One of the best ways to tell a story in your design is by creatively and effectively using geometric shapes in design. How so? Stay with me.
Hello world! I’m Mike Ploger, here with Visme, a platform that’s meant for helping you design visual content that will wow your viewers.
Understanding all the different shapes and their meanings is important when beginning a design. Yes, it might seem like a lesson for a first grader, but designers of all skill levels should master the concept.
Various shapes have different meanings or can send opposite messages. A goal for any designer is keeping a message clear and consistent.
In this video, I’ll dive into the psychology of shapes and provide examples for how each shape can be used in your next graphic. Shall we?
Geometric Shapes – Square and Rectangles
Our first few shapes fall under the geometric category. These are the most simple and are instantly recognizable given how young we learn them.
I’m talking about your circles and your triangles and your square and your rectangles.
These box shapes are the ones that we see most often in our daily lives from our televisions and our phones, to street signs and business cards and newspapers.
They are virtually everywhere. And given how common they are, squares and rectangles all give us a feeling of safety, stability and assurance, even though we might not realize it.
And while it’s great to use squares and rectangles in our designs, there’s one invisible design practice when using these shapes that we all should consider – the rule of thirds.
Take a graphic and imagine a 3 by 3 grid placed over top of it. Believe it or not, the four inner sections from these shapes are key for maintaining balance.
The human eye is naturally drawn to these four points on any image. Starting with the upper left, moving down to the lower left then back up to the upper right intersection and then finishing lower right.
When starting a new rectangular or square design, keep this grid in mind as you continue to work towards a more balanced and effective design.
Geometric Shapes – Circles
Circles in design can be quite powerful. Representing a sense of completion and wholeness, you’ll see circles a lot in logos and small icons on websites.
But going back to its simple uses, circles can represent a number of real life objects. From the sun or any planet in the solar system to a ball, a ring or the classic smiley face. The options are endless.
Take a day to notice your surroundings and all the various objects that are circular by nature. Then, take that inspiration straight to your next great design.
Geometric Shapes – Triangles
Now, triangles are slightly more tricky than our other geometric shapes. Their meanings are completely dependent on their position and their point direction.
If a triangle points up, it represents stability and power. If a triangle points down, it has an unstable meaning. As with our other shapes, we see triangles throughout our daily tasks.
You’ll see them when playing music or videos, you’ll see them in nature with mountains and pyramids. Or you’ll even see them in your local pizza shop.
That’s why triangles are so unique. When paired with other triangles, you can create a circle, a square or even a rectangle. Use that to your advantage in your designs. As we see here in this example, it’s very simple, colorful, yet an effective way of using triangles.
Geometric Shapes – Polygons
And for your shapes with more than four sides, there are three options that are most common in design. I’m talking your pentagons, your hexagons and octagons. Some examples of these include the pattern on soccer balls, honeycombs or stop signs.
And perhaps the most simple way to use these shapes in your design is to just add a title inside the shape, exactly like the stop sign.
Take advantage of this method when creating thumbnail images or social media graphics. And again, don’t be afraid to get creative by pairing these shapes together.
Yes, it will start to look like a puzzle but with the right content alongside the shapes, it will help organize your information. Doing so allows you to create beautiful infographics.
Visme also allows you to do that and it makes it easier than you could ever imagine. With a wide variety of tools and pre-edited designs, all of you have to do is fill in your information to capture and inform your audience.
Organic Shapes – Natural Shapes
Organic or natural shapes are those that are found unbothered in our world. Plants, raindrops, splatter – anything we might find that a human hasn’t influenced.
While geometric shapes are completely subliminal, these are not. They typically have a very clear message or reference.
That’s why one of the most common landing spots for these shapes is in Go Green ads or with outdoor stores. If these fit your message then go for it. But just keep in mind that you want to keep your message consistent.
Abstract Shapes – Symbols
Our last type of shapes are the abstract shapes. These carry much higher symbolism than geometric shapes, so keep their use to a minimum in design.
Too many of these shapes can often become confusing or overwhelming where squares or other shapes can be limitless.
One popular symbol is the star. Adding stars to any image symbolizes importance and notoriety. Heck, even when I’m preparing notes for these videos, I add stars to catch my editor’s attention.
For graphics, keep in mind the color of these stars. A gold star may remind us of a night sky while a blue star may signify an award. Either way, stars are great ways to draw attention to a specific detail.
Arrows are beneficial for capturing attention as well. Coming in all sizes, arrows can be big and bold to give a strength, thin to be playful, small as bullet points, the list goes on and on.
And don’t forget, a triangle of arrows is the symbol for recycling. As triangles convey direction, don’t use 10 different types of arrows for one graphic. Stay consistent with your styling.
And as the digital age continues to progress, more symbols have entered our lives on a regular basis. Emojis, pin drops – you name it.
There are icons at the tips of our fingers all the time. And if your audience is a younger, more tech-savvy crowd, using these might be highly beneficial.
Okay, your turn! Time to take what you learned here and apply in your own designs. One last tip and I know I’ve already said it, find the one style of shape that you like and stick to it. Create a brand for yourself and stay consistent.
Remember, Visme is ready to help you right now! You can get started implementing shapes in your own designs right away with a few easy clicks. Just go to Visme.co to get started.
Hey! Thank you so much for watching. Do not forget to subscribe to our channel for even more content that is meant for helping you. Well, hope to see you back here soon. Until then, I’m Mike with Visme, helping you Make Information Beautiful.