Concrete objects are what we see. They are the visual elements of a composition, not the structure arranging them. Leborg examines three types of concrete objects:
- Geometric forms are mathematically based forms that are considered “regular,” in that they tend to have symmetrical elements or use straight line.
- Organic forms are more curvilinear and exist more commonly in nature. They are not as regular.
- Random forms follow no conventional shape and can be caused consciously or unconsciously.
These types of forms can then have many types of characteristics imposed onto them, including size, color, texture, among others.
Size is how big or small an element or form is perceived to be (not to be confused with scale, which is the size of a form in relation to other elements within the composition). Small objects tend to carry far less visual weight than large objects, but this visual weight can be affected especially by color.
Color is simply the visual perception of wavelengths of light, but using color effectively requires an understanding of color terminology. Hue is the pure color of a color; tone or value is how light or dark a hue is, which can be affected by adding black; saturation is relative to a color’s white content – the lower the saturation, the more white that the color contains.
Texture can employ elements of size and color to create a structure that can be seen or felt. Textures have many of the same characteristics as abstract structures, including formal, informal, radiation and gradation. Using these structures, and manipulating form and color, textures can have myriad looks: random, ornamental, or mechanical.
Though Leborg only defines these characteristics of form, it’s important to understand the meaning behind them, especially shape and color so that we can use them effectively in real world applications. One such application is branding and logo design, and an article on fullcircledesign.co* explores what shape and color says about a brand.
This article explores the psychological connotations of shape. Squares are stable; circles suggest the infinite; triangles are dynamic; and ovals are organic. As such, many financial institutions use squares in their logo to emphasize their strength and firmness, while consumer products may use an oval to invite the viewer in.
It also explores connotations of color – which can be more important because color can be incorporated into so many more elements of a brand’s visual identity. While black connotes mystery, white connotes purity. Yellow connotes caution, gray connotes stability and red connotes energy and emotion. Combining two different colors can create altered or juxtaposed meaning, especially if they are visually contrasting as well. Color can have an unconscious effect on viewers because these meanings are so deeply embedded into our minds; therefore, it is critical to understand color connotations so color can be used more intelligently.
Shape and color are just two building blocks that are important to understand to create well thought out design, but are among the most critical.
*Link here: http://fullcircledesign.co/business-logo-shapes-colors/