Among other elements, logo shapes set the tone for your business.
Gone are the days when shapes were added to logos purely for an aesthetic appeal. Research on visual communications shows that specific shapes hold associations in the human brain, with the ability to amplify an intended message to a target audience.
This means that adding a triangle into your logo design won’t just change how it looks — it’ll change how it’s understood and perceived by your audience.
But like many things in life, logo shapes are not black and white. When paired with colors, fonts, and imagery, they can take on other connotations and meanings.
Our guide below explores familiar shapes and the impact of logos on consumers.
An absence of edges or points makes circle logo design a popular choice. Circles are round and soft, which gives off a certain feel that is drastically different than most other shapes. They’re often associated with femininity, and they can also portray security, continuity, and protection.
Oval logos are also included in this category, along with multiple circles in combination with one another. Multiple circles are often representative of community, love, and support, as well as infinity and continuity. An iconic example of this would be the Olympic logo, with its overlapping rings.
The Glo logo below, created with our logo generator, uses negative space in the pink circle to spell out the company name and evoking a mysterious, feminine feeling.
A good example of a circular logo is Nivea. The company released a new logo in 2013: a white wordmark in a dark blue circle reminiscent of the brand’s classic tins of body lotion. The logo is instantly recognizable on packaging and ads.
Rectangle and square logos
Squares and rectangles translate to feelings of stability and balance in the human mind. As such, secondary psychological associations of reliability and stability often occur.
Extensive use in corporate logos has allowed for a more recent neurological response, with rectangle and square logos meaning strength, efficiency, and professionalism.
These shapes are inherently “edgy” (double meaning intended). They make an impact and are often considered stronger and bolder than round logos. That said, they’re often overlooked by the human eye more than other shapes because they’re more common.
Ritter Sport is a classic example of a square logo. To echo the shape of the company’s chocolate bars, they use a square container in the logo, putting it into a nice, neat package.
Triangles are a dynamic and less common logo shape. Triangles are associated with stability and ingenuity, as well as mysticism, and the arts.
The harsh lines and dramatic geometry of triangles can make for some very playful logos. The power of the triangle shape is that it can be positioned differently depending on the effect you’re trying to have. Place a triangle with the tip pointing upward for a more grounded, stabilizing logo. Rotate the point downward for a more active logo that communicates movement and motion.
You can also use triangles in logos to substitute for the letters ‘A’ and ‘V.’
Taking a look at the Adidas logo below, the slanted lines form an abstract triangle, that evokes motion and speed, which ties nicely into the brand and its product offerings.
Vertical and horizontal logo shapes
Here’s some logo psychology 101: the orientation of shapes can change how we perceive a logo. Vertical lines and shapes are associated with strength, courage, and dominance, and progress. They’re often formed to display a shape or guide the eye in a particular direction.
See the SoundCloud logo and Cisco logo below above for a perfect example of that!
Lots of vertical lines may also fool the eye into thinking a shape is more narrow than it is, while horizontal orientations make images appear wider.
Organic and spiral logo shapes
Last, but definitely not least, is organic logo shapes. These designs surprise and capture attention with their unique shapes!
Often more whimsical and fluid, they can have a circular or rounded shape to them, while also feeling hand-drawn or free-form. The Somersby logo contains many soft spiral shapes that make up the foliage of a tree. The result is a very inviting logo.
Due to their “organic” feel, companies in the health, wellness, and food industry will often adopt these curvy shapes into their logo and overall branding.
Do logo shapes really matter?
To put it simply, the meaning of shapes in logo design is important. They create associations in our brains that make us feel a particular way about what we’re looking at.
This carries through to logo designs. Each design (whether literally or through visual connections) contains shapes. When creating your design, take the overall logo shape into consideration, as well as logo colors and fonts.
As with all aspects of logo design, it’s essential to determine who your target market is and what message you want to convey to them.
Once you’ve decided on your key demographic, you’re well on your way to making informed logo design decisions that will help take your branding to the next level!