Gestalt Principles of Design

Designers have been preoccupied with the impact of psychology on their profession for a long time. A brief overview of some of the most crucial design elements in psychology. The Gestalt principles are a series of guidelines that describe how their minds perceive visual information. Gestalt principles are essential to know. They are the basis of everything for designers. They define how people see objects. It is a part of the fresh series on the principles of design that can be used as a refresher to veteran designers and a reference point for newcomers to the design field.

One of the significant goals of design is to resolve issues. Gestalt Principles help with UI/UX design services to make order from chaos, focus on essential elements, and communicate a wealth of information through design without simultaneously overwhelming the user with too much information. 

When used correctly, they create purposeful, simple designs that are easy to comprehend and digest. Designers who are aware of these Principles can create visual cues that are simple to follow.

What is Gestalt Theory?

Humans are naturally organized. Designers constantly try to create order and structure in the world around us. This inclination helps us deal with things that seem less organized than we’d prefer. In the past, this inclination towards order allowed their forefathers to manage complex and often chaotic environments, creating something more manageable and sustainable.

Consider a chaotic splatter painting, for example. When designers first view the work, their mind immediately attempts to create order in the chaos. Instead of individual paint splatters randomly sprayed onto the canvas, designers look at the entire painting.

Why is Gestalt Theory Important for Designers?

Gestalt is a psychological theory that guides designers to create more effective and aesthetically pleasing designs. These principles allow designers to tap into the subconscious of their target audience by anticipating how their audience will view a logo, layout, or web page.

The principles of Gestalt can be applied to any visual, such as posters, logos packaging, websites, applications, and more. One way to think about Gestalt when designing is to think about how the design could be seen in the context of a whole. This allows the designer to focus on the overall effect of a design instead of getting bogged down in the details.

What Are the Principles of Gestalt Theory?

Principles of Gestalt Theory

Similar concepts of perception, like Common Fate, have also been incorporated into Gestalt theory in recent years and are particularly significant for UI/UX templates.


The general principle of similarity explains that elements similar are more closely related to different elements. Designers perceive similarity using colors, shapes, forms, or styles.

An easy example is an element group that shares the same shape but has two different colors within the group.


Reifying an abstract object is making it appear more natural or tangible. In Gestalt psychology, this means dealing with the negative space surrounding the stimulus. When four angles of 90 degrees face each other against a white background, the negative space between the angles will be seen as an equilateral triangle.

This principle is partly due to the brain’s natural inclination to examine the shape of objects to identify them. Take three angles, and you’ll only see the other L. However, it’ll be difficult not to notice the square when all is visible.

For a physical illustration, consider the countless photos uploaded on social media, with two hands forming the form of a type shape that is condensed C shape. Each hand is meaningless by itself; however, it creates the heart shape when joined together.


Like the reification principle, Emergent Construction constructs a complex scene using smaller pieces. To clarify the distinction, Reification is creating a form using negative space. In contrast, smaller pieces or negative space may cause Emergent Construction.

There are two types of Emergent. A weak form of Emergent occurs when a more oversized shape or image is created, but the individual components retain their distinct features. In solid Emergent, the mix of the elements is so complete that they cease to be accurate.

Compare the traffic flow on a road and an unending river. It is possible to see cars as distinct parts of the highway, but you can’t observe the individual molecules of the river.


The 12 lines forming an opaque cube also show the effects of multistability. When the 12 lines create the cube, each of the four lines forms a square shape. It is also possible to view the entire cube from various angles.

The ability to shift from one view to another is multistability. One of the most exciting aspects of multistability is that brains see these various forms and angles without losing the coherence of anyone. Many optical illusions are based on this principle. However, imitating this particular object design will likely need to be clarified for users.


Even if designers can’t move or change their size, they can identify objects shown from different angles. Their brains recognize whether two things are identical, even if distorted due to differing lighting, stretching, or changing size. It is also possible to discern the difference between objects physically, even if they’re identical and have different distortions.

Repeating patterns depict identical objects precisely the same. However, they can observe invariance by rotating patterns that alternate between images and a rotated or reversed version. Although designers appreciate the distinction, they can easily accept that both patterns depict the same object.

The Program of Gestalt Design Principles

The above quote summarizes Gestalt. When humans look at an object group, designers see its entireness before they can see each object. Designers perceive the whole as more significant than the sum of its parts, even if the parts are separate entities. Many key ideas are the basis of Gestalt.

Law of Closure

Their brains perceive an object as a whole, even if some of its outline or shape is missing. Designers also tend to complete forms that need to include pieces. This phenomenon is known as closure.

Gestaltists believe the human brain can fill the objects’ gaps to create more regularity. Without closure, even a piece’s tiniest deviation or absence could render an object insignificant and useless to their brains.

Law of Proximity

Things that appear closely related form into groups in their brains. This can be useful for counting objects quickly and sorting groups of various objects without rearranging them. These objects grouped may also create instantly identifiable shapes for us, like squares, rectangles, or rectangles.

This law, called proximity, simplifies the presentation of numerical data and the organization of many options into an easy-to-understand format law called proximity.

Law of Symmetry

Their minds love symmetry. Groups that contain an equal number of similar objects allow them to form groups of two, which creates a sense of being in order. Although they may not be linked by any means, the two things facing each other will likely be thought of as creating an equilateral.

This law applies even when two objects are quite a distance away. This can assist in calculating quickly. You could use this principle to highlight data that lies between two objects that have a sense of the appearance of symmetry.

Law of Similarity

When similar objects are seen in the same space, designers tend to group them. For instance, a scattering of dots with different colors can form an outline if all the red dots shape a square since their brains automatically perceive each red dot as being linked.

While they often work according to the design, the rules of proximity and similarity can also create an order when they occur in tandem. One can be more dominant than the other, meaning the distance between objects or their resemblances will be apparent.

Law of Common Fate

The most famous Gestalt principle is, by far, “the common law.” Fate explains how developers arrange objects that appear on the same route and towards the same goal.

In real life, traffic flow along the road can be considered. Cars that travel north and south are seen as distinct groups, and bird flocks are considered a group due to this concept.

Law of Continuity

Due to the continuous law, designers can see the whole object, even if another is in the same space. As their brains fill in the gaps, they can also fill in areas of things that have not been visible to the viewer. The law also states that perceiving objects as an entire object is less probable if there is an abrupt or dramatic shift in direction.

Interruptions in continuity are among the most frequent ways of causing frustration to a user. In many cases, being unable to discern a portion of a piece will look like it has been ripped down, but not as an intentional decision.

Law of Past Experience

Humans are a learning species, and designers build their understanding of past events that have occurred to their species. In the abstract, this means that designers begin to form an opinion about an object from the moment they look at it, anticipating that it will possess an unchangeable set of characteristics.

Regarding the fundamentals of design, it is possible to think of web design. Designers didn’t have any rules at the beginning of the UI/UX design process, and web pages were messy, which is bizarre to them now. However, experience from the past helps create stereotypes that help make new designs much easier to work with.

Design Fundamentals & Gestalt Principles

Although they’re used in many ways across the web and in product design, these Gestalt principles are more than a step-by-step procedure for producing the design. They’re more guidelines on how their brain works to accumulate data. Since designers constantly strive to design products that people can comprehend quickly and utilize without difficulty, learning the best way to implement these rules is essential.

The good thing is that these guidelines are universally relevant, meaning that designers and users must agree on them. Many designers can tell any issue or problem that appears slightly off because the design does not conform to Gestalt principles.

Logo Design

From the elaborate logos of the 19th century onwards to the minimalist, slimmed-down versions that are so prevalent today, Logos are among the most evident techniques in which Gestalt principles are utilized. Take this example of the IBM logo, which features horizontal lines removed. What better way can you demonstrate the closing law?

App Development

UX/UI designers working in the field of apps usually have lots of data to display. The law of previous experience lets them rely on the hamburger menu, which many people have seen.

Popular apps that include photos and user-generated content typically benefit from the principle of proximity to display an image overlayed on the background. The user sees the picture floating over the feed as they still see it.


Designers want to direct users to some central point, usually an essential piece of information or call to action. If you wish to discover the button that allows users to buy or sign up for a service, you must create an interface that intuitively brings the user to where they need to go.

One illustration of this is display banners or pop-ups, which annoy users and impede their ability to use the site. Their experience has taught them to shut down or minimize the windows as soon as they appear. However, the product or tool for comparing services that separate the information with color-coded boxes relies on an idea of commonalities to lessen the user’s mental burden.

GIFs & Infinite Animation

The principle of common fate is always in play in the endless animated sequences that have recently become such an enormous graphic design trend. The animations are often amusing, prompting viewers to split the content into various groups according to their likely place of travel, only for the perspective shift so that it is clear that all of the pieces are together to create one product, usually an image.

The Infinite Scroll

Sites on social media that want to increase the amount of time users spend on their websites turn into endless scrolls, which is why news feeds can never end. The law of continuity is in play with this design element because it is apparent that the feed of news, regardless of how deep you reach, is perceived as one continuous object, even though it continually disappears from its top before returning to the bottom.

New Product Design

Businesses that were once youthful start-ups are now aging, in some cases, for more than two decades. This requires rethinking or re-designing the products, including considering hiring professional UI/UX designers. However, since users have developed brand loyalty and have expectations based on previous version changes, making too drastic changes could be disastrous.


The principles of Gestalt are essential to comprehend. They form the basis of everything designers do as designers and define how people see objects.

The above principles are relatively simple to comprehend. Most of the time, the definition and picture are likely all that are needed to know about the idea. However, understanding the basic concepts of these concepts is different from knowing how they impact the design.

Utilizing these concepts, designers can develop efficient and cohesive designs, ranging from character design in games to layouts for websites and banking services. Examples of their practical use and demonstrate their importance in creating visually pleasing and user-friendly experiences.

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