• An organized whole that is perceived as more than the sum of its parts.

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Example Sentences

“Up close, the painting looked like a bunch of jumbled shapes, but from 30 feet away, the gestalt of the portrait appeared.” 

“The designer’s initial plan for the homepage ignored the gestalt of the website.”

“While the star of the movie is on the posters, the gestalt of the movie is so much more when you watch it.”

Word Origin

German, 1920s

Why this word?

“Gestalt” is a German word that literally translates to “form, shape.” It entered English in the 1920s as a psychology term — Gestalt psychology suggests that the mind does not see one small component of the world at a time. Instead, we’re constantly perceiving things as elements of a more complex system or whole. In design, the “Gestalt Principles” state that humans perceive elements together, and designers should take that into consideration with their designs.

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