The Psychology of Shapes

Many people do it without thinking, but there are rules and guidelines to making something aesthetically pleasing. The golden ratio is something that recurs in beautiful things. The rule of thirds draws the viewers eye into the composition and leads them on a journey. Anything and everything about design can be stripped down to the very basics. From typography to photography, it can be analysed in its simplest and purest form — shapes. Like telling a story, it's up to the people to put these shapes together in a way that creates something visually stunning and engaging.

posted on 18 / 09 / 19


Many people do it without thinking, but there are rules and guidelines to making something aesthetically pleasing. The golden ratio is something that recurs in beautiful things. The rule of thirds draws the viewers eye into the composition and leads them on a journey. Anything and everything about design can be stripped down to the very basics. From typography to photography, it can be analysed in its simplest and purest form — shapes. Like telling a story, it’s up to the people to put these shapes together in a way that creates something visually stunning and engaging.

 

Geometric Shapes

 

When most people hear the word shape, they instantly think about geometric shapes such as triangles, circles and squares. But have you ever thought about what they mean?

 

Squares and Rectangles

 

These are the two shapes that are thought to be the most commonly used. Seeing them multiple times a day, from the walls of a building to a computer screen. Straight lines and right angles are a common occurrence in day to day life. Being strongly associated with buildings, squares and rectangles have a strong sense of trust and authority. Websites such as Apple use rectangular shapes to break up their website and frequently put information in boxes. It may not seem like an obvious design choice, but the use of these particular shapes is there to further emphasises the fact they want you to fully trust the brand.

 

Triangles

 

The triangle is a very energetic and dynamic shape. As the lines are placed in a way that directly moves your eyes to whichever direction it is pointing, it’s often associated with motion and direction. Like every shape, triangles have multiple meaning attached to them. When upright, the triangle brings feelings of stability and balance, but reverse the shape and it reverses the meaning. An upside down triangle is associated with risk, danger and excitement.

 

Circles, Ovals and Ellipses

 

There is an air of magic and mystery to this shape. Think of the symbol for eternity, there is no beginning and no end. Couple this with the fact that these shapes are often associated with cosmic objects and you get that beautiful aura of wholeness, completion and harmony. Having no angles, this makes the shapes that fit into this category much softer and milder. Mirado uses circles to their full effect on their website. By having their Call to Actions in a circle, it provides a sense of care and a wholeness that benefits the target audience.

Overall, shapes play a very important part of design. By cleverly using certain shapes, you can make your audience feel a certain way about your brand. This also helps guide them to where you want them to be.