Week 4 Discussion – Mon/Wed

The Gestalt Principles of Design

Your first response MUST be at least 250 words in length. Your second responses MUST be no fewer than 75 words in length. Make sure you answer all parts of the discussion for full attendance credit.

First Response

Take a look at this Gestalt Principles of Design PowerPoint presentation. (Click on the link and download, then open, the PPT presentation.) Look at all the slides in normal view, and then answer these questions:

  1. What do you notice about them, when you are viewing them in normal view?
  2. Can you understand what is on each slide when you view it in normal view? Why not?

Now view it as a slide show. Take the time to read the text on the screen. Notice how the jumble in normal view changes once it is in slideshow view. Answer these questions after you’ve viewed the slideshow and read the speaker notes on the slides.

  1. What is the Gestalt Principle of Design?
  2. Would this be useful knowledge for you?
  3. How would you use these concepts in your presentation?
  4. What changed when you viewed it in normal view (pick one slide and talk about it.)
  5. How would you (if you would) change the design of this presentation? Why?
  6. Find and link a website that teaches more about Gestalt Principle of Design. Why is this site useful for presentations?

The second part of the discussion is mostly a reminder–make sure you create your presentation with an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. A presentation is just like a paper–it needs to make sense to your audience. In your own presentation, how is it structured? What is your introduction? What is in your body? What is your conclusion?

Second Response (2 of them!)

Do you agree with the person you are replying to? Why? How could they word their responses differently, so that the person who created the presentation can take it as constructive feedback? What I mean is this: Imagine the person who created this presentation is reading the responses. If you feel the person was a bit too mean on their answers, suggest a better way to word it. In a workplace, you have to know how to give constructive criticism that is helpful, not hurtful. Have they done this? Check out the link they submitted. Is it helpful? Does it include anything different from the site you linked to? What? One more thing–and I want everyone to answer this question: Think about the presentation and the way it was not colorful, did not use themes, a lot of animations, or transitions. It did not make it easy to read in normal view. Why? Why was it designed this way? Actually think about that a few moments. Think about some of the articles you have read online about good vs. bad presentations.

Due Dates

First response is due by Wednesday, January 29th by 6pm. BEFORE CLASS.

Second response (2 of them) are due by Monday, February 3rd by 6pm. BEFORE CLASS.


34 responses

  1. I felt at first look of the slides that they are messy, they overlapped, some were even crowded together. I couldn’t decipher the information because of all the mess. As I went through the slide show it all made sense and I could really see the information and how it relates to everyday life. I’ve seen many e-mails sent to me with these sort of “puzzles” for the eyes and mind. I feel that what we design as a presentation needs to make sense on the outline to keep the whole thing straight. If I looked at this outline and tried to remember all that was on it without the reference to each slide I would miss a lot of details and important information. I believe that if I used the concepts in my presentation that they would really have to do with what I was talking. I can see how these concepts could really grab your attention and maybe help to keep it. When I first looked at slide 5 with the three pictures I thought it was really too much stuff in one spot. When I watched as a slideshow it made sense and I was focused on the missing lines instead of the clutter. I think the only thing that I would do to this slideshow would be add color. Maybe animate it a little but I wouldn’t want to take away from the actual slideshow and the presentations information. I found many websites that showed a lot of pictures but I felt this web sight actually explained more about his theories.http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Gestalt_principles#Figure-ground_articulation I really was taken by surprise at how true it is on how your mind finished things like the panda pictures. I know that your mind doesn’t always need the middle letters in the word you are reading because your mind only sees the beginning and the end of the word. When people say “it’s mind over matter” they aren’t kidding.

    1. I do have to agree with what Susie said about this particular presentation. I think we all agree that this presentaion in normal slide view was just to clutttered, too much information to understand, and that to boring in that there was no color in any of the slides at all. I have to admit I have always had difficulty givng and receiving any kind of criticism. I know that constructive criticism is the easiset kind to accept , and is not to be attack on the person or to hurt their feelings in any way.
      Saying that the slides are messy is not a very kind word, however stating that the information in the slides was overlapping or crowded is a little easier to accept I think. Also saying that she couldn’t decpher the information because of the mess is a little harsh I think. The article that susie linked was very hard for me to understand, the gestalt principles were explained over my head, like I am not intelligent enought to understand the principles at all.
      The presentaion was just not easy to follow in normal view because it just seemed like it was thrown together in hurry with no thought to direction or flow. I think it was designed that way to make me think about what is a considered a bad presentation, and not what to do with mine.

      1. Saying the slides are messy is nicer than saying “to boring in that there was no color in any of the slides at all.” You could make that sound nicer by saying, “I found the lack of color and any animation to be detrimental to the effect of the presentation.” Of course, the presenter may say, “Well, it looks this way because I did not want to distract from my message to my audience, who will see it as a presentation and never view it in normal view.”

        How would you respond then?

        Also, your final thoughts, while they were answering the question (and thank you for answering that question!) were not done as though the person who created the presentation was reading this. This probably took hours and hours of work. A lot of thought was probably put into how the slides would come together during the presentation, and it was probably a great presentation, because the presentation isn’t about colors and graphics and flash (remember, our friend Mr. Tufte?) it’s about the message and how the message is given. A good PowerPoint presentation relies on the ability of the presenter more than it does on the PPT. Do you agree or disagree?

    2. I agree with you Suzie. When you first look at the presentation in normal view it looks quite jumbled. All the pictures were overlapping the words and each other and you can’t see anything. If the creator of the PowerPoint presentation were looking at the blog, it might be better to say that the slides might have had too much on each slide. If he were to give this presentation to someone to review, perhaps he could give an explanation to people who are looking at it in normal view telling them that the pictures will show up one by one during the show.

      1. I like your response here, saying the pictures overlap the words is a lot nicer than, “Everything is all jumbled together.” And you are right, if the creator was looking for someone to review it, then he or she should tell them how to “read” the presentation.

  2. When looking at the presentation in normal view some of the slides look very jumbled and messy. At first when viewing some of the slides you can’t understand what the information says because it has an image covering the words. Once you view it in the slideshow, it all comes together and makes sense, it flowed smoothly. The Gestalt Principle of Design refers to how we naturally see words or images that are individual as a whole when they are grouped in close proximity to one another. It also shows how we are able to figure out the image when most of the parts of it are incomplete. I hadn’t realized how often the principle was used, but after looking at the examples I see that it is something I see every single day. I think that this principle can be very useful when doing presentations. Using these principles, you can make a presentation that grabs your audience.
    When I looked at slide 2 in normal view, at first it made no sense to me. It had the picture of the Kia hamsters, an eagle, and a stick figure looking thing. I wasn’t sure how they fell under the similarity title, but once I watched the slide show I figured out how they worked. I understood how you can use the same object to make something stand out that you want the viewer to see, or just manipulate one shape by flipping it around to make an image.
    I like to use ehow.com a lot when I looking up information on things. They actually have a page that gives you pointers in how to use the Gestalt visual theory in your presentation http://www.ehow.com/how_8703636_use-gestalt-visual-theory.html .

    1. I thought the article Britney shared, How to Use the Gestalt Visual Theory was informative. I like the way the article explains how to emphasize words, ideas or concepts in the document and read through text that you aim to lay out on a page. Determine what the main messages are in the text and stick with the same subject I think it will help to keep the ideas of what you’re trying to convey easy to understand and consistent.

  3. When I’m looking at the slide show in normal view the words are all jumbled and overlapped and I cannot make sense of what the message means or what they are trying to say. Viewing it in slide show makes a lot of sense and I can understand what the messages convey. The Gestalt Principle of Design means “visual perception.” Yes, this will be useful for me it will help me when I’m creating my portfolio, resumes, cover letter etc. I would use these concepts in my presentation to keep it as consistent as I can and hope it makes sense to my audience, make sure my presentation has an introduction, a body, and a conclusion or closure. I would change the design by adding more color to the presentation color is more attractive and eye catching. Reading from the article link that I’ve included below, the Gestalt is a psychology term which means “unified whole”. It refers to theories of visual perception developed by German psychologists in the 1920”s. These theories attempt to describe how people tend to organize visual elements into groups or unified wholes when certain principles are applied. For example
    Similarity occurs when objects look similar to one another. People often perceive them as a group or pattern and objects look similar to one another. People often perceive them as a group or pattern. (This is basically what was covered in the assignment) but wanted to share a part of the article with you as well.
    Gestalt is a German word meaning “essence or shape of an entity’s complete form”, and this single definition may be one of the most important rules of design.

    1. I feel like I did not quite realize how much you could really relate to Gestalt Principles of Design I was just thinking of how it related to web design not about everything else like resumes and documents. I feel like you did a really great job at explaining just what Gestalt Principles of Design actually are. I feel like I had a really hard time determining really what is was and I feel like you put it into perspective a little better than I could have.

      1. You’re not alone, a lot of people don’t see how it relates to every day documents like resumes.

  4. Sorry, I forgot to add the answer to number 4. (Figure-Ground) looking at it in the normal view I realized there was another shape and saw the faces looking at one another.

  5. In normal view everything is rather jumbled and difficult to understand. While I can make out of it, I have to look closer and read around all the pictures and overlapping text.

    The Gestalt Principle of Design is the tendency of people to organize visual elements into unified wholes when certain principles are implied. I do feel like this would be useful knowledge, as it’s definitely a common thing. In fact, I believe it’s used in art fairly often, depending on styles. I suppose I could use this concept in my presentation as well as my art, although it isn’t exactly my style. I have done a couple lineless drawings though before, and the Gestalt principle definitely applied to them, I think.

    If I could change anything about the presentation, I’d probably just make it more colorful. Not because it looks bad the way it is, but because I really like color. I’d probably use a lot of red.

    There are quite a few websites that teach more about the Gestalt Principle of Design. One of them is this one;


    For one picture it mentions that while there is no lined triangle in the picture, we still see it. This is because the other shapes in the picture imply that there is also a triangle there. For another, despite the picture being a mess of black splotches over white, we can still make out the shape of a dog, some trees, and the ground. It explains many other pictures and I think it illustrates rather well how the Gestalt Principle of Design works.

  6. So the first thing I noticed in normal view was that there seems to be a lot of mistakes. Words are cut off or overlapping. Clip Art images are placed over words. It looks terrible. I can’t really understand what is on each slide because there seems to be incomplete sentences and things are just jumbled up too much.
    Gestalt’s Principle of design refers to theories of visual perception developed by German psychologists. The theories describe how people tend to organize visual elements into groups. The theory would be very helpful if I was working in advertising or making videos which I think would be fun to do some day. The concepts would work well in my presentation because it teaches me things that are pleasing to the eye. Like making slides look good and not all jumbled up. When I viewed the slide show in normal view it looked ridiculous. For instance, slide 2 had paragraphs cut off and incomplete sentences. But when I viewed it in slide show view it made more sense. Words appeared and disappeared and clip art images took their place. It didn’t look all jumbled up. If I had to change the slide at all I maybe would have gone into more detail about similarity, continuity, proximity, and closure and just explained the four slides better. I would also add some more color as the presentation was kind of dull.
    I like this website because it had a ton of similar videos on the right hand side of the screen and the slide show was a little better. It had a few infographics and more color than the previous presentation.

    1. I agree with Jon, the project seems to be unfinished and or with a lot of mistakes. I also agree with the fact that there are pictures stacked on top of other pictures. I feel the way you have worded this seems fine, except the terrible part you could totally change that to, it looks unfinished or incomplete.
      The presentation was not colorful in any way which made me feel like I was falling asleep reading / watching it. Also the fact that it had little colors made it really bland and boring. But because of the fact that the presentation was a jumbled mess the PowerPoint presentation was amazing.

    2. I really like the way you explained what was wrong with the slides I feel like you used the right descriptions overall I would not change how you wrote this responds. It was clear, simple and straight to the point which is for me the best way to understand something. I personally had a rather hard time grasping this concept, I felt as if it should be easy to understand but there was a lot that goes into it.

    3. I agree that more detail about similarity, proximity, closure, and continuity would have been a good change to make to the presentation. The presentation would have benefited from more information. For how long the presentation was it did not seem to carry all that much in-depth information, though I suppose that is sort of expected in a PowerPoint presentation. I also agree that the presentation was dull and color could have been added to make it less bland and whatnot.

  7. Alright right off the bat almost all of the slides look like they have been smashed with a hammer or went through a scrambler and there are all bland and boring nothing to them, looks like the person who made this didn’t take anytime they just wanted to finish. Then watching it changes everything it becomes a slide show worth watching, like everything is in order and neat well-crafted slide show that has a lot done to it, looks like the person spent some time working on it rather than slacking off, only issue I see is the fact that the design of every single page is a white background there’s no color to it at all, it’s just plan and very boring.
    Gestalt means unified whole which in most cases for when you’re working in a company you need to be a unified whole to get things done right and on time.
    Alright when viewed in normal view the second slide is a bunch of things on top of each other then it becomes an informational slides.
    I would change the design by changing the design itself by making it into flow because then the background isn’t so plan it becomes more appeasing to the eye I would add color to some of the pictures so there’s more color on the presentation because the white with black words is way too bland.
    This site tells more about Gestalt Principle of Design or a more in depth version of it with more pictures.

    1. That is actually where the person got a lot of his or her graphics and information from, or so I am told! 🙂

      1. I feel that Calvin was right about what he said even knowing it could have been worded a lot more professional. Maybe being a little more specific about how you feel that the writer could have eliminated the problems we saw when we looked at the original view. I think the link that was submitted was very helpful in finding out what these pictures stood for. The link that Calvin was on was very similar to the one I found and referred to. I think that the design he went with was to direct the eyes to the pictures themselves with no other colors or graphics to distract you from the information he was trying to help you understand.

    2. Calvin I like the analogy you used. “Smashed with a hammer” is a perfect term to describe that slide show. It made total sense once you viewed it in slide show mode, but in normal view it looked ridiculous. I also completely agree with you about adding more color and changing the background. I think I stated the same problems in my blog post. It’s kind of boring and I think adding more color would be more interesting and appeasing to the eye.

    3. I agree with you that everything looked scrambled, and yes it does appear a bit dull. If you were giving constructive criticism to the creator of the presentation, you might want to explain to him that the slides appeared to have a bit too much on the slides. Maybe suggesting that he should spread the examples across more slides? Saying that the slides looked “smashed with a hammer” might come on a little strong to the person. Suggesting the color and even a theme to try is good info for the presenter.

    4. Although I’m sure setting up all the animations and whatnot took quite a bit of time to make it work the way it did, I do agree that it seems like the person didn’t take very much time to work on the presentation. It definitely looks rather incomplete, and you’re right about it looking plain as well. It does make the person seem like a slacker, even with all the animation that’s been added. It definitely would’ve benefited from some color.

  8. I notice that there is way too much information on all of the slides for me to understand what the presentation is even about. The pictures are covering up the text and it is very confusing.
    Gestalt is a German term which means a unified whole, or the sum is greater than its parts. If refers to theories of visual perception, developed by German psychologists in the 20th century.
    This is useful knowledge is useful to me in that it helps me understand how human beings can learn something new from information they already know something about. Also that how we learn new thoughts or ideas as well.
    I would use these concepts in my presentation to help it flow from one idea, or thought to the next idea or thought. To teach my audience something new about a topic they have some ideas about and also learn some new thought or ideas about my topic as well.
    On slide 2 of this presentation, I was very overwhelmed with information.
    I understand that is about similarity, but didn’t understand anything else. With the pictures, and the text I had no idea what was going on.
    I don’t think I would change anything about this presentation.
    In the article, Gestalt Principles Applied In Design by Michael Tuck, It shows how the six principles are used in advertising today and that the six principles may not all be accurate in design today as they were when the principles were first thought of. The author discusses how the definition of the gestalt principle is a matter of perception. This site is useful in presentations because it help you understand more about the gestalt principle of design. How to apply it correctly.

    1. I think that Kelly definitely has a point about things being hard to understand. I think part of the problem of the presentation was that to the normal person it was a little long winded when you try to understand all the slides. It was also a little over my head on some of the concepts. The web sight that Kelly found was a lot like that. It was somewhat broken up and very technical. For the regular person it can be a little much. I think that Kelly made some very professional statements about the web sight and the slide show. The site I linked to was a little easier to understand. I still think that the web sight was made to be without color, graphics, animations, and transitions so that you wouldn’t get lost in the all the extras and focus on the slide show and information they wanted to teach.

    2. I agree with Kelly there was too much information on the slides some more than others makes it too busy and hard to understand the meaning of the messages. I find it interesting and never realized when I’m looking at “continuous” figures , people do tend to mentally follow the form of a continuous line or how your eyes will automatically go to a particular area of a picture like the Gestalt Principles of Design explains and how different objects or designs relate to one another.

  9. Almost every single slide has something wrong with it there are objects in front of text and there is text all jumbled together so bad that you can even see what is going on. I can’t understand anything when I view the slides in normal view because the design is all clumped together with text on top to other text and things of that nature. Gestalt Principle of Design refers to the theories of visual perception and how objects in a design relate to each other. I find this knowledge very useful since I am going into web site design, I will need to know how to tastefully put together a web site using graphics and shapes. These shapes and graphics need to relate to each other in a way that flows, making the user’s eyes go the way I want them to. I would use these concepts in my presentation to help organize the way my presentation looks and help the viewer stay interested in the presentation. When I looked at the first slide in the presentation the graphics were on top of the text making it impossible to read the whole slide, but when I started the presentation the text was able to be viewed in full and the graphic was on the second slide. I thought the design was fine it could be a little more flashy but the only thing I would really change is the way the graphics and the words were on top of one another I would most likely put them on a new slide.


    Here is a site that I found that gave a general overview of Gestalt design from a graphic designers standpoint, which I find quite useful since I’m going into web design.

    1. I think that Austin has a right to his opinion, however what he stated would not be constructive criticism. Austin stating that there was something worng with every single slide in each silde was ok, but saying that the text was all jumbeld together is not constructive. However saying maybe instead that there was just too much information put on each individual slide both text and graphics. Instead of stating that design is all clumped together, say instead that is possible to spread out the design on each slide with a litte less text and graphics. It is also possible that you could say using more slides with less information would be helpful as well.
      The link that was submitted was easy to understand, and doesn’t really include anything different from the orginal site on the gestalt principle. I again think that the presentaion was not well thought out before hand, it was just not organized, not enough color, and boring and diffiuclt to follow, you lose interest very quickly. i think this presentation was designed to make me see what a bad presention looks like and not what to do.

    2. Austin, I was so confused when I first opened the slide show. In normal view it doesn’t look like it makes any sense. I know it’s because of the timing on different animations and slide transitions that make it look confusing, but it’s very elaborate. I agree that the slide could be a little more flashy and some more color would be nice. I don’t think I would change the graphics and words and put them on a new slide. I like how the slide doesn’t change but different animations made words disappear and new words or graphics took their place.

      1. yeah i thought that was cool too. very ingenuis, and well thought out. i think i might try that on at least one of the slides for my presentation, although i doubt it will turn out like his did, it would still be really cool to show off to my friends. you know, the ones that i dont have? haha

  10. i noticed that they were very jumbled, and i was unable to read alot of content due to images and overlapping of text.

    The Gestalt Principle of Design is a theory that utilizes the subconsious ability to find patterns, shapes, and designs in an image without the design, pattern or shape appearing outright. It deals with how the mind organizes information when certain principles are applied.

    I think i will find this very helpfull, as i am a writer and these ideas are good steps to creating a good book. i particularly enjoy throwing people off, as it gives them a sense a puzzlement and curiosity, and if applied right, can have a major impact on how people see your book and characters, as well as the actions that take place in the book

    i would probably use these concepts in my presentaion by making a picture in MSPaint that utilizes both the continuity and the anomaly concepts to throw people off guard. Similarity is a principle i have often used to great affect, and can show people how many different things can all be related, and that is good during many informative, as well as persuasive presentations.

    Alot changed when i entered slideshow view, for example on slide 5, the top line of text is illegible, due to the overlapping of text, and some of the pictures are hidden behind others. when i went into slideshow view, everything entered and left the slide in a specific order that made alot of sense. text would appear with the image it corresponded too, and then both would vanish to make way for the next portion of information.

    if i were to change anything about this slide, it would proabably be the fact that many of its animations are fairly slow, and since it has alot of information it takes that much longer to showcase the presentation.


    this is a great site, as it clearly gives examples and shows incorrect usage of the Gestalt Principles of Design, allowing readers to avoid many mistakes when attempting to integrate the principles into presentations and other forms of media, such as commercials and advertisement.

  11. When seen in normal view, it looks very broken, much of the text is illegible due to pictures in the way or overlapping text.

    The Gestalt Principle of Design is a group of theories that explain how our mind interprets things within a given scenario. While it focuses on visual aspects, the Gestalt Principles of design can be used in pretty much anything from writing to showcasing things.

    This knowledge is extremely useful to me as a writer, since misdirection and subtlety are my favorite kinds of compositions. I enjoy things like plot twists and such, so it tends to show in my writing.

    i would use the Anomoly and similarity concepts since i love “spot-the-difference” games. similarity and anomlies, applied appropriately, can draw in the viewers by showing how many things can be connected, and can shock them by turning thier expectations upside down.

    when i viewed the slideshow in presentation view, alot changed from the normal view. for example on slide five, the top line of text is illegible due to overlapping sentences, and images are half hidden by other images when seen in normal view, but in presentation view, everything is setup nicely, and has alot of cohesion, even if it doesnt look like it at first glance.

    one thing i would change about the presentation is the long animation times. theres alot of information on the slideshow, and the long animations mean it takes even longer than it already does to showcase the presentation.


    I found this website to be very informative on how you can use the gestalt principles to great affect, as well as mistakes to avoid. it shows several examples of good usage of the principles, and inappropriate ways to use them, giving very balanced information

    1. I agree with Will just like I did with Jon, that the normal view is broken and illegible per say because of the way it was built It would look terrible in normal view till switch into presentation view where the PowerPoint presentation shows its true colors and shows the true work behind all the jumbled and hard to read text. For corrections I would proof read what I had written and correct any of my spelling and grammar mistakes.

      1. yeah i would have at least had things more legible in regular view, although in the end i suppose the presentation is whats its all about. still would be nice to know what i was looking at when i se something. it turned out great in the end though, everything in the slide went together very well.

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