In an earlier post we discussed the psychological meaning behind the colors you choose for your logo design. Equally important is the psychology behind the shapes you incorporate, knowingly or unknowingly, into designing a business logo.
We say knowingly or unknowingly because even if you’re just using letters or think you have a simple background, you create the illusion of a shape with your choice of fonts or backgrounds.
Personality tests have even been developed to give people insight into themselves merely by choosing the shape they feel best represents them. That’s how powerful the shape of your logo becomes.
The accompanying infographic gives you an overview of how the shape of your logo can affect your customers’ thinking, so let’s take a look at the basics:
Three Types of Shapes
The vast array of shapes can be broken down into three basic types:
• Geometric: These are the common shapes you think of as shapes: squares, circles, triangles, etc.
• Organic: These are the shapes that appear in nature: flowers, stars, leaves, paint splatters, etc.
• Abstract: These are representations of real-life objects we’ve been trained to recognize quickly, i.e. stick figures as people or a red octagon that tells us to stop.
All of these shapes create emotional responses that you can use to benefit your business’ perception with just a quick glance at your logo.
The Emotions of Geometry
Even simple geometric patterns carry emotional responses:
• Square: Reliable, steady, peaceful, uniform. While all of these can be positive emotions, if you’re a young, vibrant company, it might also make you seem a little staid and boring.
• Circle: Harmony, wholeness, community, unity. Circles in general give us a warm, welcoming feeling, but they also can carry a feeling of constant motion that lacks the stability some organizations would prefer to represent.
• Triangle: Power, masculinity, authority, motion. Triangles tend to point you somewhere, be it up, down or sideways, creating a different emotion but also that sense of authority that your company knows the way.
• Rectangle: Trust, familiarity, stability. While the rectangle carries many of the features of a square, it does so with slightly less rigidity, for good or bad, depending upon how strongly you wish to express the emotions.
According to an analysis of the “World’s Most Admired Companies of 2015,” fully 50 percent used a rectangular shape in their company logo, compared to 22 percent square and 20 percent circles.
Other shapes that draw their inspiration from nature also carry emotional effects:
• Curves: Motion, femininity, pleasure, rhythm. Coca-Cola has been selling pleasure with the curves, both in shape and font, for more than 125 years(actually the familiar white wave was added in 1969).
• Spirals: Growth, evolution, creativity. As one of nature’s great creations, the spiral has inspired artists throughout history to create that sense of advancement.
Line Them Up
Even simple lines in your logo influence viewers:
• Vertical Lines: Power, strength, masculinity, aggression. Use them cautiously.
• Horizontal Lines: Calm, tranquil, community.
Frequently lines are mixed with other shapes to either soften or enhance the emotional effect of the original shape.
A variety of factors will go into the decisions about how you design your company logo, so you don’t want to get too overwhelmed or too focused on just one aspect of the design. You know your product, your service, your mission. You must choose colors, shapes, fonts that will convey that mission to your potential customers as your logo oftentimes is the first and most lasting impression they will have of your company.
Printleaf offers a professional design team that can help you work through all of these design concepts to create a logo and marketing materials that will establish your brand in your customers’ psyches.
Last modified: January 31, 2020