Balance, Figure and Ground

This chapter includes information about:

  • The principle of figure-ground and negative space
  • Applying Gestalt principles and balance in logo design

One of the most crucial elements of a successful logo design is making use of both positive and negative space, or figure and ground.

Figure-Ground

Figure-ground describes how our perception of images is shaped by the relationship between foreground and background. A classic example is a face-or-vase image:

Adapted from Wikimedia Commons

Logos that effectively use negative space can add depth to the meaning of the image. Here are some examples that make use of both figure and ground:

See more examples here and here.

Balance

A successful logo design will also make use of balance. This video illustrates how to think about visual balance.

The concepts of balance, figure & ground are also discussed in Gestalt Theory. They can be used to emphasize or deemphasize visual unity in your design.

Further Reading

Gestalt Principles Applied in Design (Six Revisions)
12 Essential Rules for Designing a Logo (Web Designer Depot)