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

As humans, we are wired to see logic, patterns, and structure in everything we see. Why? Because it helps us to be able to make sense of the environment around us.   In the 1920s, to explore these concepts even further, a group of German psychologists developed specific theories, called the Gestalt Principles, to help explain how people perceive the world around them and make sense of the images they see.

To help you understand these theories and what they can mean for you, we have created the following article. In it, we will explore one of these theories, called the Gestalt Principle of Continuity. We hope that with the below information, we can show you what this principle means and how you can apply it to graphic design.

What does Continuity Mean in Graphic Design?

The Gestalt Principle of Continuity states that we are more likely to see continuous and smooth flowing lines rather than broken or jagged ones. This is because once our eyes begin to follow something, they will continue to travel in that direction until it encounters another item or object. For instance, an excellent example of this Continuity principle is a line with an arrow at the end of it.

How to Use Continuity in Graphic Design

As a graphic designer, you want to use continuation to help guide your viewer's eyes through your designs. This allows you to direct their attention to specific elements that you want them to see while also establishing a relationship between the design and your viewers. 

One of the most significant aspects of the Continuity principle is that it can not only apply to horizontal movement but vertical movement as well. Let's take a look at how this concept applies in the real world, especially when it relates to graphic design.

  • Horizontal Movement: If you take a look at Nike's website, you will be bombarded with rows of shoes that are perfectly aligned horizontally. Basically, allowing your eyes to follow a clear-cut path going from left to right. As you can see, Nike incorporated this Continuity principle to help guide our eyes through each row of shoes, making sure to group them together so that we can understand that all of these shoes are related products. Nike also did a great job at making sure that this principle is further enhanced by having all the Nike shoes point in the same direction. 
  • Vertical Movement: In comparison, Google's search result page groups all of its information in columns, using Continuity to help guide user's eyes. Next time you do a Google search, takes a look. Most likely, the first thing you will notice is that the main column of results will be on the left-hand side, while the informational box will be on the right. Both of these items are placed this way to encourage vertical movement through all the information.


The Gestalt Principle of Continuity helps guide an audience's movement through a design, making it easy for them to navigate the composition while creating a relationship between the different groupings.

Best of all, creating effective continuation does not have to be complicated as long as you ensure consistency between elements, good alignment, and cues to suggest direction. With these tactics, you will be well on your way to creating beautiful, enticing designs that not only connect with your audience but allows them to have a better experience.

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