Learning Activity – Form and Space

The assignment

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Here I made a face, flag(can also be a cross or  a window) and a play button.


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.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s