The Law of Proximity in Design

You have your components and you’ve prepared your message. You’ve set up the size and the usage of space. However, something seems off. It’s proximity. Some of your objects are too close to each other, while others are too far apart for your mission. Here’s how we take care of that.

What Is the Law of Proximity?

The Law of Proximity is one of the Gestalt laws. This principle deals with how the human eye perceives objects it encounters. The basic rule is that the elements that are close are connected to each other, while those apart should be viewed as separate. Using this law to your advantage may be a bit tricky for some. Now you might be thinking: “How can a concept used in psychology help me? I’m a designer!” In truth, psychology is exactly the reason this can help you and your projects.

Gestalt principles state that if we look at many elements put together, we have a tendency to group them according to certain criteria, in order to easier understand what’s in front of us. Because of this, we see patterns. With a good sense of how to use proximity to your advantage, you can project patterns of your own design.

How Important Is Proximity?

More than you think. It appears proximity is given priority over shape and colors when looking at an object or image. We are more likely to group objects together based on how close they are as opposed to having similar elements. Related things are important, those that are distant are not – this is the bottom line.

How Can I Use Proximity in My Design?

Simply practice putting certain elements together and away from each other and see what clicks. For example, when listing a product like jewelry, ant killer, or a book, have several groups of elements put together. One can be the image of the product and it stands alone. The second element is the block of text with bullet points about the most distinguishing selling points of the product and the third is another block of text that can either be the comments or a more extensive description. Naturally, this block of text should have a smaller font and is the least important element, so it can be further away from the other two.