Figure/Ground: Lexi Day

Figure/ground is another form of giving the viewer multiple ways to view a design in either print, media, or business storefronts. Figure/ground also goes by another name, which is the Gestalt Principle. This is a technique where the whole of the image is undefined, as point of view can change how you read and understand what the image is meant to represent. The figure part of the image is the main point, usually in the middle and the least complicated to understand. Ground is the background, but unlike normal images the ground emphasizes a second environment. Also, with the Gestalt Principles, ground is usually the negative space of the image that then creates the illusion. Some images using this can only be viewed from two separate angles, where you flip the image and suddenly it becomes something else. Or it can be an image like the one i’ve chosen, where you can see both areas of the negative space at once, since they easily compliment each other.


Restaurant logo from The Swan & Mallard using negative space and figure/ground. Created by John Randall: Behance

For my image showing an example of this figure/ground principle, I chose the logo of “The Swan & Mallard” Restaurant. For this, the design uses the white space to create both the swan and the “&” sign, using one part that can be viewed two different ways. Then, the “ground” part of the image is the duck, which uses the background color of back and the negative space of the white swan, to give the illusion of a duck looking out between the “&” sign. Both of these images are interacting with each other, giving out a minimalist and balanced feeling. The orange then acts as a point for the reader to fully distinguish what the image is conveying. The white and the black then work together to create the full ambiguity of the photo.


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