What if I tell you that the shape of your logo may affect how it is perceived? Well, it does! While circles are for unity and commitment, a square represents safety and trust. How does this become relevant? For any visual storytelling to be successful, the audience must perceive you are trying to say. So, today I will discuss how some basic forms and shapes may culminate a multitude of psychological reactions and how you can use these same shapes to your advantage.
Instead of explaining with words, choosing the right shapes can communicate your brand message more effectively and efficiently. So, tap into your audience’s subconscious through the form of your logo and bring the best out of your branding projects.
Circles, ovals, rings, and ellipses can all transmit positive, comforting energies. Circles, propose alliance, strength, and resilience. This is perhaps demonstrated with the Olympic rings. The inter-locked, never-ending circles symbolize that people from all walks come together in unity and celebrate through the sporting events. You can always use round or coiled movement in your logo design to create a smoother design through typography. This style is evident in the Coca-Cola logo. The NASA logo is another example of the excellent use of a circle.
Squares and Rectangles
Depicting balance, order, uniformity, and proportion, a square, or even a rectangle logo can be sufficient to inspire your spectators’ trust. The use of vertical and horizontal lines together creates a textbook equilibrium for signifying reliability. While using this shape, make sure that you make fair use of color psychology to avoid making your logo dull. The finest example of the best use of shape and color psychology with squares is the Windows logo. You can also include a rectangle or a square with rounded edges in your logo. The YouTube logo is one example of the same.
Triangles are a much less common form in logos – but that doesn’t make them any less impressive in the right settings. Triangles are the best representation of hierarchy and power dynamics. Triangles have the “get-up-and-go” factor because they’re assertive in a firm direction. Triangles can often be found in logos for law or science, religion, or companies that resonate with masculinity. The triangle in the Delta airlines logo indicates speed and movement. In the FedEx logo, the tringle’s clever use indirectly in the negative space represents fast delivery. Some more examples include CAT Constructions and Academy Awards.
Unlike other shapes that have distinct forms and features, organically shaped logos are meant to reproduce the naturally occurring in the real-world. These logos will be more flexible in what they represent. Their meaning will be derived according to the element of nature they represent. The leaf in the logo of Tropicana symbolizes its deep-seated association with nature. One classic example is that of Puma.
Horizontals or sleeping lines are often a safe choice for logos. For most people, horizontal lines signify constancy and tranquility. Companies that wish to attract the feminine side often use them as part of their designs, integrating a softer appeal compared to bold and angular designs. Horizontal lines endorse trust and are often used to combat the danger and aggression symbolized through vertical and diagonal lines. The best example of the use of horizontal lines in a logo is that of IBM.
Standing or vertical lines cause an intuitive association with might and refinement while making logos to appear slenderer. Vertical lines are powerful and attractive. They are often used in corporate logos to promote a sense of professional dependability and efficacy. However, vertical lines are often hard to carry out as they can come across as cold, hostile, overbearing, and aggressive. A perfect example is the SoundCloud logo, which uses its standing lines to embody “sound” while giving complexity to the complete logo design. The Casio logo is yet another example.
Now that you’ve learnt all about the psychology of shapes in logo design, choose the shape that perfectly represents your brand, the industry, and the message that you are trying to send. There are no hard and fast rules that you need to follow; you can also combine two or more shapes if you see fit. If nothing else, choose the shape that at least feels right. Don’t forget that you can always apply color psychology to complement those shapes while selecting the right typography style. When you are done, remember to show off your logo in style.