It was determined that the mind brings meaning to the images that are seen by our eyes by understanding individual elements as part of one whole. Designers quickly understood the benefits of incorporating these principles into their work.

There are more than 10 Gestalt Principles in total, many of which overlap. Today, we’re going to focus on five of the most widely recognized principles and how they can completely transform a website by bringing a sense of dynamism and order to what would otherwise simply be a series of seemingly disparate elements.

1. Similarity

According to the Gestalt principle of similarity, a mind will perceive objects as belonging together if they share visual characteristics. Even though these objects do not share many characteristics and may be very different from one another, they create a sense of unity through their similarities.

This principle plays a key role in web design, specifically because objects that appear dissimilar to others are naturally going to stand out. Using this approach, designers can easily create focal points within a cohesive design that guides the viewer’s eye.

2. Proximity

The Gestalt principle of proximity states that shapes and/or objects that are positioned close to each other will appear to form distinct groups. Take a moment to visualize nine small squares. If they are positioned randomly and without proximity, the brain will perceive them as individual shapes. However, if they are positioned in three rows of three squares, the brain will perceive them as a single square shape.

The principle comes into play in web design in numerous ways, notably when menu links are placed close together, which creates a sense of clarity and unity that improves usability.

3. Closure

As humans, we prefer complete shapes and as a result, the mind will automatically fill in any gaps between images that may be preventing us from seeing a complete image. There are numerous ways in which you can apply the Gestalt principle of closure in web design to get excellent results.

Take the WWF logo, for example. The panda isn’t a panda; it’s a collection of shapes that provide enough visual input for the mind to fill in the gaps.

4. Symmetry

The Gestalt principle of symmetry is arguably one of the most important principles to remember. Viewers should never be able to perceive a sense of imbalance or that any missing elements are throwing off the whole design.

While this isn’t to say that asymmetry can’t ever be used, when a viewer is spending time trying to figure out what seems ‘off’ or ‘wrong’ they won’t be engaging with the messaging in the intended ways.

5. Continuation

Somewhat similarly to the Gestalt principle of closure, the mind prefers to see an ‘entire’ or continuous object rather than separate lines. Take a moment to visualize a simple cross shape. The mind will naturally perceive it as a single shape and not four separate lines which meet in the middle.

In web design, lines and arrows can therefore be used to great effect to guide the viewer’s attention towards the most important on-page elements.

Looking for Web Design in Toronto?

If now is the time for you to partner with a team delivering professional web design in Toronto, it may take some work to find the right fit. In addition to ensuring that your chosen team understands your business and your objectives, their work must leverage the power of these core design principles.