Wednesday, February 6

Design Principle: Closure

What do you see here?

A triangle? Strange triangle if you ask me. It has no sides! This is not one shape, in fact it is three separate elements. So why do we almost instantly recognize this as a triangle? Because of CLOSURE. Closure can be defined as the tendency to perceive a set of individual elements as a single, recognizable pattern, rather than multiple, individual elements. When you look at the above image, that tendency is so strong that it is only with great effort that you can avoid seeing a triangle. The mind's tremendous power fills in the gaps, almost as if they weren't there. How does this apply to design? As an example, a logo that is composed of familiar shapes and elements can communicate an object or concept effectively and with very few lines. Take a look at this example. As you can see, with very few lines - only three - the designer effectively creates a visual pun by hinting at a familiar shape, the recycling symbol, and simultaneously, cans of paint. Very appropriate for a paint recycling company! Including closure in a design also involves the viewer to a greater degree.

Using closure helps reduce the complexity of a design and also adds interest to it. And it's just plain cool! Here are some more designs that make good use of closure.


Calexico Album Cover

Fedex "hidden arrow"

If you think of other examples please share them!


the calling station said...

hey newcomb,
can you explain why I am seeing a triangle with curved in sides, leading me to wonder why I am even calling it a triangle?

And shouldn't employees, family members and all other suspicious caracters affiliated with jugglingman Inc. in any way have been excluded from the Coffee competition?

Juggling Jason said...

Those a great questions! As far as the curved nature of the triangle sides, no doubt that is another form of optical illusion. I don't know what causes this phenomena but I will look into it and perhaps make it the subject of a future post.

Now, for your concern pertaining to the Coffee competition I admit, I'm stumped :P