At our design agency we know design isn’t just about pretty colours and shapes, they’re about how they make us feel, man ✌. 

Experts in design have been using techniques with colours, shapes, and typography within branding for centuries to make us feel certain ways about the stuff we buy and see. 

From the togas, we bought in 40 B.C., to the togas you bought in 2022 for your mate’s stag do, colours shapes and design impact our purchasing decisions.

First, let’s talk shapes!

Don’t be square, be circle and triangle too

Think a shape is just a shape? Wrong! A shape is a design technique to make you feel certain ways. There are 3 basic shapes in design: circles, triangles, and squares.

Circles and other rounded shapes tend to send a positive emotional message of harmony and protection. Circles are like friends you can trust, brands like BMW and Burger King have used circles in their logo designs.  The circle is a trusted shape, they represent the life cycle and free sense of movements like balls, wheels, and merry-go-rounds. They give a sense of integrity and perfection. They aren’t used as much in design for spacial reasons, but when they are used they’re extremely successful in portraying the caregiver or the everyman in design. 

On the other hand, triangles make an interesting shape as they aren’t necessarily a friendly shape. Triangles have an undeniable power to them, they can point in any direction, and they have a feeling of action which is why they’re used in the logo of sportswear brand Adidas. They have a more powerful presence than a round shape, we see the triangle in anything from the pyramids in ancient Egypt to arrows. They represent the ruler or hero brand personalities, like Adobe and Google Drive. 

In terms of stability, what better shape is there than the humble square. Squares and rectangles are familiar shapes, that represent honesty, solidarity and stability. They have a mathematical, balanced feel, paired with rationality practicality and conformity. Some may say squares are boring shapes, as they’re not necessarily flashy, however, clever designers can use this shape in clever ways. All websites are made up on a grid pattern using rectangles and squares, the eye reads these shapes easily. The square is a great shape for reading text or bringing attention to something within a square, this can be seen in the logo design for Lego and Instagram.     

It’s not just a colour, it’s a way of life

The colours we look at regularly actually affect our day-to-day life, who’d have known? CuCo Creative knows!

Colours can make a design feel cheap, expensive, homemade, natural or exciting. They can be used to make us feel a range of emotions from hungry to romantic (pink) to sadness (blue)!

The way colours make us feel is not universal and varies depending on our age, gender, culture, etc.  

The colour red is a good example of this. In western culture, we associate red with love and passion but also for warnings and negativity. Ex-Soviet Union members’ red reminds citizens of communism and revolution.  Whilst in some Asian countries, brides usually wear red on their wedding day because the colour is symbolic of happiness and prosperity. 

Similarly, green can be associated with finance, ambition, envy and greed. Yet, is also commonly associated with nature and harmony. 

Colours go much further than brand design. Colours like Baker-Miller Pink, otherwise known as “Drunk Tank Pink”, have been used in prison to calm violent prisoners. This colour has been proven to have a tranquillising effect, even on colour-blind prisoners.

When it comes to design, it is important to pick the right colours for your brand. According to a study, 62%-90% of product assessment is based on colours alone, so it’s important to get your brand palette right.  

Brands like Cadbury used regal purple in their branding design as a tribute to Queen Victoria. In 2008 Cadbury secured its trademark on regal purple after a dispute with Nestle, proving that a good colour in your branding can be worth fighting for. 

Your colour in brand design can set you apart from competitors too. Steve Jobs was passionate about design and chose white for Apple’s brand design for two reasons. This was to signify purity, so it was in line with his vision of beautifully designed products, and the second reason was to stand out from the primarily grey competition. This tactic worked, and Apple products are now one of the fastest-selling products. 

Circling back

So now you know a bit more about the world of shapes and colours. How do you implement this knowledge into your branding design? Luckily for you, we’re something of experts at our design agency CuCo Creative. We’ve worked with brands like WeAreFamily, Wild England, and Oskuhus to create the right branding designs for them.

Are you stuck for ideas for a future campaign? Drop us a line and we’ll see what we can do.