Figure/Ground: Daniel Kim

Image is based of the Figure/Ground principles. Characters in the yellow/black: Penguin and Batman. Characters in red/blue/black: Spiderman and Green Goblin. Image taken from Smash Magazine.

Figure can be defined as solid in a void, focus point, or positive. Figure’s functioning partner is ground, which is the void around a solid, background, or negative.

The image on the left, represents DC Comic’s superhero characters and their arch-nemesis. I found this image to be a great representation for the figure/ground concept because of the balance between negative and positive space usage. The balance of space creates an image where the focus point can be either Batman or Penguin, for the black/yellow image, and Spider-man or Green Goblin, for the red/blue image. Due to the colors having such heavy contrast, one may find it difficult to keep their attention on one of the areas.  This ambiguity is based off the concept called reverse figure/ground, the equal attraction to negative and positive components. I believe people who are familiar to these specific characters may have more trouble focusing on a point because they already recognize the two figures by shape. By recognizing the shapes before viewing this image a person will be able to point them out. On the other hand, one who does not know about DC heroes/villains will only be able to recognize one major figure and ground. In comparison to one another, the blue/red image is a little more unique because of it uses the black space a special way. If I were to put myself in the shoes of a person who has never heard of DC in general, I would’ve seen an image of a man with light shining on him creating a blue shadow on his back. The black space created even more ambiguity by creating this illusion that the focus point was the silhouette figure and the colors were for depth. Due to the ambiguity, I believe the image of Batman/Penguin and Spider-man/Green Goblin are not a good way grab the attentions of new people. On the flip-side, people who recognize the characters may use the images for ornamental functions.

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