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The role of geometric shapes in web design

Purple square and yellow three-dimensional sphere on a purple background

Shapes and colours are strictly interconnected elements in web design, and their combination can have a significant impact on user experience. Web designers often prioritise colours as they are immediately perceptible and can quickly evoke eotions and reactions. However, neglecting the importance of shapes or using them without any consideration can compromise the overall design effectiveness.


Web design: psychological aspects of geometric shapes

The exclusive use of colour can be a subject of debate in terms of effectiveness. In many cases, shapes play a crucial role in the visual perception of objects. Furthermore, shapes have a significant impact on our minds, evoking emotional connections and feelings that are essential for human interaction. This is a remarkable and deep effect. 

Recent studies in the fields of design and psychology confirm that geometric shapes are not decorative elements but powerful visual communication tools. For example, circular shapes can be associated with feelings of security and community, while triangle shapes can suggest dynamism and direction. Furthermore, with the rise of new technologies like 3D design and isometric effects, the use of geometric shapes has become even more prevalent, allowing designers to create a visually immersive experience that captures the user's attention. 


A precise message for every shape

Circles, triangles, squares, and rectangles remain the most common geometric shapes that we encounter with every step in our daily lives: on streets, in residential or industrial buildings, and in parks, as far as you can see. It is simple, basic shapes that create complex figures. Since pre-history, they have been humanity's primordial symbols, and their perception is deeply rooted in our consciousness.

Many studies have demonstrated for a while that we associate each shape with specific ideas. According to psychologists, people attribute subliminally certain geometric shapes, and each shape triggers specific sensations in them. By creating emotions, it is possible to influence people's behaviour and encourage them to complete certain actions.

If we talk about a website, the correct use of geometric shapes can not only improve its website but also allow the design to function efficiently for several goals: engaging participants, inviting participants, creating trust, encouraging purchases, sustaining an initiative, sharing information, etc.


The square to build trust

In web design, squares and rectangles are the most common shapes, used on a large scale, especially to structure content. Text and images are usually contained in square or rectangular frames. These shapes are also largely used to design navigation elements.

A square is a symbol of strength, stability and immutability. Straight edges and angles confer stillness and balance. Usually, many people associate the square with honesty and security. To obtain similar sensations from visitors, square and rectangular shapes are suitable. If you want to highlight a compay's stability and represent reliability, the square or rectangle must absolutely be present in the design. It isn't certainly by chance that these shapes appear on websites or logos of many big established brands. 

It would make sense to use them for sectors such as business, finance or construction, e.g. in the web design of banks, investment funds, real estate agencies, credit companies, architecture firms.


Associations for rectangles


Rectangle-related emotions


Pagina portfolio Studio AMG+

Use of rectangular shapes for our architecture client Studio AMG+.


The circle for setting accents

Circles are the most widely used universal signs in all cultures. They symbolise the sun, the moon, and the other planets—the universe in its boundless aspect. This shape has neither beginning nor end, i.e., it has no specific direction. For this reason, the circle symbolises unity, perfection, and infinity.

In web design, circles are not used as often as rectangles. They are used more as menus, navigation links, and for the design of images and photos. Overall, the use of circles makes the site appear positive in the eyes of visitors. Still, their use in design must be moderate, because an abundance of round shapes can make a website look incomplete. When site elements are arranged harmoniously, the visitor's attention is drawn to the circle in the first place, so it is worth emphasising particularly important areas. It is useful to place notable items or invitations to action in the circles.

Circles are used in web design in many areas, such as food, entertainment, art, advertising, and marketing.


List of associations given to circles


Emotions linked to circles


Homepage sito di Etsy

Use of circles on the Etsy homepage to emphasise specific sections of the site.


The triangle to indicate direction

The triangle is the first purely theological symbol. It reflects the threefold nature of the universe. On a spiritual level, it is usually associated with the Christian Trinity. In esotericism, the triangle also has many meanings. This shape is usually associated with movement, progress and growth.

It can have a dynamic and active effect, inspiring people to act. In a website, the triangle is well suited to indicate direction. As navigation arrows, triangles can prioritise content, allowing the visitor's eye to sweep over the site in a targeted manner. Thus, it is advisable to place triangles near information about the company's successes, its activities or other relevant facts.

The dynamic character of the triangle is well suited to high-tech growth companies, car dealerships, political parties, sports clubs, initiative groups or coaching.


List of associations linked to triangles


Emotions linked to triangles


Uso triangolo homepage Dataen Consulting

Utilizzo del triangolo nel sito di Dataen Consulting


Natural forms for emotional connection

The Natural shapes are inspired by nature's elements, such as leaves, flowers, animals and landscapes. These forms, with their fluid and asymmetrical lines, contrast with rigid geometric shapes and offer a feeling of organicity and authenticity. Since prehistoric times, natural forms have been used to express deep connections with the natural world, reflecting the beauty and complexity of life.

According to the psychology of forms, natural figures evoke feelings of tranquillity, harmony and growth. The presence of these shapes can reduce stress and improve psychological well-being, making them perfect for creating a more personal and relaxing connection. Natural elements can also communicate sustainability and eco-friendliness, values that are increasingly important in today's society.

The sectors in which they are best used are wellness, health, ecology and tourism, all areas in which it is important to evoke a positive connection with users.


List of associations to natural forms


List of emotions from natural forms



Think Bioscience homepage

Think Bioscience homepage using special shapes, images and colours reminiscent of nature.


The effectiveness of a website can be significantly increased through a consistent use of geometric figures. This is because an attractive web design can contribute significantly to influencing visitor behaviour and thus attract more customers, increase sales and support other important activities.

Are you planning a new website or does your website need a redesign? We will be happy to inform you about the various technical and visual possibilities in a free initial consultation.

Contact us now.