Social Media Icons fall under which Gestalt Principle?

There are 5 Gestalt's Principles:

  1. Similarity
  2. Proximity
  3. Continuation
  4. Closure
  5. Figure and Ground

I am confused as to which Principle does the social media icon falls under. Is it Similarity or Proximity or Continuation.

  • 1
    Please provide more details here.
    – JonW
    Jul 29, 2015 at 9:55
  • 1
    Is this is a coursework question?
    – Peter
    Jul 29, 2015 at 9:59
  • yes, it was asked in one of the exams as well.
    – Sangeeta
    Jul 29, 2015 at 10:03
  • While this may be the sort of thing that lecturers like to ask to test your knowledge, they have very little practical use in UX. Hence I don't see any UX value in answering a purely academic question like this, and so I'm closing the question.
    – JohnGB
    Jul 29, 2015 at 14:00

1 Answer 1


Gestalt principles are not mutually exclusive categories. A good set of share buttons has proximity, similarity, and perhaps enclosure.

But often you see differently styled buttons together, with little similarity. good similarity

The top row is VERY consistent, but sacrifices some of the brand identity. The bottom row is already showing differnt { shapes, font styles, types of shading etcetera. And the following is just a mess:

bad similarity http://media.mediatemple.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/social-media-counters-1.png

  • Icons are similar in size and shape. Something like heartserv.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/…
    – Sangeeta
    Jul 29, 2015 at 10:20
  • Those have both similarity and proximity.Though it appears to be split in to two rows in terms of proximity. It could be used to separate more professional links (website, linkedin, official YT channel, RSS) from more casual networks (pinterest, twitter). Jul 29, 2015 at 10:32
  • If we assume that it is only shown in one row/line then I guess it should be similarity right? This URL also says that it should be similarity - stanford.edu/class/cs194h/studio/iholmes/assignments/…
    – Sangeeta
    Jul 29, 2015 at 10:37
  • Nope, still has proximity as well. They're all grouped together in the bottom right. If you look at the shopping cart icon, it shares similarity (white BG, grey icon, simple silhouette) with the social icons but it is placed all the way on the other side of the page. You should really step off the idea that elements share proximity OR similarity OR continuation etcetera. Good UX design uses different combinations of principles to organize more complex categories. They're like the circles of a venn-diagram. Jul 29, 2015 at 11:27

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