How to use shapes to shout out loud

Using shapes to shout out loud or just to accentuate a point can generate a greater response from your audience.

A great deal of thought goes into the shapes and colors used in web and graphic design techniques for good reason. Different colors and shapes tend to convey a certain tone or might even make the viewer feel a certain way. Every product, service, or campaign works to engage some sort of specific audience genre… whether it be a certain age group, gender, or a group of people who live in a specific geographical area. Some projects will require a timid or soothing approach, while others should convey power or aggression and excitement. Different shapes convey different moods and emotions. What kind of tone should your project convey? Who is your preferred audience and what kind of reaction are you working for?

Shouting with ShapesMany studies have shown that people are generally more comforted by curves. Rounded shapes tend to send a positive emotional message of harmony and protection. The circle is often used in a logo to represent unity, commitment, love or community. So to comfort your viewers, you may wish to employ imagery that uses curved edges and borders instead of straight and square. When tested or surveyed in many cases both men and women preferred the look and feel of softer curves and edges on product package designs and architecture.

Circles are most frequently used to represent things that create a sense of completeness. Because Circles do not have a beginning or end, they imply movement. This shape is also sometimes thought to suggest infiniteness and harmony. In web design, circles are often used as the go-to shape for buttons or call-to-action icons. Use of a circle in a project typically brings immediate attention to that element because the shape is not so commonly used. Circles, ovals, and ellipses tend to project a positive emotional message. Using a circle in a logo can suggest community, friendship, love, relationships and unity. Curves and circles tend to represent:

  • Completeness
  • Eternity
  • Femininity
  • Intellectualism
  • Love
  • Movement
  • Protection

Not to be outdone, squares and rectangles express being grounded and stability when used in a design.

Shouting with shapesRational and practical, squares and rectangles have straight lines and right angles with a very mathematical and balanced feel. Shapes and straight edged lines found in squares, rectangles, and triangles suggest professionalism, efficiency, and stability appealing to the left brain of the audience. They create a feeling of balanced practicality and used with colors like orange, red, and blue, they can create feelings that are bright and modern. Straight-edged logo shapes such as squares and triangles suggest stability in more practical terms and can also be used to imply balance. Straight lines and precise logo shapes also impart strength, professionalism, and efficiency.

Triangles represent power, progression, strength, purpose, and direction. Almost every use of a triangle implies motion toward a specific direction. Typically, the viewer’s eye is drawn to the widest part of the shape first and then follows it to the point. One of the most common uses for triangles in design projects would be when they are used as directional or navigational tools to guide the eye or mouse direction. Triangles are often small in comparison to the canvas and can sometimes be joined together in a sort of grouping to create a dynamic image or houndstooth background design. Straight edges with sharp corners represent:

  • Aggression
  • Boldness
  • Courage
  • Domination
  • Equality
  • Formality
  • Growth
  • Honesty
  • Masculinity
  • Order
  • Rationality
  • Security
  • Stability
  • Trust
  • Uniformity

Using both squares and rectangles in graphic design creates a perception of power and strength.

Shapes In DesignWhen those are mixed with other media featuring rounded contours, a sense of balance and reliability is created. Curved Lines can evoke a more feminine reaction akin to happiness, generosity, and a sense of rhythm. When they are used together with some angular lines, they can present a sense of innovation like that in the Nike “swoosh” logo. Most projects use shapes in such a way that you don’t even really see or think about the shapes. They are combined and integrated into the perfect places with appropriate coloring in order to maintain design flow. This is how shapes should be used. Using variances to draw the eye through from the beginning of the media to the intended conclusion makes for a perfect arrangement and usage of shapes.

For best results when working to choose shapes and colors for a campaign, determine your audience, what tone will garner the reaction you require, then apply the shapes and colors that would best suit your overall purpose in advertising both on and offline for the highest conversion and return on investment.

 

About The Author

Eliyahna has been a web developer and designer since 1997 and enjoys coding, learning new languages, marketing techniques, and helping businesses grow.