Learning Activity – Gestalt Theory.

Learning Activities
  • Define the Gestalt Theory in your own words.
  • Page through a magazine or newspaper or browse the Internet and find a different logo for each of the Gestalt principles. Explain in your own words, which logos are showing which principles, motivate your answer.
  • Find examples of four themes of thinking, and explain your choices.



The Gestalt Theory defines when objects form or illustrate something in a group or pattern, the human brain often percieve as something recognisable or pleasing to the eye.

The term “Gestalt” Is terminology used in psychology  and it`s meaning is “unified whole”. The theory is based around visual perception and was developed by German psychologists in the 1920s. They describe how we as humans always tend to organize visual elements into groups and make connections, even if they are not visually present.


Figure :

In this image a simple silhuete of steve jobs in the apple logo is very powerful as it displays everything apple is about in the simplest of manners.


Proximity :

I thought this image was really cool as the shapes gather to create the corner of a brick wall, creating depth.

Proximity wall


Similarity :

Another image i really like as the shapes are predominantly the same, however arranged like this it is clearly the statue of liberty.

Statue of liberty Proximity


Continuation :

The amazon logo is a classic and it clearly illustrates the continuation in the logo with the arrow passing by in the shape of a smile.




Closure :

The FedEx logo is an example of closure with the “hidden” arrow.I never really thought about it before it was mentioned to me. However subliminally i have always known it was there.


Figure and Ground :

The sony walkman logo creates a depth with the shapes surrounding it.giving it an illusionry effect that it kind of rises from the wall or ground.



Themes of thinking.

Negative/white Space : My personal favoriute use of the Gestalt theory is good use of negative space, meaning something is not completely drawn out in the logo or illustration but the brain completes the pattern and the shape of the logo or drawing as it knows the patterns are connected in some way.

The most used example of this is for instance the World Wildlife Fund panda logo.

Another description of it is used alot in sketching and drawing portraits and is usually described as “indicating”. Example : i almost never fully draw the lips on a portrait or a drawing of a face, i indicate the lips, the reason for this is if you outline the entire set of the human lips it looks strange and fake in a way. There are however some instances where drawing the entire outline would work well for stylistic reasons (ie a clown, a model or someone wearing highly contrasting makeup).

Ockham`s Razor : Elements and factors that are not needed or seem superfluous should be removed. in this you reduce the risk of inconsistencies and confusion. This is very true in design as well as some designs can end up looking cluttered and in the end, not being noticed and just be seen as noise if it is overdone.

Graphic Impact : Graphics should create a visual impact and grab attention to reinforce comunication, without being too distracting or complicated. (Ie see Ockham`s Razor).
This is an effective way to comunicate  a message fast and simple if it is done correctly.

Scale : Scale is important for design work as scalability of the work done is paramount. A logo have to work on posters and boxes as well as on stamps and stickers. This is easy to forget when you sit on the computer and work on something while you zoom in and out. Readability is paramount in a design at any size.Thinking of this in the design process saves alot of hasle down the line if the logo is to be used for a new product.

Thank you for reading.





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