Sunday, June 16, 2024

Shapes and Graphic Design: Making a First Impression

Graphic DesignShapes and Graphic Design: Making a First Impression


When your market sees your brand, what’s the first impression they get from you? You can improve that impression in multiple ways, like through Emotional Design or another more subtle method—shapes.

Did you know you could use the latter to encourage your market to see you positively? No worries, that’s why we’re here. Join us as we dive deep into how shapes help your business gain a positive impression on your market.

We divided the discussion into three topics to help you better the shape game in your brand kit and effectively reach your target audience.

How Do Shapes Affect My First Impression?

What item is currently in front of you? The answers may vary depending on the time you’re reading this blog.

You may be reading through your working laptop or smartphone. And the typical shape of both is a rectangle with square buttons for your keyboard. And those shapes are either on-screen or below your fingertips as you multitask.

That instance proved that shapes are around us and have become the foundation of any design. You may even have a tumbler, mug, or cup beside you for your hot or cold beverage.

A flat circle became the base of that beverage container, with a cylindrical shape creating the holder itself. And a crescent shape makes the handle for the mug and cup.

The merchandise design becomes ergonomically engineered to make your hand grip it securely to help you drink from it. It’s a fascinating build-up, right?

Either way, you have shapes surrounding your daily life, and as a business, you can utilize their power to create excellent first impressions for newcomers to your brand.

Shapes speak a particular language through representation and symbolism. Your first impression will depend on how you combine the various styles, typography, and color palette.

For example, let’s use Spotify. They used a circle surrounding three thick arching lines in the shade of green. What does that tell us about their business?

Spotify is a music streaming service that allows you to connect with people worldwide through songs which the circle and arching lines mean. The color green represents the mix of Spotify wanting to grow and show its creativity while looking fresh and modern.

Did you get that feel just by looking at their logo design? It’s a process of a business creating positive associations.

With shapes, you strengthen your hooks to retain and grab the attention of your target market. It’s hitting two birds with one stone.

To better mix and match shapes for your first impression, get to know the symbolism of each in the next part of our blog.

Psychology of Shapes

In this portion, you’ll learn the true power behind the shapes you’ll use for your branding. Depending on the direction of your form, the size, or even the color you use to beautify your design will determine how memorable you’ll become as a business.

We thoroughly researched the most common shapes and their meaning from various sources and found that you can categorize them into five types and seven forms for your design.

The four forms are

  • Simple shapes are the base shape that the design revolves around.
  • Compound shapes are the collation of shapes to create an image you may want for your design.
  • Organic shapes are what we see in nature because they appear in our surroundings daily—unsymmetrical and curvy.
  • Inorganic shapes are manufactured objects; they follow a more traditional and rigid look.
  • Abstract shapes become icons that people associate with processes like the ones you see near bathrooms. This type works on association and shared knowledge of people.

The next part will examine the meaning of the shapes creating your design’s building blocks. Each of them contributes to the overall impression you make for your business.

Abstracts to Icons

Firstly, these are the shapes that, with one look, it make your viewer say, “Ah, that’s how it works.”

And since abstract design simplifies processes into images, they become icons. These are strong in creating associations with common knowledge as their meaning and allow you to tell your market how you do things creatively and in a simplified way without explaining them through words.

Everything Circles

Next, we have all things related to circles. From the simple round shape to ellipses and ovals, these shapes give your design the meaning that your brand is steady and complete.

You’ll serve your customers in a friendly manner and possibly have an affinity with mystery and astronomy (take a look at NASA’s logo) because the typical shape of the planets is circular. And lastly, you have infinite room for growth, unity, and commitment toward your customers.

Nature’s Shapes

These are the common patterns in our physical world made by mother nature, from the lines around the trunk of a tree to the individual petals of flowers.

Or the ocean waves give off a sense of rage or tranquillity. Each shape under this category, also known as organic shapes, allows your business to look in touch with our natural world.

And many advocate protecting it, so if you want an eco-friendly design that connects with the masses, these elements are what you want to add to your design.

Neutral Squares and Rectangles

Squares and Rectangles, these shapes with sharp edges, are among the more common forms used in the design. They give off a sense of security because of the straight lines and right angles.

They’re a constant that allows you to brand yourself and tell your market you’re reliable and serious about serving them. Creating such an atmosphere enables you to appear prepared continually and strong, making you an anchor and basis in your respective industry.

Pointy Triangles

For triangles, there’s a matter of direction. They may have positive and negative connotations, up or down, left or right, depending on how you mix and match your color palette, font styles, and visual hierarchy for triangles.

But despite the meaning of this shape varying in direction, they ultimately mean adventure, excitement, balance, and intensity. It makes sense since upright triangles are where their apex is at the top.

They’re often associated with mountains which leads to a hike which is considered an adventure. Do you want your brand to exude such qualities?

Spiraling Creativity

When taken at face value, spiraling as a word itself connotes the meaning of madness. But when brought under the light of a shape, spirals are versatile shapes with an interesting representation.

Spirals are a series of repeated patterns of one shape, giving the illusion of movement. Such a design means creativity, growth, expansion, and transformation.

This shape could become an accent that leads to your core image, which allows your imagination to spring out.

The Gons

Lastly, we have shapes that end with gon—pentagons, hexagons, and octagons. These are the shapes that some of our everyday items have, like umbrellas and stop signs.

But aside from that, they also appear in nature through bee hives. In turn, these shapes represent order and power.

The gons are great for establishing your brand as authoritative and professional. You got to understand why shapes create an excellent impression for your market.

Let’s explore the best practices to help you execute a well-rounded design.

Best Practices for Using Shapes in Your Design

Knowing the meaning of each standard shape is excellent, but effectively using them to milk out their potential is entirely different.

This portion will help you arrange your shapes to create a compound design that relates to your viewers on a deeper level.

There are seven steps to help you effectively use shape psychology for your first impression.

  1. Always Add Context
  2. Get Inspired and Create A Mood Board
  3. Visual Hierarchy is a Must
  4. Subliminally Imply Meaning
  5. Relevance Please
  6. Color Choice Matters
  7. Careful of the Trademarks

1. Always Add Context

Work with the common knowledge that people already have of your brand. Knowing which symbols are generally accepted by all allows you to build on that and creatively tweak it yourself.

For example, a circle is usually known as a planet or ball. Add a 3D design to it with a fun color palette like gradients, and you become a business selling astronomy-themed items or a sports brand with a fun or mystical vibe.

2. Get Inspired and Create A Mood Board

Next, look at your competition and other elements that could help you polish your design. Collate them on a physical or digital mood board to keep your creative juices flowing.

Let’s say you’re designing a brand kit that promotes a particular culture through food. Collect photos of foods, color palettes, font styles, and patterns that effectively show what the brand stands for.

After that, you can start mixing and matching shapes for their design.

3. Visual Hierarchy is a Must

You’ve finalized the shapes you need for the design. Make sure that all elements jive together and are placed purposefully.

Your visual hierarchy must be transparent to help your viewer’s eyes distinguish the direct message from your design. Take a look at The Hall of Zero Limits.

From the landing page, it’s clear that Sprite and Wakanda Forever worked together on the website. But beyond that, the page’s name utilizes the circle shape of O in zero to tell you it is as the name suggests.

It’s a collation of Wakanda’s lore and best moments, but the placing of from iconography to menus is easy on the eyes of the visitor.

4. Subliminal Implication

You don’t want to over-market yourself to your targets. It could lower their view of you since you can be deemed as trying too hard.

Your design is the best way to tell your market about who you are, your message, and why you exist. A great example of this is Pepsi and its overall marketing strategy.

Their marketing relies heavily on how their logo is associated with trending themes. And, of course, how they utilize shapes to stand out amongst the saturated industry.

Still with us? We’re almost done~

5. Relevance, Please.

Creating the perfect image that your customers can relate to is tricky. For starters, ensure it’s relevant to your niche to attract your target market faster.

If you’re in the food industry, choose shapes like circles and triangles to help establish your friendly yet adventurous taste in flavors. Don’t forget to add color and beautiful your business name through serifs or san serifs.

6. Color Choice Matters

To strengthen your shape language, pick the perfect color palette to pair with them. Base your choices on trending palettes like gradients, 2023’s Color of the Year, or muted colors.

Or, if you want to go deeper and persuade your market, pick from the color wheel and check the meaning of color through color psychology.

But you can also base your shape’s color palette on what type of marketing you want to go with; like, do you want a cute or a slightly humorous one?

Answer those questions and get the perfect palette for your overall brand identity.

7. Careful of the Trademarks

Lastly, ensure you’re careful with similar elements from your design. As we stated above, shapes are the building blocks of creation.

There’s a possibility that your final render could look like competitors, so thoroughly research designs and trademark policies on your location to avoid a lawsuit and being accused of plagiarism.

Design with Shape to Create A Lasting Positive Impression

Woohoo, that was an information dump and roller coaster of ideas. We hope you learned a ton and take in these tips to help you create the best-fit shape design for your business.

If you need help with the process, don’t hesitate to tap us here at DesignCrowd by collaborating with a freelance designer or holding a design contest for your branding needs.

Or you can customize various templates from logos to business cards, Instagram reels, and more at BrandCrowd. Either way, we know you’ll pick the shapes that truly emulate you as a business.

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Written by DesignCrowd on Monday, April 17, 2023

DesignCrowd is an online marketplace providing logo, website, print and graphic design services by providing access to freelance graphic designers and design studios around the world.

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