Grouping is the main focus of Gestalt theory. Wertheimer gave this theory in 1922. It is related to the visual perceptions, visual recognition of figures instead of curves and lines. The phrase used for explaining the Gestalt theory is “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts”. Gestalt theory can be applied directly to problem-solving and perception.
There are four primary factors that determine grouping. They are:
- Proximity: Proximity refers to the closeness. Elements are grouped according to their proximity. Close edge, overlap, touch and combining are the types of relationships.
- Similarity: the elements that are similar in some respect are grouped. Unity can be achieved significantly using this concept. Three basic similarity types are color, shape and size.
- Closure: the missing pieces that constitute a composition are supplied by mind. For instance, we know that what face consists of. So when you are familiar with a face, it can be recognized even if a part of it is hidden but the significant features are present.
- Simplicity: Items or elements are organized and managed according to the regularity, smoothness and symmetry.
The theory is based on three principles which are:
- Relationship among the elements must be known and the learners should discover the nature of the problem.
- Inconsistencies and gaps are the most important stimulus for learning.
- Instructions should be based upon closure, similarity, proximity and simplicity.
Visual world is very complex and strategies are continuously developed to cope up with this complexity and confusion. Mind always want to find the simplest solution and grouping is one of it. Stronger the grouping, stronger is the gestalt. It is an important tool available for the designer for creating unity. Too much unity or uniformity in a design can make design look repetitive and too much variety will make it look chaotic.
These two i.e. unity and variety must be balanced in a design. Understanding gestalt will help the designers to control them. It is essential to see the overall structure of the problem to solve it. A certain region which is crucial is focused so that grouping can be done efficiently. Sometimes, a deeper structural view is required.