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The Invisible Triangle

Test your eyes: Do you see a triangle?

Fact: There is no triangle.

This is a Kanizsa triangle, an optical illusion—that triangle isn’t really there. That’s the gestalt law of closure.

If you’ve been paying any attention in your design classes, then there’s no way you haven’t come across some mention of gestalt. In the design world, gestalt is synonymous with organizing and grouping elements together. I first came across this concept not in my art classes, but in my introduction to psychology.

I learned that gestalt theory revolves around our perception of visuals as a whole, rather than a sum of their parts—because we perceive the entire arrangement together, we can easily see the ‘invisible’ triangle. The laws developed are the laws of: proximity, similarity, continuity, closure, symmetry, common fate, good gestalt, and past experience. As designers we take these psychological concepts into account and influence what our audience see when we create compositions that work.

Master the psychology of the mind and become a master of design.

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