A Unifying Force: The Gestalt Design Principle of Similarity

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Design elements that appear similar in some way — sharing the same color, shape, or size — are perceived as related, while elements that appear dissimilar are perceived as belonging to separate groups.
In this exploration, we delve into the Gestalt design principle of similarity to understand its role in achieving visual harmony. Prepare for a deep dive into its profound significance, as we unravel its mechanisms, explore its impact on User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI), and demonstrate its power through compelling examples.
Michael Holding

Creative Director, Pod Creative

A Unity of Form

The Gestalt principle of similarity asserts that objects sharing similar visual attributes tend to be perceived as belonging together. This principle embraces the notion that visual unity can be achieved by aligning elements with shared characteristics, creating a sense of cohesiveness and order.

Consistency in User Experience (UX)

In the realm of User Experience (UX), the principle of similarity is crucial in fostering consistency, which is a key element for user satisfaction and ease of navigation. By giving related elements consistent visual traits, designers enable users to predict and understand interactions across different sections of a digital interface.

Taking a closer look at a social media platform, each user profile includes a profile picture, username, and post history. By applying the principle of similarity, designers ensure that profile pictures have a uniform circular shape, creating a cohesive aesthetic throughout profiles. This shared visual attribute communicates the interconnectedness of these profile components, facilitating swift user recognition and navigation. Consistency also extends to post layouts, colors, and fonts, reinforcing the platform’s branding and promoting a user-friendly experience.

Creating Visual Hierarchies in User Interface (UI) Design

In User Interface (UI) design, the principle of similarity proves invaluable in establishing visual hierarchies. This hierarchical structure guides users’ attention and interaction flow by presenting information in a structured and intuitive manner.

Imagine an e-commerce app’s product page. The use of similar fonts, colors, and shapes for product titles, descriptions, and prices establishes a clear visual hierarchy. This ensures that users can swiftly distinguish essential details, aiding them in making informed purchase decisions. By adhering to the principle of similarity, designers underscore the significance of these elements, reinforcing their functional roles within the UI.

Examples of the Similarity Principle

  1. Iconography in Navigation: Consider a mobile banking app. Designers employ similar iconography – like uniformly styled icons for ‘Transactions,’ ‘Savings,’ and ‘Payments’ – to establish a cohesive navigation experience. This visual similarity helps users associate these icons with banking-related actions, enhancing usability.
  2. Button Design in Web Interface: In a weather forecasting website, the similarity principle guides the design of interactive buttons, all characterized by the consistent use of color gradients and rounded corners. This uniformity fosters an intuitive understanding of clickable elements, enhancing UX.
  3. Consistent Iconography in E-commerce: On an e-commerce platform, similar icons – such as a shopping cart, a heart for favorites, and a magnifying glass for search – are applied across product listings. This cohesive visual language simplifies navigation, ensuring a seamless shopping experience.
  4. Uniform Color Scheme in Branding: The principle of similarity finds expression in brand design, such as the consistent use of a color scheme across a company’s logo, website, and marketing materials. This visual harmony reinforces brand identity and resonates with users.
  5. Visual Consistency in App Interface: Mobile app developers employ the principle of similarity in maintaining visual consistency throughout an application. Shared navigation styles, fonts, and color palettes create a sense of unity, enhancing the overall user experience.



The Gestalt principle of similarity holds the key to unlocking design excellence by unifying visual elements and guiding user interactions. Whether enhancing consistency in UX, establishing hierarchies in UI, or fostering brand identity, the power of similarity is undeniable. As designers, understanding and strategically applying this principle allows us to craft engaging, intuitive, and memorable experiences that resonate with users across various digital landscapes.


  1. The Power of Similarity in Visual Perception: Source
  2. Design Principles for Effective UX and UI: Source
  3. Applying the Gestalt Principles in UI Design: Source

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