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Visual Element – Shape

Visitor in this mission you are going to explore the first key Visual Element - SHAPE.

Follow along as guest instructor Gareth David discusses the Visual Element - SHAPE.

Visual Element - SHAPE

The next element of good design is shape. Shape is any element that you use to give or determine form. Shapes also communicate ideas. For example, an international company may use a circle in their logo that could suggest the earth. Unusual shapes attract attention. Because people are used to seeing images regular shapes such as a rectangle, using a shape such a star would call attention to that image. Another example would be arranging type in a shape rather than in vertical columns.

There are three ways that shape enhances your layout. First, shape helps to sustain reader interest. Shapes can be used to break up a page that uses a lot of text. Second, shape is used to organize and separate. A part of the text can be placed in a shape with a colorful background and will add variety to the page. Last, shape can be used as a conceptual tool. You can use shape to lead your reader’s eye through the design. In layouts, the eye looks for a place to begin and will follow through the design to the end. Shape can help you keep your reader’s attention.

The three different types of shapes- geometric, natural and abstract. Geometric shapes are triangles, squares, rectangles and circles. Geometric shapes are regular and structured, and make excellent building blocks for design. Natural shapes are plant, animal or human, and are irregular and fluid. For example, instead of using a rectangular shape to frame part of a page, you could use ivy if it is appropriate, to give the page a light, airy feeling. Abstracted shapes are defined as simplified versions of natural shapes. An example of an abstracted shape is the symbol for handicapped asscessible is a figure in a wheelchair.

To use SHAPE in your designs:

  • Frame a photograph using irregular shapes.
  • Symbolize an idea.
  • Connect pieces of information.
  • Make a part of the body copy more interesting.
  • Highlight information using a box with a shade of a color.
  • Imply letterforms by using a triangle to represent the letter “A” or a circle to represent the letter “O.”
  • Tie together all the elements on a layout.

To claim MASTERY for this Mission:

  1. Create a NEW POST. Title: Visual Element - Shape Category: Design Theory.
  2. In your own words describe shape as a visual design element.
  3. Create a NEW DOCUMENT in Adobe Illustrator and create a design that demonstrates SHAPE as a visual design element. BE CREATIVE!!!
  4. Save the new document for the Web and insert into your post.
  5. Don't forget to PUBLISH your post.

Shape is just one of several visual elements used in design. Continue on to discover what other visual elements are used in design.

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