Gestalt Composition



Print / Illustration

2015 – 2 Weeks

Individual Project


About the Project

This is an introductory project for the course Communication Design Fundamentals at Carnegie Mellon. The main task for this project was to explore form and composition through Gestalt principles, using as many squares necessary to illustrate order, tension, congestion, playfulness, and comfort. As a whole, this assignment was an opportunity to iterate through ideas through different designs, going past the literal definitions of these words. It was a chance to go past shapes, instead using basic squares’ positions and sizes to interact and communicate with each other. All these factors together create a dynamic and open-to-interpretation component for the assignment.


Project Process


First Iteration

First Iteration

Section Iteration

Section Iteration

In order to illustrate order, my first thought was to create a very stable and grounded structure, having all squares with equal size, orientation, and offsets. So, I created a chess board pattern and removed the outside squares to also create a focus on the central order. For the final iteration, I decided to make it a little more interesting. I changed the conventional board from 8×8 to 7×7 and removed some black squares. Doing this allowed the final design to retain all the qualities of order while creating multiple patterns (as seen with the white crosses and black Xs).




First Iteration


Second Iteration








When creating designs for tension, my first thought was to create an array of squares that seemed likely to topple over. I had some initial sketches that mimicked a Jenga situation, but I wanted to simplify that idea more. That was the mindset behind these two iterations. Since squares have right angled corners, balancing one on top of another would create this sense of anxiety. I played around with the angles and sizes of the squares to see which depicted this emotion best. I decided to make both squares 45 degrees for two reasons. One, tension seems to be best categorized as the anticipation for an event to occur. Creating an offset for the angle got rid of this anticipation completely. Two, having the squares in perfect alignment allows viewers to feel tense in not knowing which direction the square will actually fall. For sizes, I decided the ratio in the second iteration was much better since it creates a perspective that allows one to understand the interaction between both squares much better than in the first case.




First Iteration


Second Iteration








For congestion, I wanted to create this sense of no escape and having no room for movement or space. The mentality behind the first iteration was to create this narrow space and just fill it up with squares of different sizes. Even though this gives the definition of congestion, I felt the design was very static. To fix that, I rotated the image and angled the walls. So, the second iteration utilizes gravity in combination with space to show how the squares become congested as they fall through the funnel.




First Iteration


Second Iteration








I aimed to create something very dynamic and unstable for playfulness. To incorporate movement to match these goals, I wanted to create a bouncy motion, the motivation behind both these iterations. The first one is very jumpy and not as gradual, which is why I incorporated more squares in the second iteration. I also decided to reflect the motion along the y-axis because most things are read from left to right. All these factors in combination create the gradual bounce and movement towards the corner.




First Iteration


Second Iteration








Each iteration for comfort had a different motivation. For the first one, I went with the idea that comfort can be derived from being alone and have your own space. However, just having a single square in the center seemed very boring. So, I used the idea of support to illustrate comfort. That’s why in the second iteration I created two squares of different sizes with one leaning on the other.


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