NHS Designs

the quality of a distinct object or body in having an external surface or outline of specific form or figure.

related concepts

  • geometric and organic shapes
  • positive and negative shapes
  • abstract shapes
  • outlined shapes


Assignment 6: Line & Shape Game

Graphic Design Principles of Visual Design


Shape is an area that is contained within an implied line, or is seen and identified because of color or value changes.

Shapes have two dimensions, length and width, and can be geometric or free-form (organic).

Design in painting is basically the planned arrangement of shapes in a work of art.

Shape in Fine Art

Pablo Picasso - Three Musicians
Pablo Picasso - "Three Musicians", 1921

Picasso's painting is an abstract painting in which the three figures are simplified to an arrangement of flat shapes. Look for these shape varieties:

  • Large, medium and small shapes
  • Flat and patterned shapes
  • Dark and light valued shapes
  • Geometric and organic shapes
  • Positive and negative shapes
  • Outlined and unoutlined shapes

Source: Elements and Principles of Design: Student Guide with Activities, published by Crystal Productions

Shape in Graphic Design

Youth Violence Poster by Joel Templin
Youth Violence Poster
Joel Templin
Templin Brink Design

The union of unlikely combinations is probably the best way to create a concept. In this design, the hand combined with the dove creates an especially stark and powerful image. Had the images been more realistic, the poster would not have near the strength. What makes this poster great is the simplicity of the shapes.

Source: Design Basics for Creative Results by Bryan L. Peterson

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