The BEST Graphic Design Theory

There’s one graphic design theory that I use on pretty much all of my designs and that’s because it’s just totally awesome. These advertising posters by Adidas make use of the theory. This UI layout makes use of the theory. I hope that you want to make use of it too because it really is truly so effective on graphic designs.

Firstly, in simple terms what exactly is the gestalt theory it suggests that the brain does all kinds of weird and wonderful things. When presented with a complex group of images or assets. It essentially attempts to organize them on a subconscious level. But I hear you, you’re wondering what does that really mean? And why is it so important to us designers?

We’re going to look at the six different parts of the gestalt theory. But it’s important to remember that each part is different. But they do form themselves around a single base theory that the human brain, subconsciously functions in a very specific way. The first part of the gestalt theory we’re going to look at is the continuation. Take a look at this Adidas poster with the basketball player.

Notice how the basketball frame arches over to the player itself. The eye naturally follows this path, but then here’s an American football example. And you can see the powder explosion has streaks pointing towards the Adidas logo. Drawing the eye to that location.

Adidas made an entire series of posters exploring and exploiting this part of the gestalt theory.

It also can be seen in logo design. An example here from amazon that leads your eye from a to z. Now if you want to control where your audience looks next. Then consider this area of gestalt theory. You might ask yourself, why is this important at all. Well if you look back at the Adidas posters. We can tell the designer actually thought beforehand. How the viewer was going to interact with the design itself.

He or she wanted the viewer to travel from the American football player’s head over towards the tagline. Then hopefully finish on the brand logo itself. So that they leave the design with the brand firmly in mind.

Next is Figure and Ground but also closure is very similar, so I’m going to put them together. Essentially this is the way your brain subconsciously processes negative space. It’s why when you see the CNBC logo. You see the body of a peacock and not just some random white space. How people can notice an arrow in the FedEx logo.

This is the brain making sense of a collection of design elements. And a clever designer can hack the brain from the viewpoint of figure and ground. That is if they want to communicate something on their design that uses negative space.

It’s a great way to add in kind of secret messages or hidden meanings into your designs. And it’s something that when the viewer actually sees it in a design. They kind of feel accomplished and intelligent. And also they think the design itself is clever when they do find that kind of hidden meaning. Again this is on a completely subconscious level.

Thirdly we have symmetry and order. Before you think that this is something you already understand you might want to think again. Why is it important to consider symmetry and order on your design? Why is that even a thing? Well, the gestalt principle says that a design composition should not provide a sense of disorder or imbalance.

Because then the viewer will waste time trying to locate the missing element or fix the problem. As opposed to actually focusing on the message or the instruction. A graphic design needs to deliver a message and if the viewer is there trying to solve a subconscious problem. Then your design has a problem.

Order can be as simple as making use of balance symmetrical or asymmetrical. On this website UI we have the main eye-catching element on the left and then the info on the right. But also the content on the right is balanced and split into different groups. Gestalt says a design should have good clear form so your message doesn’t make the viewer confused.

Unless that is what you’re trying to do anyway. But let’s keep moving on to something else that helped my designs become ultra-organized and ultra-effective.

Take a look at this app UI layout.

Notice how in a large blue square on the left we have three similar size squares of the same color. Then below that, we have profile pictures of the same size circles. And we can see other examples of this on the right.

This is the gestalt principle of similarity. When you mix objects with high degrees of similarity to each other. The brain then devotes time and energy to creating a link between the similar objects. So then it can understand their relationship with each other. In good starts, similar elements are visually grouped. regardless of their proximity to each other. They can be grouped by Color, Shape or Size.

You will begin to notice this everywhere you look. As you can see on this website design with the red icons below. Use this principle when you want the viewer to link objects together with a relationship. Even though they are spread out across your design. And as you might have noticed by now the gestalt theory is a collection of theories and principles unified into one single theory.

But it’s really important to remember also that these theories have a core principle. And that is the human brain subconsciously interprets visual stimuli. In a very specific way that designers can make use of. Something that you might know about that gestalt theory talks about is proximity. Again this goes back to how our brains process visual stimuli.

If you want to take your designs to the next level. Then think about how your audience’s minds actually interact with your work. And proximity says that objects that are grouped together in close proximity share the same relationship despite their appearance. The best example of this can be seen in UI layouts. This website has a group on the left with the title body text and the call-to-action button. Below that is a separate group and then on the right another separate group. The navigation bar at the very top is also its own group.

Now you want to place objects in close proximity that share relationships together. The viewer reads the body text and then possibly they want to learn more. So they see the button just below that they can click. As textbook gets stopped hacking your brain. And as you can see gestalt theory talks about various different design principles. But they’re encompassed with the idea that the human brain subconsciously does certain things. And designers can take advantage of those certain things.

Now you might know that I’m really a big fan of nice juicy motion graphics. And also you might know that I’m a very busy person with a very tight schedule.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.