About Gestalt Principles

There are a variety of lists of Gestalt Principles.

The original principles were listed by Max Wertheimer in 1923 in his paper "Laws of Organization in Perceptual Forms1":

As pointed out by Stephen Palmer (1999), these are in fact all forms of similarity. Proximity is similarity in location; common fate is similarity in time; etc. He says "As far as stating the Gestalt Principles, it seems that they all have the form 'All else being equal, elements that are related by X tend to be grouped perceptually into higher-order units.'"

Palmer lists the following principles:

However, in an attempt to clarify these terms and especially to clarify those that are important to web design, a longer list with simplier names is used in this site:
near      line      shape
time      about Gestalt      size
other      region      color

Palmer, S. E. (1999). Vision science: Photons to phenomenology. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Wertheimer, Max. (1923). Laws of Organization in Perceptual Forms. First published as Untersuchungen zur Lehre von der Gestalt II, in Psycologische Forschung, 4, 301-350. Translation published in Ellis, W. (1938). A source book of Gestalt psychology (pp. 71-88). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Last updated: March 31, 2006