• Susanne Desbrow

Gesalt Psychology and How its used by Interior Designers?


Gesalt Psychology was founded by Max Wertheimer, early in the 20th century. He believed that humans innately perceive things as whole.


The following are some of his principles, that explain how most people see forms in their environments.

Groups: We group objects by the following methods

Proximity: objects closet together Similarity: same shape, size or colour

Direction: Objects to be perceived to be moving in the same direction

Context: object grouped on context or past experience

Closure: the tenancy to perceive incomplete forms as complete.

Continuity: To see a line or a shape continuing in a direction, rather than making a sharp turn.

Simplicity: We as Humans prefer the simplest, most stable organization of shapes, forms & patterns, rather than those that are complex

Figure Ground: This refers to how people distinguish form from its surrounding. The famous image above shows how an image can be perceived two different ways. We either see two faces or a vase, but not both at the same time.

Negative Space: Graphic designers / Artist often call the ground around an object negative space


For Interior Designers Gesalt's Theory suggests that individual elements can not be designed as single entities. They must be seen as part of the larger environment and that people entering a space will bring with them their own ideas about what things are and how they should be perceived.