4 Tutorials on Unity and Gestalt Principles

Visual Literacy: Gestalt Principles

Visual Literacy: Gestalt in the Park

Communicating with Unity

Document Design: Unity

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We’ve just uploaded four more tutorials, all about UNITY and gestalt principles.

At first, lovely UKWrite readers may ask

1. What on earth are you talking about?

2. Did you just say something in German? I’m not sure how I feel about that…

3. What does this have to do with writing, composition, and communication?

Here are some answers:

1. “Visual unity” refers to “perceiving the whole before the parts.” Gestalt principles (which are all explained in Visual Literacy: Gestalt Principles) explain how our minds make unified wholes from sets of parts. For example: how does our brain automatically know that a dog’s tail is part of the dog, and not some other animal attached to the dog’s hindquarters? (Something dogs often playfully forget…)

2. Yes. Gestalt is German for “form or shape.”

3. Gestalt principles go right to the root of how our minds make connections between parts. They particularly focus on our sense of vision. The Document Design: Unity tutorial shows how gestalt principles are invaluable in creating clear page layouts and user-friendly web designs. Moreover, the concept of visual unity can be a gateway to learn more about unity itself, which is an important part of writing composition. Gestalt principles also shed light on how we make assumptions (see the Gestalt in the Park tutorial) and create narratives (see the Communicating with Unity tutorial.)

Gestalt theory is a very interdisciplinary topic; it’s a theory of psychology, and is very useful in communication and education. Gestalt principles are even used by animals to camouflage themselves from predators and prey. (If one is visual unified with one’s environment, that’s camouflage.) Who knows where else you may find yourself making use of gestalt theory!

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