Gestalt Composition

Final Outcome

Print / Illustration
2013
Individual Project

About the Project

This project was done so we could explore how objects and space can be used to communicate words or feelings through their placement in relation to other objects and space itsself. We learned how Gestalt’s principles and basic visual vocabulary could be used to describe our pieces. What we were trying to do with just black boxes on five four inch by four inch white squares was convey the words: order, tension, congestion, whimsy, and motion. The final piece had to exemplify Gestalt’s principles. This piece is directed to other students learning about communication design as well as professors and teachers of communication design.

Project Process

The Beginning (1)

The Beginning (1)

The Beginning (2)

The Beginning (2)

We started with brainstorming: what we thought these words should look like, what they reminded us of, and how we could communicate those thoughts with black boxes. As I drafted my ideas, more ideas grew out of those ideas, while other ideas came completely on their own.

Order

Order

This is what Order ultimately became. At the beginning, you can see that I had 5 squares instead of 4. However, more and more I thought about it, 4 seemed more stable. What this illustration is four squares in a four by four white square. The four squares all have an area of 1 inch squared, giving the total area 4 inches squared. There is an equilibrium with this piece that is calming to the eye. There is a clear relationship between figure and ground. Appealing to mathematicians, this piece closely resembles the identity matrix (each black square represents a 1 and empty white space represents a 0. The identity matrix is is very pleasing because its inverse is itself, and matrix calculations on it are very simple.

Tension

Tension

For this piece, I very much liked my initial illustration. I used the small black box to break the equilibrium of the equal white space in the four corners. The biggest problem I faced with this piece was how the small square should be rotated in order to make the piece not seem awkward. It is dangling, causing some discomfort to the audience, as it is being held by a thin, unstable connection.

Congestion

Congestion

This piece is also very similar to my first illustration. I thought of this while looking at my first sketch for congestion. While it communicated congestion very well, it felt very messy. I wanted a simpler piece, and I decided to do exactly that. I simplified the piece to only four squares, with the focus on their interaction. The rotation in this piece was also very critical. Without the perfect rotation of the squares, it would closely resemble order. However, the subtle clash of the squares have isomorphic correspondence to congestion and crowded spaces.

Whimsy

Whimsy

When I first saw whimsy, I had no idea what it meant. The dictionary definition gave me something odd, or playful. My favorite idea that popped into my head was an oddtown. Here, the two side buildings on the bottom are the base, and they are stable. However, the other buildings are all slanted, or have odd proportions, giving an odd, playful feeling. This piece was interesting, because I used squares to create different shaped to make “odder” buildings.

Motion

Motion

This piece corresponds to a block being flipped in a projectile motion. The piece uses the principles of physics to create a very real representation of a projectile’s motion. It also uses continuation to allow the user to visualize the block’s motion further off the page. In this piece, placement and rotation were critical. It was difficult to make the block look like a natural projectile, and took a lot of small tweaks to get right. I also wanted the perfect amount of repetition so the user could visualize the continuation, but no more.

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