Emergence | Best Web Design


design principles

Now, if you have failed to see it already, within this image there is a Dalmatian dog sniffing at the foot of a tree. When you noticed the dog did you have to identify a nose, ears, eyes, the spots of the dog and the tail?

It would not be presumptuous to assume you simply saw the dog immediately once you were made aware there was some meaningful ‘whole’ visual element to seek out. The perceptual phenomenon demonstrated with the Dalmatian image is referred to as ‘Emergence’, which captures the sensation of meaningful elements seemingly emerging from our visual scene.

The principle of emergence is central to Gestalt thinking; we experience the world unconsciously and automatically, with very little effort committed to analysing our surroundings to configure whole, meaningful objects, which is something that must be accounted for in any theory of human perception.

However, Gestaltism is underpinned by the belief that ‘…the whole object is other than the sum of its parts’, suggesting by combining these elements, human perception helps to create our experience of an object or scene, as opposed to the individual parts representing the complete sensation.

Emergence is a key Gestalt principle that describes the perceptual experience of meaningful elements appearing instantly from a scene, without conscious identification of the elements that comprise the whole object.

Emergence is demonstrated in almost all visual events, but illusions such as the ‘sniffing Dalmatian’ provide us with an ‘aha!’ experience that really brings this principle of perceptual organisation to life.

July 30, 2019

Design principles: Gestalt Psychology

Recognition of meaningful items, objects or any other visual element does not occur through a process of identifying and piecing together composite parts. […]