Gestalt Principle of Closure: Understanding What it Means and How to Use It

The Gestalt Principles, which are a series of theories based on the idea of visual perception, were developed in the 1920s by a group of psychologists in Germany. The goal of these theories was to take a more in-depth look into the brain and show how people perceived the environment around them. Today, these Gestalt Principles form the foundation of many of the design rules that we follow.

That is why as a designer, it is crucial to learn about each of these principles, what they entail, and what they can mean for your designs. Once you start having a solid grasp of these theories, you can create more coherent images that better connect you with your viewers, users, and audience. In this article, we will first introduce you to the Gestalt Principle of Closure, where we will help you understand what it is and how to use it.

What Does Closure Mean in Graphic Design?

The Gestalt Principle of Closure states that when an individual looks at a complex arrangement of visual elements, they tend to look for a single and recognizable pattern. What does this mean exactly? If we are looking at an image, and it has missing parts, our brains will fill in the blanks to complete the image so that we can recognize the pattern.

Even though the Gestalt Principle of Closure is often associated with stenciled artwork, it is also closely correlated with logo designs and icons.

How to Use Closure in Graphic Design

In graphic design, we often use closure to make others perceive patterns or objects using the smallest amount of details and information possible. This is because our brain is so eager to fill in the missing information that it can accomplish this goal with very few elements.

However, the trick as a graphic designer is to make sure we use enough information so that others can complete the pattern. Otherwise, the closure principle will fail, and our audience will not be able to perceive what the object is.

Typically, to form an effective closure, the following visual elements are used:

  • Creating a Strong Contrast: The best way to create a closure is by creating a strong contrast between the background and the foreground elements. Generally, black and white will create the strongest contrast, but there are other complementary colors that can also help you get the desired effect.
  • Creating Space: Another great way to create closure is through negative and positive space, which, when combined, can form a whole. For instance, removing elements from the foreground can help create negative shapes and simplify a design. Take, for example, the FedEx logo. In this design, closure was achieved using negative white space and parts of the lowercase x and the uppercase E to create a forward-moving arrow.
  • Using Color: When it comes to graphic design, color plays a vital role. Not only does it add life to the image, but when using abstract shapes to represent forms, it can help reinforce relationships.


If you are looking for ways to create beautiful, engaging, and successful designs, the closure principle can help you get the results you want. Once you truly understand how this Gestalt Principle works, you will be able to reduce the elements you need to convey information, make your designs more captivating, and help diminish design complexity.

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