- Rearrange shapes cut out of paper, and try to find the point at which the figure disappears into the ground.
- Cut out a series of shapes from black paper – squares, rectangles, circles and random shapes – in a variety of sizes, from small to large.
- Working with a square piece of white paper, place shapes of different sizes into the white space; place them on the white one at a time and move them around.
- Try to find the point where the distinction between figure and ground becomes unclear. Does it depend on which shape dominates the space: black or white? Is it about the position of the shape within the space? Think about how important figure-ground relationships are within composition and design.
- Write down your findings, and remember to take pictures of your progress. Submit these pictures and your write-up on your WordPress blog.
What I found out
It first I thought I had to fill the white paper almost entirely with black paper to make the figure/positive space seem like the ground/negative space.
But few elements can be easier to imagen as several things.
These three elements can be viewed as holes or windows in a white wall, shifting what’s figure and what’s ground.
Add more elements and you are in more control of what’s figure and what’s ground.
Door in white space, shifting figure/ground perspective.
Other layouts clearly state the black as figure and the white as ground.
Planets, an impressed face expression, and a snowball hitting a snowman.
Add a little movement to your images and it will be no doubt what’s figure and what’s ground.
The gif is just for fun.