A shape is a flat, contained region of an artwork made using lines, textures, and colors, or an area enclosed by other shapes such as triangles, circles, and squares in the visual arts. A form can also refer to a three-dimensional composition or an entity included within a three-dimensional composition. Forms are common in painting, drawing, and sculpture.
Shapes can be simple or complex. Simple shapes include circles, ellipses (a circle with two non-parallel major axes), and rectangles. More complex shapes include stars, hearts, and lobsters. The human body is composed of many simple and more complex shapes combined together.
In art history, the term often refers to one of the main categories of subject matter found in drawings and paintings. These include head and torso studies, which look at the anatomy of the body from a scientific point of view; religious subjects, which show scenes taken from the Bible; and historical subjects, which tell stories through pictures.
Each category has many different types of shapes that you will see illustrated throughout history. For example, there are linear drawings that show objects by line alone, such as arrows, swords, and rulers; curvilinear drawings that use both curved lines and angles to show objects such as baskets, boats, and shells; and geometric designs made up of repeated patterns of lines and shapes.
Shape. A two-dimensional, flat, or height-and-width-only element of art. A form is usually enclosed. The word "form" comes from the Latin for "shape." A sculpture is a three-dimensional work of art. Sculpture dates back at least as early as 3000 B.C. when pieces were carved from stone.
Form follows function. This is one of the basic ideas behind design. Forms should be useful; they should fulfill some purpose. The designer's job is to come up with designs that are appealing and functional. That can't always be done, but it does make for interesting challenges.
Artists use many tools to create forms. They can draw them by hand or use a computer-aided design (CAD) program. Artists also use their imagination to come up with new shapes. In fact, some artists claim that the only limit to what can be drawn is your imagination. Others say that reality limits what can be drawn, but that doesn't stop them from trying.
The best way to learn about form is by doing. You can look at pictures in design books and online or you can search for forms in nature and copy them.
Shape and form are two of the most generally misunderstood compositional components in photography. A form is nothing more than the two-dimensional contour of an item or subject. Shape and form are comparable, but form has a three-dimensional quality caused by light and shade. For example, the shape of a rock might be symmetrical, but that same rock may have a different color on one side due to shadowing. The image below illustrates this concept.
In photography, it is important to understand that shapes and forms attract our attention because they are interesting or unusual. It is these features that draw us into an image and make us want to learn more about what lies behind them. Good composition is essential for successful photographs, but understanding how shapes and forms work within the framework of photography will help you create images that not only look good, but also tell a story too.
There are many examples of shapes and forms in photography. Some common ones include:
The triangle is one of the most powerful shapes in art and architecture. Its balanced proportions make it suitable for depicting subjects from godly figures to worldly objects like buildings or motorcycles. Triangles also have spiritual significance as they are often associated with power, creativity, intelligence, and spirituality.
The circle is another popular shape used in photography.
Form is a three-dimensional aspect of art that encloses space. A form, like a shape, has length and breadth, but it also contains depth. Geometric or free-form forms are used. An example would be a sculpture.
Three dimensions are height, width, and depth. A three-dimensional object has all three dimensions. Two-dimensional objects such as paintings and photographs lack depth. Three-dimensional objects can be seen from different angles, with each view revealing new details. Two-dimensional images cannot change their appearance once they have been painted on a wall or photographed on film.
In art, a form is said to be "three-dimensional" if it has height, width, and depth. A flat surface, such as a painting's canvas or photograph's paper, is two-dimensional. A cube, for example, is three-dimensional because it has height, width, and depth. Although a sculpture might have depth, if there are no sides over which you could walk, it is considered two-dimensional.
The term "three-dimensional" may also be applied to graphic designs or illustrations that appear to have height, width, and depth.
Two-dimensional artwork requires careful consideration of balance, perspective, and composition. These elements work together to create the illusion of depth.
Shapes are another fundamental component of graphic design. They refer to the geometric, organic, or abstract shapes and forms that comprise all of the other design components. Geometric forms such as squares, triangles, and circles have specific connotations in graphic design. Organic forms such as plants, trees, and flowers convey positive associations with design. Abstract forms such as stripes, checks, and mosaic tiles suggest different ideas about design.
Geometric shapes are used extensively in advertising because they are easy to understand and simple to create. They also make strong statements about what company it is that you are trying to sell to. For example, a large square billboard on the side of the road will get much more attention from drivers than a smaller picture in a magazine ad.
Organic shapes are commonly used in packaging because they are thought to be attractive and give the product personality. For example, a flower can help people connect with your brand on a personal level. Abstract shapes are useful when you want to make a statement about something other than just selling a product. An abstract shape can be part of a logo to show that it is designed by a professional company. Or, it can be used in a campaign poster to highlight an issue that needs attention.
People often think of logos as being only lines or shapes, but they can also include letters. These included letters can be adapted from existing words or created from scratch.