scamps and plan ahead of what I’ll be doing.
After the sketching I began to cut out the shapes and trying to position then within a visually pleasing way, I must say that it really was harder than I thought. I think I should practice more on this as I wasn’t exactly pleased with my effort.
Attempts at placing the layouts.
I thought a constructivist-inspired alignment would be a nice addition to my attempts. I like how the text goes in a zig-zag way around the page and how the dot is there to keep balance as the header is too bold and big.
The second attempt at the same style, this time including a lighter san-serif font and placing the circle next the text to drive more attention into it.
I decided to experiment more and see if a title placed vertically would be effective enough to work. It’s also aligned with the dot.
I personally like this one more than the others. I like how aligned the header, dot, text and date are. It’s so structured and minimal and it makes me wish I experimented more into that sort of style.
Again, not really something I like, but as the objective of this workshop was to experiment I believe I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and tried to create something that I never have. Looking at it now I think I could have aligned the text with the title, possibly position the circle more towards the vertical header.
It’s good to keep track of certain mistakes as I could work on them and develop better work in the future.