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In this lesson, you will learn about the Proximity principle.

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Source: Citations: Image of School of fish, Creative Commons

Video Transcription

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Hi, everyone. My name is Mario. And I'd like to welcome you to today's lesson, which is going to be on proximity.

So we'll learn about the proximity principle, talk about why it's important, and then see a few examples of proximity in practice. So as always, feel free to go at your own pace and fast forward, stop, and rewind, as you see fit. And when you're ready to go, let's get started.

So let's begin, like we typically do, by defining our key term, which is proximity. And proximity is the distance between elements in a given space. So this principle is not just referring to when to group elements together, but just how to group them as well. So when to group them, when not to group them, and how to group them.

So let's take a look at some examples. So grouping the elements together is typically done when they are related in some way. So here we have a school of fish that are all in close proximity. And that shows that they belong together. They're part of some community. And without knowing much about either of these species of fish, the image communicates something to the viewer in that the fish are really unified and stick together, and are organized, compared to sort of the purpley-pink fish that are just walloping and running amok about.

So another example here is grouping by shape. So this is very easy to understand. I don't think I have to say too much about it. And proximity may sound really basic, but it's a really important principle, because the logical arrangement of objects will dictate how the viewer will perceive a message or idea within the design and, oftentimes, guide the viewer as well.

So for example, these simple circles here are arranged in this fashion. And that might lead the viewer to perceive it as a sense of unity, perceive it with a sense of unity. Likewise, this might be perceived as orderly. Or maybe this might be equality or uniformity.

Now by contrast, if you change all these around and group them in different places, you suddenly have fragmentation. Or you get chaos. Or inequality, or lack of uniformity.

A very common example. And I think this is a good one of proximity is the common business card. So you'll notice in this card that nothing is grouped together and everything's in its own corner and such. And the viewers not really sure what order they should be reading the information. The most logical place to start would probably be in the center. And then from that point on, I guess, you're just supposed to move about the page.

By contrast, when everything's grouped together in closer proximity by their elements, there's a very clear distinction. I mean, you see the difference? There is a very logical progression and placement of the elements. It's much clearer, much easier to understand. And overall, the message that's being conveyed on the business card is a lot easier to follow.

So that actually ends today's lesson. It's so short and sweet. We'll end as usual with our key term, which was proximity. And be on the lookout for this basic principle, that's rather important, in magazines, ads, TV, and all sorts of stuff in your daily life. My name is Mario, once again. And I'll see you in the next lesson.

Terms to Know

Proximity is the distance between elements in a given space.