Things To Know About Shapes In Graphic Design

Shapes are part of graphic design. Shapes have a psychology and are applicable in making logos, banners and other graphic products. This post tells you the things you need to know about shapes. There are 3 types of shapes you can use in design which are geometrical shapes, abstract shapes and organic shapes. Abstract shapes are illustrated everyday objects and symbols like mobile app icons belong to this type. Organic shapes are asymmetrical and are shapes from nature. They are not manmade shapes. Geometrical shapes are the shapes of octagons, hexagons, pentagons, triangles, squares and circles.

What are the psychology of shapes?

Graphic designers make use of shapes to communicate various ideas, give depth and texture, and emphasize movement. The designs can come in various colours and represents various moods and meaning.

Geometric shapes

Squares and rectangles are used to denote conformity and peacefulness. They are familiar shapes and are often used on the base of designs. The shapes are mathematical.


Circles stand for continuity of something that has no beginning or end. Circles are also used to illustrate the moon, the earth, the sun and other objects. Circles represent calmness, warmness and harmony. They represent visual movement and denotes familiar objects like grape fruits, oranges, different fruits, bills and wheels.

Triangles and arrows

Triangles and arrows have their meanings in graphic design. This means change according to how they are printing, they may be pointing right or left, down or up with variation in meaning. Triangles that point upwards represent trust and stability. It can represent success and growth, domination and leadership. Triangles that face downwards stands for risk. The ones facing right or left stands for forward or backward movement.

Sharp edges

When handling triangles, rectangles and squares, the shapes communicate their meaning. Angles are energetic visuals and involves more eye movement. Wider or flatter angles stand for calmness and energy. 

Curved edges

Curved edges are used in graphic design to make hard corners more friendly. They are used in rectangular buttons to make their edges soft and vertical.

Parallel lines

Vertical lines represent aggression or sometimes strength. They represent leadership and dominance. Parallel lines engage the viewer in eye movement. Horizontal lines represent balance and stability. They can represent security and calmness.


Crosses have external means. They represent health in hospitals and their meaning varies with religion. The cross is a major symbol of Christianity. Diagonal crosses show as ‘X’ represent the sign for ‘do not’, behind or front. Crosses can be customised.


Symbols are used too in graphic design. Symbols like a heart stands for love, scales stand for achievement and success, while clocks stand for time. Animal shapes are used in graphic design. A flighty and friendly bird is used on the logo of Twitter for example. Symbols stand for traits. 

Abstracts shapes

You can make custom shapes in graphic design. Abstract shapes like an irregular polygon, or the half of a circles are examples of shapes you can use. A geometric shape like the square can be rounded to become an abstract shape. Understanding shapes will enable you make efficient graphic design.