Understanding the principle of liking and knowing how to use it in your marketing and on your website can give you an unfair advantage over the competition.
The gestalt principles describe when and how our minds see different visual elements as being part of a greater whole.
Here’s everything you need to know about the gestalt principles, plus all other important principles and theories that can supercharge your marketing and influence people to buy your products or services.
What are the gestalt principles?
When we look at the world, our minds strive to make sense of what we see. The gestalt principles describe the different ways that our minds perceive that order. Among other things, the gestalt principles describe when and how our minds see different visual elements as being part of a greater whole. There are ten primary Gestalt principles: simplicity, figure-ground, proximity, similarity, common fate, symmetry, continuity, closure, common region, and element connectedness.
Simplicity refers to the idea that the first time we see something, our minds try to see it in its simplest form. For example, in a photo of a person composed of many photos, simplicity means we immediately see the person rather than the tiny individual photos, which happen to be photos of people.
Figure-ground describes how our minds try to find what part of an image is the figure (or subject) and which part is the ground (or background). When used in design, figure-ground can be a handy tool to create visual tension, excitement, and interest.
The Gestalt principle of proximity says that we perceive objects that are close to each other as being part of a group. This principle is used throughout design and is a powerful way to help create visual order. There are countless examples of proximity at work in design, from icons that have labels to e-commerce sites with products placed close to their prices.
The principle of similarity is just as it sounds: objects that are similar are seen together as a group.
Common fate may sound like something dire, but it refers to how we perceive items in motion. Things moving in the same direction appear to belong to the same group. A good example of this is watching how flocks of birds fly together. The birds flying in the same direction look like they are in the same group, and ones flying in a different direction do not.
When we look at something, our minds crave examples of symmetry. Symmetry creates a sense of harmony and order which are things we naturally desire. In general, we have a bias towards symmetrical things. We find people with symmetrical faces and bodies more beautiful. The same bias exists in design. Symmetrical designs feel more harmonious and easier to take in.
Closure is a fun principle because it plays with the idea that our minds want to complete what we see. Many logos use this principle to create dynamic imagery out of very little. A famous example of closure in effect is the FedEx logo, which uses the space between the E and the X to create an arrow. Once you’ve had it pointed out (pardon the pun), you can never un-see it. Closure is effective because it uses the viewer’s mind to fill in the gaps, which often makes the design more striking and memorable.
Common region is the principle that items located within the same area are perceived to be together. We’ve seen many examples that use common region to help visually group related items, such as the Facebook homepage, CNN headlines, and the photo of birds flying in formation. Common region is very similar to the principle of proximity except it can be applied to larger groups of items.
Element connectedness states that items connected by a visual element (such as a box or line) are considered to be a group. Navigation sections are a good example of this in effect – many navigation areas use a box or set of lines to separate the navigation from the rest of the layout visually.
What are the core principles of marketing psychology?
There are many important principles, theories, and concepts used in marketing psychology. These include:
- the principle of reciprocity
- information-gap theory
- social proof theory
- and loss aversion marketing
You can research each of these principles, plus dozens of other key principles of marketing psychology, via the links below.
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