Gestalt – German

– an organised whole that is perceived as more than the sum of its parts.


Gestalt is how your eyes and brain respond to every day things and how you understand them. By applying individual objects together like desks, a board, projector and chairs, your brain will work out that it is a classroom.


Emergence- the whole is identified before the parts think looking for a friend in a crowd first you see the whole crowd then you distinguish people who look similar to your friend.

Reinfication- our mind fills in the gaps this can be done with sounds, or just implying something is going to happen people will assume or imagine a scenario. Directing people in this way leaving them to fill in the gaps or even directing them in a different way this will stay in the mind.

Multi- Stability- the mind seeks familiarity if you see something completely radical I you will not want to engage. This is not to say your work should be the same but radical work need a hook of some sort for people to accept it.

Invariance- We are very god a recognising similarities & differences and will always look for them.


The Gestalt Principles:

Similarity: this occurs when objects look similar to one another. People perceive this as a pattern.



Continuation: this occurs when the eye is compelled to move through one object and continues through another.



Closure: this happens when an object looks incomplete or the space is not enclosed. If enough of the shape is filling up the space, people automatically fill the space the see the overall shape.


Proximity: this is when elements are placed close together. This is perceived as a group.


The mixed circles on the left are placed without proximity. They are shown as separate shapes. When the circles are given closer proximity on the right, unity occurs. As they are still separate shapes, they as now seen as one group.


Figure and Ground: the eye differentiates an object form its surrounding area – form, silhouette or a shape is naturally seen as a figure, while the surrounding area is seen as ground. By trying to balance figure and ground can make the image more clear. Using unusual figure or ground relationships can add interest to the image.




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