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Elements of Design - Shapes

This is one of the Elements of Design.
by

Allison Longcrier

on 12 February 2015

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Transcript of Elements of Design - Shapes

Shapes
Just like lines, alone or in combination with other lines or shapes they can aid in the readability, appearance, and message of a design.

The three basic types of shapes are:
Shapes
Geometric
Natural
Abstract
Geometric Shapes
These shapes are structured, often symmetrical shapes.
These include:
Squares or Rectangles
Circles or Ovals
Triangles or Cones
Octagons
Hexagons
And more…

Natural Shapes
are found in the real world. This shape looks exactly like it does in the real world.
Natural shapes can add interest and reinforce a theme.
Frame text with a coiling rope or a spray of leaves or flowers.
Use a freeform shape to convey a feeling of spontaneity.
Abstract Shapes
have a recognizable form, but are not real.
The square is a geometric shape.
The square denotes honesty and stability.
They are familiar, trusted shapes.
Squares
They are the most common geometric shapes we encounter.
Circles
Circles suggest infinity.
They are also protective (think of protective encircling arms).
They can also denote free movement such as a rolling ball or a more controlled movement such as a spinning globe.
Circles are less common elements of designwhich makes them good for grabbing attention, providing emphasis, and breaking up familiar rectangular blocks of text.
Triangles
Triangles suggest action.

Triangles may convey either
conflict or strength.

Triangles can direct movement (up, down, left,
right depending on which way they 'point') but rather
than moving themselves, they point the way for the reader.

Triangles are suggestive of many different shapes and ideas.

They can represent a religious Trinity, a pyramid, a flag, an arrow, a beacon.

Some abstract shapes are almost universally recognized and easily 'read' even when the text is in an unfamiliar language.
The stylized wheelchair, the male and female symbols for restrooms, and the jagged steps for stairs or an escalator are some examples.
Icons are often abstract or stylized shapes.
Practical Uses for Shapes
Some ways that you might use shapes in your design are to:
Organize, connect, separate
Symbolize an idea
Create movement
Provide texture or depth
Convey a mood or emotion
Provide emphasis
Provide a framework
Elements of Design
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