Law of similarity Gestalt How to use and examples

Law of similarity in Gestalt

Throughout history, there has been an interest in understanding how the perception and interpretation of phenomena that occur in everyday life is carried out. In this sense, it is likely that we are familiar with certain figures, shapes and aspects that are part of our surroundings. Have you ever wondered how geometric figures are perceived by those who live in parts of the world where this system is not used? It is clear that some people will not be able to deduce that these are similar shapes and figures if they have not had previous contact with this theme. In this article we will provide you the information about Law of similarity in Gestalt.

There is a branch of psychology that is in charge of the detailed study of these elements, the psychology of forms.

What is the Gestalt law of similarity

The main foundation of the Gestalt law of similarity is that the perception of certain figures and forms of similar characteristics are perceived as belonging to a total group despite being in different places and positions. From here derives the well-known phrase that in Gestalt the whole is more than the sum of the parts. For this reason, there is a tendency in the brain to regroup elements that may be dispersed in space.

How to use the Gestalt law of similarity

In order to be able to separate information according to the aspects that Gestalt theory takes into account, it is necessary to highlight some points. Next, we will show you how to use the Gestalt law of similarity:

  • Approximation of elements : this means that the mind tends to approximate different elements beyond their qualities so that the total union results in a set.
  • Similarity of shapes : in the same way as the approximation of elements, the similarity of the shapes that can be seen in some graphic or determined place will cause them to be interpreted as sets that are linked by their shapes. In other words, the brain regroups elements based on their shapes and connects those with similarity.
  • Union by colors : the visual aspect plays a transcendental role in the Gestalt law of similarity, since colors are also grouped based on the similarity they present to each other.

As its name indicates, the law of similarity places a special focus on similar aspects that are circumscribed at a visual level from the abstract modes of spatial organization that the human mind has. 

Examples of the Gestalt Law of Similarity

Below, we will show you some examples of the Gestalt law of similarity to help you understand how it can appear in everyday life:

Example 1 – Gestalt similarity

First, if we notice that a matchbox has some new wooden matchsticks and some used ones, the brain will apply the principle of the Gestalt law of similarity to unify those that are new and separate them from those that have been used.

In this case, the similarity of shapes and colors is applied to delimit a precise organization of the materials that are visible.

Example 2 – Gestalt design

If we see a specific brand logo in some advertising, we will notice that elements of similar shapes are pointed out to create the illusion of a unit and increase sales. In this way, there is the possibility that the mind interprets the elements in a similar way and groups them despite belonging to different themes.

An example of this case could be that of a cell phone and a book, since their shapes are similar.

Example 3 – Gestalt pictures

Continuing with the advertisements, it is possible to notice that many of them denote images that have cut words. However, it is certain that the law of similarity will cause the mind to be able to correctly interpret the images even though they are incomplete.

Another example of this quality is, for example, the Adobe brand logo, which features the letter A in white from its outline.

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