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Shape - Basic Elements of Design

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What are Shapes in Design:

Shapes are a basic element of design. They are made up of closed contours and three dimensional objects placed in the design. Shapes are used to convey meaning and organize information. Shapes can be 2-dimensional or 3-dimensional.

There are three basic types of shapes:

  • geometric shapes
  • natural shapes
  • abstract shapes

Use of Shapes in Design:

Shapes in Web design can be used in many ways:

  • add interest to a design
  • sustain interest
  • organize or separate elements
  • direct the eye through the design

Geometric Shapes:

Geometric shapes are what most people think of when they think of shapes. Most geometric shapes on Web pages are created through layout and CSS. Some common geometric shapes you see on Web pages are:

  • squares and rectangles
  • circles
  • triangles
  • diamonds

Natural Shapes:

Natural shapes are shapes that are found in nature, but they are also shapes of man-made items. Most natural shapes in Web pages are created with images. Some examples of natural shapes are:

  • leaves
  • puddles

Abstract Shapes:

Abstract shapes are those that have a recognizable form but are not "real" in the same way that natural shapes are. For example, a stick-figure drawing of a dog is an abstract dog shape, but another dog in a photo is a natural shape. Abstract shapes in Web designs are usually added through images. Some examples of abstract shapes are:

  • alphabet glyphs
  • icons
  • symbols

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