The Gestalt principles describes how we see objects by grouping similar elements, recognising patterns and simplifying complex images. ‘Gestalt’ is German for ‘unified whole’. The Gestalt principles are a set of laws that seek order, arrange and make sense of complex images or design.
There are seven principles of Gestalt theory; proximity, similarity, enclosure, symmetry, closure, continuity, connection, figure and ground.
The Gestalt Principles came from 1920s’ psychology. The Gestalt Principles of grouping represents the joint work of early 20th-century German psychologists Max Wertheimer, Kurt Koffka and Wolfgang Kohler. These psychologists wanted to understand how humans typically gain meaningful perceptions from chaotic stimuli around them.
The Gestalt theory is important for design because it helps understand the viewers mind and how they will react and make sense of the piece. The gestalt theory will help the designer determine what elements are most effective in a particular situation through visual hierarchy, background shading, gradients, and grouping similar items and distinguish different ones. Also, it will help to influence our visual perception, which allows designers to direct our attention to specific points of focus, get us to take specific actions, and create behavioural change.