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Introduction to Shapes as an Element of Design

Lesson 2 - Identify Geometric Shapes


Shapes, an element of design

Shapes, an element of design

What shape is your design?

What shape is your design?

Jacci Howard Bear

Elements of Design Classes > Introduction to the Elements of Design > Lines > Introduction to Shapes

Circle, square, and triangle are the three basic shapes used in graphic design. Perhaps the most familiar shape to desktop publishing is the square (and rectangle). Paper is rectangular. Most text blocks are square or rectangular. While you may encounter printed projects cut into other shapes, most circles, triangles, and freeform shapes in desktop published materials are found on the page within the graphics or in the way the elements are placed on the page.

Go through your sample folder of ads, newsletters, business cards, books, and other projects looking for a variety of shapes. No doubt you can find many examples of squares and rectangles but keep an eye out for other shapes. Are the examples you find actual graphic elements or can you find examples of lines or text arranged in geometric shapes?

Find examples of each of these six shapes:

  1. square (not-rectangle) graphic element
  2. square (not-rectangle) text blocks
  3. circle graphic element
  4. triangle graphic element
  5. circle, triangle, or freeform text blocks
  6. paper in other than a rectangle (diecut brochures or business cards or perhaps a non-rectangular ad amid a sea of rectangular ads in a newspaper)

Separate these six (or more) examples in your Class Samples collection before going on to the next lesson.

Remember, this first set of lessons is an introduction to each of the elements of design. You'll be taking an in-depth look at shapes* and other elements in subsequent classes in this course.

Next > Lesson 2 - Introduction to Mass

Elements of Design Classes > Introduction to the Elements of Design > Lines > Introduction to Shapes

*If you found this page via search and are not following this lesson-by-lesson course on the Elements of Design, jump to the in-depth lessons on shapes for more detailed information.

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