Technical Brief

Quantification of Classical Gestalt Principles in Two-Dimensional Product Representations

[+] Author and Article Information
José E. Lugo

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
University of Puerto Rico,
Mayagüez Campus,
Mayagüez, PR 00681
e-mail: jose.lugo2@upr.edu

James P. Schmiedeler

Fellow ASME
Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering,
University of Notre Dame,
Notre Dame, IN 46556
e-mail: schmiedeler.4@nd.edu

Stephen M. Batill

Fellow ASME
Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering,
University of Notre Dame,
Notre Dame, IN 46556
e-mail: batill@nd.edu

Laura Carlson

Department of Psychology,
University of Notre Dame,
Notre Dame, IN 46556
e-mail: lcarlson@nd.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Design Theory and Methodology Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received June 19, 2014; final manuscript received June 24, 2015; published online July 14, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Kristina Shea.

J. Mech. Des 137(9), 094502 (Sep 01, 2015) (4 pages) Paper No: MD-14-1365; doi: 10.1115/1.4030988 History: Received June 19, 2014; Revised June 24, 2015; Online July 14, 2015

Gestalt principles have previously served as qualitative guidelines for good visual design in art, architecture, and product design. This paper introduces a formal method to quantify classical Gestalt principles (proximity, continuity, closure, symmetry, parallelism, and similarity) for two-dimensional product representations. With the approach, designers use their judgment to divide a 2D representation of a new concept or existing design into its key atomistic elements, identify the most appropriate Gestalt principles that apply to the grouping of those elements, and then can objectively quantify the design’s adherence to those principles using mathematical functions of the design parameters. This quantification provides a tool to augment a design team’s own subjective interpretations in evaluating and communicating a product’s visual appearance at any stage of or throughout the design process.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME
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Fig. 1

Illustration of proximity principle (adapted from Ref. [8])

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Fig. 2

Examples of continuity and closure principles

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Fig. 3

Angular proximity: (a) between atomistic elements and (b) between geometric shapes

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Fig. 4

Continuity between atomistic elements—two adjacent dashes within the dashed curve at the top

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Fig. 5

Illustration of continuity principle (adapted from Ref. [8])

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Fig. 6

Illustration of closure principle (decreasing in closure from left to right)

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Fig. 7

Reflection symmetry. The dotted curve is perfectly symmetric to the left-side curve, whereas the solid right-side curve is not.

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Fig. 8

Illustration of reflection symmetry principle (decreasing in reflection symmetry from left to right)

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Fig. 9

Rotation symmetry. The solid black number four at the upper left is perfectly rotation symmetric to the gray four but not the nearby solid black four.

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Fig. 10

Illustration of parallelism principle (decreasing in parallelism from left to right)




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