Gestalt theory in a Myspace Graphic

Dan Gayle's picture

Ok, so I stole this off of my sister's myspace page. Can anyone explain the phenomena or principle at work here? Specifically regarding Gestalt theory, I believe it falls under Reification, but is that correct?

Or is there another term that more specifically applies to letterforms?

blank's picture


Even though the totality of a shape as we define and anticipate it may not appear, we are still able to recognize a partial shape for what it is or would be in entirety. There may be a more specific gestalt term that someone has created for closure specific to letters, but the principle remains the same.

Bruce's picture

Hi Dan,

If you are near a good library (can't remember where you are in school) see if you can get a copy of Richard Zakia's book about Gestalt theory and visual perception. It's been many years (uh . . . like maybe twenty!) since I read it but I LOVED it at the time! A couple of years later I even sent Prof. Zakia a photo that I'd found, which I thought perfectly illustrated one of his points. Although much of what he discusses has to do with photography, the book's scope is wider than that. Just a suggestion. (As if you didn't have enough to read already!)

pattyfab's picture

Shoot - it took me a minute to get that. What does that imply about my sex life, hmmmm. Of course now I can't NOT see it.

blank's picture

What does that imply about my sex life, hmmmm.

Maybe you just have really nice glasses. My sex life is fine, but staring at type all the time has done a real number on my vision...

Dan Gayle's picture

Thanks for the book idea. Since I'm a photographer, it's right up my alley!

pattyfab's picture

I actually took a class in the Psychology of visual art, it was fascinating. I learned why the moon looks smaller when it's high in the sky then when it's on the horizon, among other things.

Check out Arnheim as well.

I don't wear glasses - yet - but my vision has definitely suffered from staring at the computer screen all day. Must remember to look out the window sometimes!

Linda Cunningham's picture

I'll second Zakia -- I used a lot of his work on perception in my thesis and it was invaluable.

mjpatrick's picture

The image in the initial post reminds me of when I was a kid. I was playing at a friend's house, and at some point I noticed his mother had a small wood block placed on her TV as a decoration of some sort. The block had flat geometric sections removed from it- just like in that same image above, but with a low profile wooden base that kept the remaining pieces connected together, if I recall correctly.

I stood there silent for quite a while, just gazing away at this curiosity- it was so abstract compared to the other decorations in the house. I was pretty fascinated with it, it reminded me of something out of an Escher book.

My friend, who is wondering why I'm just standing there staring at a wood block, realizes I don't see it for what it really is, and fills me in: the negative space of the block spelled out "J-E-S-U-S". It suddenly became clear as day, and I was so mad at myself for not being able to see that :P

Dan Gayle's picture

Do you think it would be a good idea to create a logo this way? Or do you know of any logos created this way?

david h's picture

> Do you think it would be a good idea to create a logo this way?

try and see (and post a sample)

feldhouse's picture

The USA television network uses one:

mjpatrick's picture

Do you think it would be a good idea to create a logo this way? Or do you know of any logos created this way?

It depends on who your audience is, what the logo's for, and how it will be seen.

If I was designing for a billboard, creating a sign for a building, or making vehicle graphics, I would never do something like this. When short viewing time/motion is involved you have to make sure it can be read.

For printed/web media: maybe use it as an attention getter for a header/intro to a layout of text, but I still wouldn't use it for a logo, not to that extreme at least. It gives an optical illusion/psychedelic vibe that I don't think many companies would want in their logo- which is their identity.

There might be better examples of the theory than this one.

pattyfab's picture

Uh... yeah, please not for a billboard or vehicle graphics, I hate to imagine all the auto accidents as people try to puzzle them out.

TBiddy's picture

My sex life is fine,

If you keep spending so much time on Typophile...that can all change. ;)

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