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Logo Design Tips: The Psychology of Shapes

Shape Psychology

Psychology plays a role in everything that we do and everything you see. For instance, did you know that there is such a thing as shape psychology? Many are not aware of this, but the shapes of objects send a message to the audience, and many are not aware of it. The forms you use and how you create a design will have an impact on what the audience thinks, and how they feel. Your logo is one the designer’s most powerful tools for developing and promoting a brand. When your brand is in development, the design of your logo is one of the determining factors on how your audience view’s your company. Logo’s can elicit an emotional response from the viewer, and it’s this reaction that has an effect on how the audience sees your service, product or company. Even the simplest logos can be effective (think of Nike’s swoosh!), and this is due to the utilization of successful logo shapes.

It doesn’t matter if the design if 2D or 3D, our subconscious is significantly affected by forms and shapes. A designer uses this knowledge to convey messages. Create more meaningful and effective logo designs for your next business card or promotional materials by understanding shape psychology. Take a look at the most commonly used forms in design and learn what signals they send to the viewer.


Circles/Oval/Rings/Ellipses – Circles are a simple shape, but they pack quite a punch. Circles often suggest stability, love, sturdiness, sophistication, innovation, energy, partnership, power, and endurance. Circles are a symbol for life (think “circle of life”), as it represents and creates a sense of support, completeness, harmony, and infiniteness. Circles also imply unification and movement, because there is no beginning or end.


Triangles/Pyramids – Triangles carry with it a sense of danger and dynamism, thanks to the use of diagonal lines. If you want to give off the feeling of power, reliability, and masculinity, be sure to use this simple structure.

Rectangles/Squares – While squares and rectangles can be dull when they are used incorrectly, these shapes give off the impression of reliability, efficiency, power, stability, conformity, strength, trust, structure, equality, and of solidness. This is because of the balanced use of horizontal and vertical lines. While this is a commonly used shape, it is that way for a reason.


Diagonal/Angled Lines – Overuse of this type of line can quickly make the design seem untrustworthy, dangerous and volatile. However, when diagonal and angled lines are used correctly, they give off a sense of liveliness, health, dynamism, energy, hope, vibrancy, balance, and rapidity.

Vertical Lines – There is a balance needed with this type of line, as it requires much careful thought when used in design. If vertical lines are used incorrectly, vertical lines can come across as aggressive, cold, menacing, and domineering. However, when vertical lines are used correctly, they suggest efficiency, professionalism, balance, sophistication, reliability, strength, and stability.

Horizontal Lines – Horizontal lines can negate the aggression and menacing feelings that verticals and diagonals can give off. This is because they have a calming effect that soothes the viewer. Horizontal lines project a natural sense of balance. This particular type of line often stands for community, composure, silence, peace, and tranquility.

Curved Lines – While inverted curves can look like a frown when orientated correctly curved lines can mimic a smile. It’s no wonder that curved lines promote and give off a sense of movement, happiness, comfort, support, pleasure, care, protection, compassion, generosity, affection, tenderness, friendship, love, and a sense of rhythm.

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