Figure ground relationship gestalt

Gestalt Principles

figure ground relationship gestalt

Introduction to Gestalt principles and specific info for figure-ground Gestalt Principles of Perception - 1: Figure Ground Relationships. Gestalt is also known as the "Law of Simplicity" or the "Law of Pragnanz" (the Figure-ground refers to the relationship between an object and its surround. In this image, the figure and ground relationships change as the eye perceives the the form of a shade or the.

Functional brain imaging shows that when people see the Rubin image as a face, there is activity in the temporal lobe, specifically in the face-selective region [4] [5] Perceptual process[ edit ] How does the brain decide in a visual scene which item is the figure and which are part of the ground?

This perceptual decision can be based on many cues, all of which are of a probabilistic nature. For instance, size helps us distinguish between the figure and the ground, since smaller regions are often but not always figures. Object shape can help us distinguish figure from ground, because figures tend to be convex. Movement also helps; the figure may be moving against a static environment. Color is also a cue, because the background tends to continue as one color behind potentially multiple foreground figures, whose colors may vary.

Edge assignment also helps; if the edge belongs to the figure, it defines the shape while the background exists behind the shape. But it's at times difficult to distinguish between the two because the edge that would separate figure from ground is really part of neither, it equally defines both the figure and the background. In this light, Bayesian figure—ground segmentation models have been proposed to simulate the probabilistic inference by which the brain may distinguish figure from ground.

Figure—ground reversal may be used as an intentional visual design technique in which an existing image's foreground and background colors are purposely swapped to create new images.

figure ground relationship gestalt

A classic illustration of this is the image of a Rubin vase have a look at the image above. This tends to be a black vase that is set centrally over a square white background. Down the middle, it has five contours and four projections before it flares out again to cover most of the width of the bottom.

figure ground relationship gestalt

Ambiguous — In an ambiguous design, there is little distinction between the ground and the figure. At any point, a single element might be both figure and ground at the same time.


You can make your design ambiguous by blurring the boundaries between your ground and figure. Escher — a Dutch graphic artist - was a master at this. His designs tapped ambiguity to the maximum and, thanks to that, we have wonderful pictures of people climbing steps in buildings: Escher used ambiguity to make waterfalls flow around more buildings in an impossible way — the water initially flows downward, falling in places, follows a seemingly logical course, and then, mysteriously, flows up again.

Ambiguous designs are yours for the taking of your inspiration, whether you want to insert hidden writing, faces in profile that are also a single, different face, or faces made of fruity parts. The use of drop shadow and color creates the illusion of the lower blue menu being on a top layer, while the white menu remains part of the background. The background is a large and dominant image — the vista of a lake in a majestic mountain wilderness - but the content is clearly identifiable, thanks to the use of both space and contrast with the background.

Gestalt Figure Ground

This stops the background from overwhelming the content and distracting or confusing a visitor, who is probably joining in with the couple who sit with their backs to us to take in the view. The human eye likes to find simplicity and order in complex shapes — it prevents us from being overwhelmed by information overload.

Figure–ground (perception) - Wikipedia

Our eyes assemble the content blocks into a single page. We humans like to make quick sense of things that would otherwise be upsettingly disordered. We dislike flux and need to find meaning quickly. The eye can swiftly pick out any variances, and the user can quickly provide feedback on changes made — without the need for content.

When there is missing information in an image, the eye ignores the missing information and fills in the gaps with lines, color or patterns from the surrounding area to complete the image. The eye tells us otherwise.

figure ground relationship gestalt

The panda is incomplete there are no lines around the white areasbut our eyes perceive a whole panda despite this. It takes some effort to overcome and notice the otherwise random black shapes and spots that appear on every piece of white background we can eventually make ourselves see. For example, we look at grouped elements and see them as moving in a similar direction.

Above two of them, put a little arrowhead. Now, notice that these two circles are different from the others, but in the same way.

figure ground relationship gestalt

The elements do not have to be moving though they can bebut they must suggest motion for this law to work in your designs. Designing with the Law of Common Fate in Mind - The law of Common Fate plays an important role in design, for example, with nested menus and content.

figure ground relationship gestalt

Take the example of LinkedIn as shown in the image up there at the start. LinkedIn have used the law of common fate to build a relationship between sub-menus. When you move over a menu item, the sub-menu item moves in the same direction as the last.

  • The Law of Common Fate
  • Navigation menu
  • The Law of Prägnanz (or Simplicity)

This creates a link between sub-menus in the minds of the users. The Take Away The principles of perceptual organization defined by Gestalt Psychology provide us with valuable knowledge so we can design effective, efficient, and visually pleasing displays.