Saturday, February 26, 2011

Homework-Gestalts and designers

As a designer why is it important to be aware of the Gestalt Principles?

Its important for designers  to be aware of the Gestalt Principles because generally they tell how the human eye or rather mind and eye perceives things..The theories attempt to describe how people tend to organise visual elements  into groups when certain principles are applied...or how the mind organises visual information..

Understanding the theories is important because on one hand once I do i will be able to design things that are in harmony with the principles, some even say that the best designs are when proven theory works in harmony with art.Which is true i suppose but sounds as if it could get boring or rigid to me.. On the other hand I can manipulate some of  the principles in my designs, ie integrate a theory into my design but not follow it completely or twist it just a little bit...such that the effect is that when someone looks at it, they are unable to categorize it or organise it. This if done effectively could lend my design an element of mystery, or create discomfort in an individual enhancing its appeal.

Gestalt's principles can serve as some sort of guideline for a designer..Since we are designing things for humans we might as well be aware of how they will perceive them and use that to our advantage..! Further illustrating this;designs which involve the viewer are always better than ones that do not..take Gestalt's principle of closure for example..not  all the details of the entire picture or image that the artist is trying to convey are supplied..The viewer's mind participates by supplying the missing information. This of course makes the work of art more interesting,more appealing..Its not just there for the viewer to see..

Using Gestalt's principles such as closure, continuity,etc a designer is in a better position to decide what sort of impact he wants his design to make on the people who will see it.. Looking at another side of it though, a lot of designers tend to use Gestalt's theory without being aware of..its like it happens naturally..So one can argue that its not important to know Gestalt's theory..But I think you are likely to do a better job when you consciously try to implement the theories into your design and you are likely to take a shorter time anyway because you have some sort of guideline..I think its almost like learning to use a new learn faster if you use the gadget a lot and also if you read the manual..Not that Gestalt's theory is a "mandatory rule book" for designers but it does give a few guidelines..

A few examples that i find interesting..
I found this picture interesting the artist did not show the whole face, jus the side..i find myself wondering what she looks like if you can see her whole face..the way her garment fades into the disance als enhances the picture's appeal...
Charcaol Portrait of a Young Woman 1877John White - Branscombe, Devon

I like this painting probably more because its so serene than that it displays a number of Gestalt's principles..:)  The artist makes use of principles such as closure,proximity and continuity to bring out the scene .  he was successful in this as he managed to portray the scene as you would see it in real can almost feel the sun on your back and smell the flowers and the ocean..

You might be  thinking, yes but this is not necessarily here is one more..

I found this piece of antique jewellery really intriguing... your eyes are drawn to the middle  and they  go around the edges as your mind tries to identify them and to give some sort of name to the designs.. you spend time looking at it..(and of course the more time you spend looking the more you are likely to like it and buy it..)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Gestalt's theory. 18-02-11

Six Laws of Perception:

1. Proximity:
Fruitbowl.jpg (18212 bytes)
The figures above illustrates the Gestalt theory of Proximity. The bowl of fruit is seen as a bowl of fruit-one whole item whereas if the fruit were placed separately on the table one would see them as individual fruits. The for gemstones are placed close together at the points..this gives the image of a butterfly with its wings spread. If the gemstones  had been placed at intervals around the ring it would not look like a butterfly.

2. Similarity:

Objects similar to each other tend to be seen as a whole..This is a picture of a thousand cups quarter-full of something put together..but when you look at it you don't instantly think "cups". Your mind tries to come up with something to call the picture..Things like sea, columns came to my mind.

The pendant above shows several silver 'columns' placed together on to a gold circle. The pendant looks like a flower a daisy to be specific  because of the similarity of the "columns" in shape. They look like petals.

3. Figure and Ground:

The tree is the figure and the sunset,clouds etc is the ground.

The rings above illustrate this law perfectly. The hearts act as the figure and the rest of the rings is "ground" when the eye looks at it.

4. Symmetry/Asymmetry:

When we see objects we tend to see them as symmetrical shapes that form around their centre.. When one looks at this they "see" a logo and not necessarily the two right angles put together.

The ring above depicts the law in the way the the stones that form the petals are grouped together around the ring. This is what gives the flower shape..If the stones were placed around the ring at different points, the stones would look like something else.

5. Continuity:

The metal rectangles above continue in one direction forming an unbroken line. This is clearly continuity.
The necklace above is made using small chains continuously and repeats the same pattern continuously on the thicker parts of the chain.

6. Closure:
Occurs when an object is incomplete or when a space is not completely enclosed.
When I look at this picture I see a house with a chimney and a porch but in reality the picture shows blocks of different sizes put together in some pattern. The law of continuity is shown in that my mind tends to supply the missing bits of information to in order to make a complete picture.
This pendant is designed with circles- incomplete..but the human mind perceives them as circles because enough of the shape is given to indicate the whole.