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Our subconscious mind responds in different ways to different shapes.
The shapes that you use for your logo designs can have a profound effect on the viewer from a psychological standpoint.
For example, circles and ovals give off a friendly, welcoming vibe—they imply community, friendship and love.
While, square and rectangles give off a steady and sturdy vibe—they imply reliability, and reinforce confidence.
Diagonal lines on the other hand, give off a sense of dynamism—they imply motion, speed and movement.
That’s why a skilled logo designer should definitely know how to use shapes to evoke a specific emotion to the target market.
After all, Graphic design is all about visual communication, so therefore shape psychology (apart from color psychology) makes for a huge part of logo designing.
In this article, you’ll learn all about how the various different shapes what they can mean when used in logo design.
Circles are one of the most commonly used shapes in logo design.
They give off a friendly, welcoming vibe and are used to express unity and togetherness.
They also imply community, love, friendship, and continuity.
Circular logos often feel welcoming, soothing, and all-inclusive.
For example, brands like Target, Mastercard, and Audi use circle shapes to tap into these meanings.
The iconic Target bullseye radiates inclusivity with its concentric circles.
The overlapping Audi rings represent unity and togetherness.
Mastercard's overlapping red and yellow circles provide visual continuity.
Beauty and feminine brands also often rely on the softness and wholeness of circular shaped logos.
Overall, circular logos perfectly suit brands wanting to communicate inclusivity, wholeness, or continuity.
Squares ooze professionalism and reliability, but also reinforce confidence and strength.
Straight lines and right angles convey structure, order, and confidence.
Many reputable brands leverage the bold symmetry of squares and rectangles.
For example, the squares in the BBC News logo communicate authority.
Microsoft's windowpane grid projects reliability and structure.
Gap's blue square feels both steady and sturdy.
Squares also feel inherently masculine due to their blunt shapes and hard edges.
Finance, tech, and news brands often rely on boxy logo shapes to help establish trust in their industries.
In summary, square logos are ideal for brands wanting to project stability, dependability, or masculinity.
Triangles can often project a sense of hierarchy and give off an energetic, powerful and strong vibe.
They are usually chosen for it's ability to imply dynamism, energy, and power due to their sharp angles.
Many strong brands harness the potency of the triangle shape.
Delta Air Lines’ upward point implies stability in motion.
Mitsubishi’s diamonds evoke ingenuity and resilience.
Caterpillar’s yellow chevrons feel industrious and engineered.
The orientation of triangles also carries meaning.
Upward triangles represent grounded progression.
Downward triangles can feel more feminine and mystical.
And sideways triangles usually convey dynamism.
Overall, edgy triangle logos suit brands wanting to project strength, innovation, or masculinity.
Strategic use of triangles can reinforce your brand values through shape psychology.
Lines can communicate a variety of attributes depending on their orientation.
Horizontal lines stand for stability and harmony; vertical, for strength; and diagonal for dynamism.
Major brands like IBM, Cisco, and Adidas rely lines in their logos.
IBM’s horizontal strikethrough reflects harmony and tranquility.
Cisco’s angled line projects forward momentum and symbolizes growth.
Adidas’ diagonal lines feel bold and and dynamic.
To sum up: Diagonal lines stand for dynamic energy, horizontal lines for tranquility and vertical lines for strength.
Overall, lines can speak volumes about values, emotions, and associations when chosen with purpose.
Organic logo shapes derive from nature, utilizing symbolic forms like fruit, trees, or animals.
They convey familiarity, approachability, and connections to the natural world.
Brands like Apple, WWF, and Shell integrate organic shapes that directly represent their names and values.
Apple’s bitten apple taps into knowledge and temptation.
WWF’s cute panda evokes wildlife conservation.
Shell’s scallop shell shape nods to the ocean.
Organic shapes work especially well for foods, zoos, and animal brands.
But any business can leverage them to communicate personality and approachability.
Abstract logo shapes combine geometric and organic forms to create unique conceptual designs.
The imagery stands rather for big ideas instead of literal depictions (like with organic shapes).
Big brands like Nike, NBC, and Airbnb utilize abstract shapes in their logo designs.
Nike’s “Swoosh” shape implies dynamic movement.
NBC’s peacock feathers represent beauty and pride.
Airbnb’s "Belo" stands for universal connectivity and belonging.
Tech startups often embrace abstract shapes due to its modern and imaginative feel.
When designing an abstract logo, brainstorm meanings you want to express visually.
Then blend geometric shapes, lines, and organic forms until you find a fluid combination that communicates your brand essence.
A strategically designed logo, using the right shape, can lay the psychological groundwork for your entire brand identity.
Consider your brand values, emotions, and personality, then explore shapes that visually reinforce them through connotative meanings and aesthetic impressions.
Pair your potent logo shape with complementary colors, fonts, and graphic styles to unify your visual branding across various brand touchpoints.
With cohesion across all design elements, your logo will connect with consumers logically and instinctually, making memorable impressions that stick.
I'm a branding expert and graphic designer based in NY. I specialize in the development of brands: brand strategy, identity & web design. Need help with your project?—Get in touch