Principles of design and animation, part 1: Shape

Principles of design and animation, part 1: Shape

Posted on: 20 January 2017

Shapes

 

Animation and design are excellent and increasingly popular ways of communicating information surrounding complex topics. By processing complicated statistics, figures, and terminology into abstract imagery and movement, communication becomes more effective and engaging.

In a series of posts, I’ll outline five key principles of design and animation which can be used for communicating complexity. We’ll start with shape.

When it comes to imagery, shapes are a good place to start. You might not be aware of it when you’re watching a video or looking at a poster, but simple shapes like squares, circles and triangles all carry their own meanings.

A square and a circle with their connotations

Squares are uniform; mathematically speaking, they are equally proportioned shapes. This uniformity can be perceived as traditional, strict, or even dull. However, they can also represent strength. Circles on the other hand consist of a singular, more interesting curved line. With no corners, a circle is also clearly not a threat. They suggest uniqueness and friendliness.

Triangular shapes in different directions have different meanings

With their common usage in arrows, triangles often suggest direction. A triangle can guide the eye to where it’s pointing. Looking particularly at character design in animation, a triangle’s angle can also have a significant effect on how intimidating it appears. Triangles pointing downwards suggest menacing, overbearingcharacters (such as Gru from Despicable Me) and triangles pointing upwards suggest fumbling, or overweight characters (such as Patrick from Spongebob Squarepants).

Combining different shapes creates shared meaning

Combining different shapes can create a shared meaning. Circles in a square pattern have all the characteristics of circles individually, but as a group, they have those of a square. Arranging shapes in a circular pattern make them all equally close to the center point, which could be a shared goal or some other item of importance.

Recognisable objects can be formed by combining simple shapes

Similarly, recognisable objects can be formed by combining simple shapes.

The next principle we’ll look at is the importance of size.

 


Author:

 gravatar avitar
Principles of design and animation, part 1: Shape

Blog

...

Who were the real Peaky Blinders?

The BBC's Peaky Blinders has the world gripped. In the first part of our six-part series 'Discovering the Real Peaky Blinders', we join historian Carl Chinn in a journey to find out: who were the REAL Peaky Blinders?

...

USE-IT!: The project solving social and economic problems in Birmingham

USE-IT! is a project working on solutions to social and economic problems in Smethwick and West Birmingham. We spoke to Jennie Sandford about the project.

...

How can brands be more like comedians?

Developing a brand, like developing a comedy routine, requires time, effort, and a strong attention to detail. So, what can brands and marketers learn from the world of comedy?

...

"Most small businesses waste time and money and get nowhere fast" SEO with Marcus Miller: Part 2

This interview with SEO expert Marcus Miller provides useful tips and advice for small businesses who want to do Search Engine Optimisation well