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Circle Shapes
Shape Lesson 2

Circles suggest infinity. They are also protective (think of protective encircling arms). They can also denote free movement such as a rolling ball or a more controlled movement such as a spinning globe.

The sense of movement is often enhanced through shading or the use of lines (as suggested in Class 2 on Lines).

Outside of logo designs, circles are less common elements of design which makes them good for grabbing attention, providing emphasis, and breaking up familiar rectangular blocks of text. You could set text in circles or simply use a circle as the background for more traditional blocks of text.

Some ways you can use circles:

  • To symbolize infinity and protectiveness. Circles could also suggest something well-rounded or complete. Similar to protectiveness, circles could also imply security.
  • Related to the first bullet item, use circles to suggest familiar themes (bullet holes, a stack of cannonballs, a bunch of grapes -- or just about any round fruit or vegetable, a target, the earth).
  • To highlight, organize, or set apart information using a solid or outlined circle. Try a freeform circle that looks like it was drawn with a marker or pen to highlight important text.
  • Replace the letter O or other 'round' letters in text with a circular shape that suggests that letter. Try an orange in the word Orange or a basketball, baseball, or soccer ball to replace an O or other letter in the nameplate of a sports newsletter.

Hands-On Exercise
Look at ads, magazines, brochures, logos, and other printed projects and try to find as many different examples of circles as you can. Look for especially creative use of circles. Study logo designs. Look for examples of circles that convey the attributes of infinity or protectiveness or circles that are suggestive of other circular objects such as the earth or a piece of fruit. Find examples of text set in a circular shape and for pieces that have been cut into circular or near circular shapes or that include circular diecuts (cut out shapes).

Next > Lesson 3 - Triangles

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