Importance of Shapes in Packaging Design


Shapes are all around us. They are the basic elements of all we see and the significance of shapes speaks to our proper understanding of our surroundings.

Because they are so ubiquitous, most artists and architects learn to draw by constructing pictures or breaking them down into simple shapes. However, shapes are not just useful construction tools; they help designers to communicate visually.

This is also known as shape psychology or shape language. Shapes, together with other design components, enable designers to transmit features and feelings in a nonverbal manner. Failure to comprehend the meanings of shapes, on the other hand, might result in undesired or conflicting signals.

We’ll show you how to leverage the meaning of shapes in design to ensure that they speak in a language that consumers will understand.

Common Shape Categories

Because every visible thing has a shape, the sheer quantity of possible shapes and meanings might appear to be infinite. This is why it is useful to classify shapes into general categories with similar meanings. We’ll go through some of the most basic shape categories here, and keep in mind how these types might overlap.

1.    Abstract and non-abstract shapes

Abstract forms, while frequently geometric and complicated, serve as symbolic references. These are most typically found in the form of iconography, such as the abstract humanoids found on restroom signs. This abstract symbol is made up of circles and rectangles rather than specific forms. Because we are familiar with the sign, we perceive the form to symbolize a human. In a nutshell, abstract shapes are influenced by past context or cultural knowledge.

2.    Compound and simple shapes

Compound forms are bigger, more complex shapes created by combining simple ones. Simple shapes, also known as primitives, are the fundamental geometric forms that include squares, circles, and triangles. This includes their 3D counterparts such as cylinders, spheres, cones, and cubes.

3.    Organic and inorganic shapes

Organic shapes are majorly found in nature such as a rolling slope or a tree branch. They are less symmetrical, have looser lines, and are curvier than inorganic shapes, which are inflexible geometric forms suggestive of manmade structures such as buildings or machinery.

Another issue that designers are concerned with is how forms are generated. How can one know where one shape stops and another begins if everything is a shape?

Shapes in basic drawings are generally defined by contour or color. Shapes are defined in real life by shadow and light, and artists frequently utilize this method to achieve three-dimensional realism. Even items that aren’t directly connected can come together to produce cohesive forms. The most apparent example is text: even if the letters are distinct, a full paragraph may form a coherent shape owing to proximity and contrast design principles (against a neutral background).

Various shapes have different meanings

Squares and rectangles are generally blocks. They are associated with rigidity, strength, stability, seriousness, reliability, and heaviness.

The round shape of circles implies that they are continually moving. They remind us of a ball or wheel. They can be perceived as innocence, lightness, infinity, happiness, softness, and movement.

Although there are other shapes that have points, something about triangles makes them feel extra sharp. They may feel like sharks’ teeth, rows, and spearheads, which makes them feel dangerous. Triangles can be used to represent divinity, danger, divinity, sharpness, balance, or guidance, depending on the context.

Although organic shapes look unplanned and disorganized compared to geometric shapes, they can communicate well being and lightness just like circles. The disorganized look gives them a feeling of fragility and freedom while being symmetrical gives the impression that they are unstable. Generally, organic shapes can be associated with nature, freedom, unpredictability, fragility, and flow.

Because abstract shapes are often reliant on symbolism and allusions based on external information, their meaning can vary greatly depending on the context. Certain cultures see the cross as a religious sign symbolizing crucifixion while others use it to represent the four seasons of the year.

How to Use Shape Meanings to Bring a Message Across

After realizing that shapes have their own meanings, you may be wondering how you can combine them into one image.

At this point, you should use visual hierarchy, where the shape that conveys your desired message takes precedence. The dominant shape makes its statement over other shapes you may have used. Ignoring shape meanings could mean losing business, since you may unwittingly send messages that are inappropriate for your design’s motive.

Packaging, as a crucial instrument for product display, needs ongoing attention from marketers, distributors, and researchers. The packaging of a product sends a variety of messages, ranging from what the product can accomplish for your consumers to the beliefs and values of your firm. It is an effective marketing technique when used in-store.

Despite its importance as a product distinction and promotion tool, the impact of container shape on consumer perception is the least considered aspect of packaging. It is a useful approach for identifying and classifying items. It suggests perceptual classification and makes conclusions about other product features.

Consider using unique shapes that bring out the message your brand intends to communicate to your consumer. If you are not experienced in custom package design, consult a professional designer and let a reputable packaging printer bring out the vibrance of your custom design.


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