A close up of nails on the wooden board, twined up with yarn.
Letter Word Sentence Page Purely Gestalt

The Whole is Greater Than The Sum of Its Parts

When you read a book, you read paragraphs.

Paragraphs are made up of sentences.

Sentences are comprised of words.

Words are made of letters.


Gestalt is the German principle that says the whole is greater than sum of its parts. Your brain connects each letter to a word, understands the meaning, and connects it with a phrase. You’re not reading individual letters or reading words separately. The whole is what makes you understand its context.

From Mark Bartlett’s essay, Beyond The Margins of the Page, I’ve created this 3-dimensional poster/art piece that represents connections between fragments of information.

Prototyping the color gradiation using spray paint.


I first started off with a plywood board and spray-painted it matte black. I wrapped it with paper that has a print-out of the typography to guide the nails into the right letterform. The nails are slightly hammered in to allow the yarn to bind and stack tightly with each nail.

Foreground words are separated from the background strings.

The background sections were blocked out first with paper and sprayed with a gradient of neon colors. Then the words were blocked and the background strings was sprayed black to match the background. After spraying, I removed the template paper by ripping and cutting it away.


After a couple pokes from the sharp nails and micro paper cuts, the result of the work is cleaned up physically and digitally. I took a photo of it with natural lighting. The darker webbing between the words have a subtle gradation to match the highlighted words.


The design of the poster is finished with the entire essay, overlaying white text and lines that show the connections, metaphorically from the text.