The figure-ground relationship is one of several principles referred to as Gestalt principles of perception. It asserts that the human perceptual system separates. Jun 11, Figure-ground perception involves simplifying a scene into a figure and background. Learn more about how we distinguish between figure and. Spiekermann calls “long-distance reading.” □□Combine: A strong relationship is created when elements are boxed. (Figure O) regardless of what other gestalt.
This is why most printed pages will use black ink on a white background. The figure the text is at maximum contrast with the ground the page. Contrast provides a distinct barrier between the two. This is why the readability of content can be impaired when there is little contrast between the text and the page — it becomes more difficult for us to distinguish the figure from the ground.
Have you ever wondered why you never find red text on a blue or gray screen?
The Laws of Figure/Ground, Prägnanz, Closure, and Common Fate - Gestalt Principles (3)
Contrast is the reason. Copyright terms and licence: The relationships between figure and ground can be classified into three categories: Stable — In the case of a stable figure, the figure will be clearly identifiable from the background, and one element clearly dominates the overall layout.
Reversible —In this case, the figure and background have near-equal density. This can be used to create visual illusions in both web design and art.
However, at any point in time, a reversible design will have a clear figure and a clear ground. 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. 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.
- The Law of Common Fate
- The Law of Prägnanz (or Simplicity)
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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.
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.
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.
Architectural Drawings | The Figure Ground — PORTICO
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. 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.
Non-visual[ edit ] Figure—ground perception can be expanded from visual perception to include abstract i. The actual ground is the figure.