Shapes are visually present on a daily basis and we are affected by them as well. A circle may translate to movement and fluidity while triangles are of stability and power. However we choose to interpret it, shapes have meaning whether they are in natural elements and in this case, graphic design.
Below, we have prepared a list of elements that will be useful in design and layout. We incorporated logo examples as well to guide you in crafting your brand and gain insight on visual design and application of such. Experiment as much as you can and if you are on a color hunt, better check out our heap of color design tools to ease your color selection.
Types of Shapes
There are three categories of Shapes to consider: Geometric, Organic and Abstract. Each has its own qualities and are flexible to cross over from one another.
Geometric Shapes by guggenheim.org
When you think of shapes, geometric shapes are the top of mind. They range from circles, triangles, rectangles, ovals, and so on. On the practical side, geometric shapes are mostly found in man-made things since these easier to produce and craft things with. These shapes tend to be symmetrical, suggesting order. On the flipside, the shapes with curves translate connection and community.
Natural or Organic shapes
Organic shapes by Treehouse Blog
This kind of shapes mimic the natural elements we see around us like leaves, rocks, clouds, trees and so on. They are irregular, uneven and at times, could look intricate. With its free-form nature, they tend to be pleasing and comforting, suggesting innate harmony that adds visual interest to an artwork and design.
Abstract Shapes are loosely based and simplified versions of organic shapes and they tend to lack true definition. Examples such as stick figures, typographic glyphs, and visual communication designs such as those non-verbal street signs (PWD, Caution, Danger etc.), can perfectly be described as abstract shapes since they are to represent ideas and concept.
Let us talk about the meaning of shapes
Now it has come time to talk about shapes. What can we say? There are endless possibilities in design, as well as a variety of shapes and the combinations of such. Each shape communicates a certain message towards the viewer. Lucky for you, we’ll help you get by about visual design. Let’s get started!
Circles represent elements that we have come to be familiar of, including the sun, the earth and other celestial objects between. They also suggest familiar objects like wheels, balls, fruits and so on.
Circles translate free movement and are much emphasized when shading and lines are added. Though circles have a feminine association, it still brings about energy, power, unity, harmony and infinite. This shape denotes safety and connection since it confines what’s within
On the design side of things, circles are widely used more in website and digital designs that in print projects. The latter is a common shape for buttons and call-to-action buttons since it brings immediate attention because circles are not so commonly used.
Squares and Rectangles
In design, squares and rectangles are the default shape for design projects. It suggests a sense of equality, conformity, and trust. These shapes are considered to be stable and since they are widely used, it could get plain and boring. Rectangles are commonly used for branding and advertising collateral such as business cards, banners, outdoor advertising as well as websites, newspapers and so on.
Squares are least used due to its four equal sides but it is helpful in iconography, website categories, grids, and so on.
Triangles imply motion and can have quite an opposite meaning. When designed with a solid base or foundation it could indicate power and stability. On the flipside, it could denote instability, conflict, tension, and nervousness. In a cultural sense, triangles represent some religious undertones be it Father-Son-Holy Ghost, among others.
With its sharp features, triangles are mostly used for directional and navigational tools in design projects since it offers such visual grammar of orientation.
Felipe Gottardello Photography
A spiral shape has an intricate, creative, and free-flowing beauty to it. Spirals are associated with growth and transformation. Similar to the triangle shape, it is connected to religious symbols, cycles of life, and seasons but too many spirals create a sense of conflict.
While crosses are strongly associated to religion, it also symbolizes health, hope, and balance. Crosses have been a design trend these days. It has been a staple for street style brands. A cross shape can appear in either a “t” or “x” or a combination of intersecting lines as well as shapes.
Curved shapes translate rhythm, movement, and high energy. Curved shapes are often seen as feminine sincethe softness of its movement creates pleasure and happiness. On the other hand, sharp curves are youthful and alive and are seen as masculine.
To end this discussion…
Applying shapes in designs adds visual interest and give off emotion the viewers. Make sure to keep your designs and layouts simple because going overboard with shapes could translate as conflict, confusion, and disinterest. This is especially true in branding. It would reflect the company or brand thus resulting to distrust towards the latter.
On the practical side, having such an intricate design for your logo or having too many details could be unreasonable. It is expected that logos will be re-sized to a much bigger or smaller size, depending on the medium it is to be placed on. When it is re-sized, the details could appear crowded and could not be easily distinguished.
To gain more insight on logo sizes and variations, make sure to check out the things to consider in crafting your brand guide to help you get through this meticulous process in branding.
Lucky for you, we have more offerings in store. We have multiple options for you to consider. We also have prepared a designer’s guide to logo design trends that we are sure to aid you in crafting a fully-realized logo concept. Further, we have additional ideas, concepts, and designs to help inspire you for your upcoming projects. Hope this was of great help in creating your logo and brand design. Get started now!
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