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the whole of anything is greater than its parts”

I still remember the countless hours I spent staring at the above line, trying to understand what it meant. This was the textbook definition of Gestalt theory, which gave me headaches as I tried to break it down or relate it to something I could understand. Yet, it was being touted as one of the major principles that every graphic designer must know. It took me a while to fully comprehend the concept of Gestalt, but now it makes a lot of sense. This note is for those who are still struggling to understand the above sentence.

The core idea is this— When assembled in the right way, the final result will be much more meaningful than it’s raw materials put together.

To understand this better, we will take the example of lego blocks!

I bet you've played with Lego blocks, or maybe a knockoff version of them. When you first see the blocks in their packaging, you probably think, "Oh, just a bunch of Lego blocks." But once you start using them to build a house, you don't just see it as a simple assembly of bricks anymore; you call it a "house." The concept of the term “house” encompasses so much more scope than “just a bunch of Lego bricks”, don't you think?

Now let's talk about design. A color or typeface might not have much meaning on their own, but when combined in the right way, they can create a much bigger emotional impact on the viewer. Let's look at a famous example.

The right typeface with the right color in the shape adapted from a cinemascope movie screen creates the famous Netflix logo and the impact it creates in the viewer is bigger than what they get while observing these individual components.

Hope this makes the headache bearable when you are looking at the Gestalt Theory definition next time!

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