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The Theories of Gestalt
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The Theories of Gestalt


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  • 1. The Theories of Gestalt Journalism 390, Spring 2011 Credit: Spokane Falls Link:
  • 2. SimilarityThe example above (containing 11 distinct objects)appears as as single unit because all of the shapeshave similarity.Unity occurs because the triangular shapes at thebottom of the eagle symbol look similar to the shapesthat form the sunburst.
  • 3. Similarity (anomally)When similarity occurs, an object can be emphasized ifit is dissimilar to the others. This is called anomally.The figure on the far right becomes a focal pointbecause it is dissimilar to the other shapes.
  • 4. ContinuationContinuation occurs when the eye is compelled tomove through one object and continue to anotherobject.Continuation occurs in the example above, because theviewers eye will naturally follow a line or curve. Thesmooth flowing crossbar of the "H" leads the eyedirectly to the maple leaf.
  • 5. ClosureClosure occurs when an object is incomplete or aspace is not completely enclosed. If enough of theshape is indicated, people percieve the whole by fillingin the missing infomation.Although the panda above is not complete, enough ispresent for the eye to complete the shape. When theviewers perception completes a shape, closureoccurs.
  • 6. ProximityProximity occurs when elements are placed closetogether. They tend to be perceived as a group.The nine squares above are placed without proximity.They are perceived as separate shapes. When thesquares are given close proximity, unity occurs. Whilethey continue to be separate shapes, they are nowperceived as one group.
  • 7. Common Fate (akaFigure and Ground) FIGURE FThe eye differentiates an object from its surroundingarea. A form, silhouette, or shape is naturrallyperceived as figure (object), while the surroundingarea is perceived as ground (background). Balancingfigure and ground can make the perceived imagemore clear. Using unusual figure/ground relationshipscan add interest and sublety to an image.FigThe word above is clearly perceived as figure with thesurrounding white space ground.
  • 8. Common Fate (akaFigure and Ground)In this image, the figure and ground relationshipschange as the eye perceives the the form of a shadeor the silhouette of a face.