March 2, 2024

Geometric Shapes and Lines in Design


Geometry and design are inseparably connected; one could say that geometry lies at the very heart of the design process and significantly influences the user experience.Today, geometric shapes and lines have become key design elements that are instantly recognized by audiences and processed at various levels. Almost every designer has heard that round shapes are associated with harmony, while angular ones appear bold. But is it all that simple? Let's delve into it.

A Bit of History

Since ancient times, people have paid attention to geometric shapes, seeking harmonious combinations and considering their ability to impact perception. Let's briefly go through the role of geometry in the evolution of both art and design, to more vividly see the connection between these two domains. We'll focus on the most significant developmental stages.

Ancient World (Arithmetic)

The development of mathematics (geometry and arithmetic) was pursued by the greatest philosophers (Euclid, Pythagoras), and then this knowledge was used in architecture, combining logical precision with principles of aesthetics and beauty.

Theatrical Building in Classical Greece. Scheme
Renaissance (Painting, Sculpture)

Mathematics and the development of perspective had a colossal impact on the art of that time. The most famous representative of that era was Leonardo da Vinci. Many of his notes and diaries have survived, showing that geometric shapes and proportions are at the core of his works.

Leonardo da Vinci "Proportions of the Human Body According to Vitruvius"
Modernism (Art)

Modernism expanded the set of motifs and plots worthy of depiction, rejected previous traditions, and focused not on content, but on methods of creation. The process of depiction became more important, and artists paid attention to building perspective, deliberately distorting it, and to forms and lines. For example, V. Kandinsky used geometry to show emotions and ideas.

V. Kandinsky "Squares with Concentric Circles"
Contemporary Era

Geometric shapes and lines are everywhere: in architecture, art, design, dominated by postmodernism and minimalism. Innovative technologies create new possibilities for experiments with both shapes and lines.

Geometric Shapes in Design

Any visual object can be analyzed as a shape. And each shape brings its own meaning to the design, which is instantly and unconsciously perceived by your users. Here we are talking about how one design seems harmonious and pleasant, while another causes tension and excites the nervous system. Now we will understand more.

Squares and Rectangles

The most stable, reliable, and frequently used shape. People associate these shapes with the most important practical things: home and walls, hence they add trust and confer authority. Squares and rectangles allow users to navigate the resource more quickly. Meaning: discipline, strength, masculinity, reliability, safety. Neuromarketing: create a sense of order, structure, and organization, authority.

Usage in Design

The most common shape in design, makes the design stricter and more organized, well-suited for structuring a large amount of content. Namely:

  1. Photos and pictures are most often rectangular or square,
  2. Card shapes in online stores adhere to these shapes,
  3. All blocks on websites (structure) are most often rectangular.For example, websites structure their layout clearly according to a grid, so it's easier for users to navigate through a multitude of blocks. Similarly, online stores format product cards according to a block principle.
Circles (Ovals, Ellipses)

These shapes have no beginning or end and are firmly associated with unity and completeness. The absence of corners helps to perceive information more easily. Meaning: softness, infinity, eternity, mystery, femininity. Neuromarketing: create a sense of comfort and elicit positive emotions.

Usage in Design

They occupy an honorable second place in popularity after squares and rectangles. Circles can make the design more friendly and open, hence they are used for:

  1. Buttons in social networks and messengers,
  2. User identification (photos in personal profiles),
  3. Background and other graphic elements.For example, popular social networks use round buttons, and many landing pages designers additionally round the corners of squares and rectangles, making the interface slightly softer. by OBYS
Triangles and Angular Shapes

Very dynamic and energetic shapes, usually associated with movement or direction. Our eyes move from vertex to vertex, automatically seeking the direction indicated by the figure.

Meaning: direction, movement, strength, risk, excitement, danger.

  • Rectangular — stability and equilibrium.
  • Acute-angled — movement and direction, risk and tension.
  • Isosceles — strength.
  • Inverted triangle — risk and vigilance.
  • Star or hexagon (regular hexagon) reflect wisdom and intellect.Neuromarketing: add dynamics and tension.
Usage in Design

Such shapes are "highlighting" and are the least common in design. They are used for:

  1. Indicating direction,
  2. Highlighting key elements,
  3. For badges,
  4. For background,
  5. For graphic elements.For example, such a shape is often used in diagrams, infographics, or icons to emphasize hierarchy or indicate an action. by OBYS

Properties of Shapes

Proportions and Size.

They determine the visual weight of elements, affecting the interface structure. A balanced choice of these properties directly affects the harmony of the design. Thus, large shapes highlight key content of primary importance, smaller ones — supplementary information.

Color and Contrast

Responsible for the perception of elements by their importance, highlight elements, and focus attention on them. Thus, CTA buttons are always made high-contrast relative to the overall design, so that the user easily notices them.

Symmetry or Asymmetry

Shapes in design are distributed to create a certain organization and balance. Thus, symmetrical shapes add orderliness and structure, while asymmetrical ones add dynamics and creativity.
Lines in Design

With lines, we, designers, can convey messages to our users, direct their gaze, and create a special atmosphere that matches the brand. Let's consider various lines and their main properties.

Types of Lines by Placement

Horizontal Lines

Used to delineate between interface blocks. For example, between the headline and the following content. by OBYS
Vertical Lines

Applied for grouping elements and aligning them. For example, columns or multi-level menus.
Diagonal Lines

Add dynamics and create a sense of movement, they can also be used to accentuate attention on individual elements.
Forms of Lines

Sometimes lines can be used only for decorative purposes. These can be any lines by drawing and weight, which do not carry a "meaningful load" but are applied to create an interesting and original visual.

Wavy Lines

Add smoothness and gentleness to the design, they are natural and add a sense of life to the design.

Look creative, reflect growth and intellect and are a sign of creativity. by Google
Crossed Lines (Cross)

Typically used to denote error, objection, and rejection. by Pash
Dotted Lines

Can indicate incompleteness, be a visual pointer. By the principle of gestalt, straight dotted lines are perceived the same as solid ones. If we place several dots in a row, users consider them as a cohesive line, hence, dots can be used for delineating blocks and grouping elements.
Properties of Lines
  1. Thickness. Used for accents and affects visual weight. Thus, thin lines create delicate details, while thick ones highlight important elements.
  2. Style. Determines the appearance of line contours: solid, dotted, dash-dotted, etc. Such lines can add interesting effects.
  3. Color. Can be functional for indicating status, as well as decorative to support the design solution.
  4. Direction and Angle. Create a sense of movement and direct the visual flow. Thus, designers control users' gaze and emphasize important elements.


The foundation of web design lies in grids and columns, as well as other geometric shapes and lines. Designers can use them in various forms and for different blocks. They are applied for background design, navigation elements, accentuation and highlighting, structuring, and delineating content.

Moreover, geometric shapes and lines affect perception and create certain associations, impacting users' emotional reactions. Knowing these basics will help you create unique and in-demand interfaces, creating a sense of balance and harmony


My task and goal is to create an award-winning website with a high level of usability and differentiate itself from the other competitors.