Closure Design Principle

When you are looking at a piece of artwork, or a design, such as a magazine cover or business cards, or even a logo, many design principles come together to create these elements. It is important to understand how these design principles work, so you can use them to create effective and visually compelling design work. This is the first part in a series that I am starting where I am going to cover the various design principles. I am starting with the closure design principle.

What is the closure design principle?

The closure design principle is where positive and negative space work together, so that your eye automatically completes shapes from negative space. Negative space is the white area, or the background color of a design. It is basically the canvas color. The way that this works, is that shapes in positive space are spaced far enough apart, but close enough together, so that your eye will automatically complete the connection for you.

Examples of the Closure Design Principle

Below are some examples of the closure design principle and brief explanations of each one.

Closure Design Principle Circle Squares

The example above shows 4 squares and over them is a white circle. Notice how the center of all 4 sides doesn’t touch, but your eye still completes the circle for you. That is the closure design principle in action!

Closure Design Principle WWF Panda

This is one of the most famous uses of the closure design principle. The WWF panda uses this principle on the head and the back of the panda, which you can see above. Your eye automatically closes the shapes of the head and the back, even though there are no outlines there.

Closure Design Principle USA Network

The closure design principle isn’t just confined to shapes. It can also apply to letters, too, such as in a logo. The USA Network is a prime example of this idea in use. Even though there is a decent amount of space between the U and the A, the contour of the positive space, combined with the closure design principle, helps your eye to complete the shape of the S. This is a very popular way to design a logo, because it is so visually compelling.

Want to Know More About the Closure Design Principle + See More Examples?

The Gestalt Principles

The Elements of Visual Design: Closure

Gestalt Principles of Perception – 5: Closure


If you understand how the closure design principle works, you can use it to create amazing design work that is timeless, while giving it a lot of visual impact. The use of positive and negative space completes shapes without outlines, and gives your work a streamlined look. Do you have any questions about this principle? Feel free to ask questions in the comments section below.

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