Gestaltpsychology

June 6, 2008
    Gestaltpsychology is a range of design principles about how elements group together. The principles go back to the seminal work by Max Wertheimer “Untersuchungen zur Lehre von der Gestalt” in Psychologische Forschung, 1923, vol.4, and are based on the law of ‘Prägnanz’ (pithiness), which proposes that a set of ambiguous elements (elements that can be interpreted in different ways), will most probably be interpreted in the simplest way.

  1. Proximity: Elements that are closer together are perceived to be more related than elements that are farther apart.
  2. Similarity: Elements that are similar are perceived to be more related than elements that are dissimilar
  3. Enclosure: Elements that are enclosed by anything (line, colour or alike) are perceived as belonging together
  4. Continuity: The mind contines visual, auditory, and kinetic patterns.
  5. Closure: A tendency to perceive a set of individual elements as a single, recognizible pattern
  6. Figure-ground: Elements are perceived as either figures (objects of focus) or ground (the rest of the perceptual field).
  7. Connection: Elements that are connected (e.g. by a line) are perceived as a group.
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