Happy Valentine's Day from Negative Space

I was intrigued by today’s Google home page image (Valentine’s Day in the U.S, otherwise known as greeting card manufacturers’ $$-day).

Quick – what do you see??
If it’s not GOOGLE arranged as


it may be because it’s hard for you to differentiate between Figure & Ground – or to put it another way, to recognize which parts of the image are negative space (ground) & which are the subject (figure).
I have no idea what percentage of viewers may have trouble with this but negative space is important when creating your own images. You must be aware of it.
A couple of examples –
In the following two abstract photographs, do you see blue (subject) on a black background (negative space) or vice versa?

If I said that one was done by brushing blue paint on an asphalt road would that influence how you answered the above question?
I’ll tell you what this image really is at the bottom of the post.
Another example, a commercial logo – Federal Express

Negative space is pretty obvious in this graphic – it’s the white background on which the logo is printed. Or is it?
There are actually two different “subjects” in this clever design.

  1. The obvious subject is “FedEx…….”, however do you also see
  2. the ARROW? (==>)

To see the arrow you have to tell yourself that the negative space is red. Also, and I won’t try to explain this, you (your brain) sees either Ex or ==> but not both at the same time.
And – so what was that silly black & blue abstract?
Clearly they are photographs of black lob-lolly pine tree trunks silhouetted against a blue sky (after rotating the image 90 degrees). 😉
Happy Valentine’s Day. For you other “hubbies” out there, you remembered didn’t you? It may not be too late.

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