Last week we looked at the humble yet versatile line as an element used in design. Today we’ll take a look at shape.Shape is defined as any element that’s used to determine or give form. We see shapes every day in logos, flags, books, clothes. A shape can exist in isolation or used in conjunction with type or lines. Look at the shapes below. There are no colors, yet many people will understand what these shapes mean or represent.As a design element, a shape can be formed in many ways. It could be a block of color, an illustration or a photograph. The designer Saul Bass was a master when working with shapes. Here’s the poster for The Man With The Golden Arm. The photographs and the illustration of the crooked arm are part of the shapes and the text is either outside or surrounded by shapes.Watch the opening credits for Anatomy Of A Murder and see how Bass combined text with simple but bold shapes, combined with jazzy music (Duke Ellington, I think).
- Design Elements: The Line
- Primary Design Elements, A New Series
- Create Type Within A Shape In Photoshop
Frequently Asked Questions about Design Elements: Shape
What is the significance of shapes in design?
Shapes are fundamental elements in design. They are used to create visual interest, guide the viewer’s eye, and communicate information. Different shapes can evoke different emotions and meanings. For example, circles are often associated with unity and harmony, while squares can symbolize stability and balance. Using shapes strategically in design can enhance the overall aesthetic and effectiveness of the design.
How can I use shapes effectively in my designs?
To use shapes effectively in your designs, you need to understand the principles of design such as balance, contrast, and hierarchy. Shapes can be used to create a focal point, guide the viewer’s eye, or create a sense of movement. Experiment with different shapes, sizes, and arrangements to see what works best for your design.
What are the different types of shapes in design?
There are three main types of shapes in design: geometric, organic, and abstract. Geometric shapes are regular and precise, such as circles, squares, and triangles. Organic shapes are irregular and often resemble shapes found in nature. Abstract shapes are stylized or simplified versions of real-world objects.
How do shapes affect the mood of a design?
Shapes can greatly influence the mood of a design. For example, rounded shapes tend to feel softer and more comforting, while angular shapes can feel more dynamic and energetic. The size, color, and arrangement of shapes can also affect the mood of a design.
Can shapes convey meaning in design?
Yes, shapes can convey meaning in design. For example, a heart shape is universally recognized as a symbol of love, while a star shape can symbolize excellence or achievement. The meaning of shapes can also be influenced by cultural and societal norms.
What is the role of negative space in shape design?
Negative space, or the space around and between shapes, plays a crucial role in design. It can help to define shapes, create balance, and guide the viewer’s eye. Using negative space effectively can enhance the overall aesthetic and readability of a design.
How can I create a sense of depth with shapes?
You can create a sense of depth with shapes by using techniques such as overlapping, size variation, and perspective. Using shadows and gradients can also help to create an illusion of depth.
What is the difference between 2D and 3D shapes in design?
2D shapes have width and height, but no depth, while 3D shapes have width, height, and depth. 3D shapes can create a more realistic and immersive experience, but they can also be more complex to design and render.
How can I use shapes to create a visual hierarchy in my design?
You can use shapes to create a visual hierarchy in your design by varying the size, color, and position of shapes. Larger, brighter, or more centrally placed shapes tend to attract more attention, while smaller, darker, or peripheral shapes tend to recede into the background.
Can I combine different shapes in my design?
Yes, you can combine different shapes in your design to create more complex and interesting compositions. Combining different shapes can also help to create contrast, balance, and movement in your design.