Design

Let’s Talk About Circles in Design

15/02/2021 | 0 min read

Glorify Team

Circles make the world go round. Especially when it comes to graphic designing. They are among the most versatile geometric elements in graphic design. Round shapes can be used to create stunning artworks. 

If you’d like to learn some of the most essential tips and tricks that you can use to integrate round shapes in your visuals, then just keep on reading! We’ll be looking at some cool circle designs by famous designers and then some of the most important brands that use circles to promote a message and give coherence to their ads.

But before that, let’s go through the history, meaning, and symbolism of circles to understand better.

The Psychology and Meaning of Circle in Design

When including them in their work, designers often appeal to the psychology of circles. So, let’s learn more about what circles mean in design and what they suggest as symbols.

From a psychological point of view, circles represent unity, integration, wholeness. They give a sense of completion, confidence, and harmony. Circles have no beginning or end, and they also don’t have angles. This makes the circle a powerful yet safe, soft, and mild element.

As for symbolism, since the dawn of time, circles were associated with cosmic objects such as the sun, the moon, or the Earth. They represent magic, imagination, and mystery. An example from the history of art is the great Aztec Sun Stone.

Circles

In designing, circles have different uses for different purposes. For instance, in logo design, they are the most common and widely used shape or background outline for a logo. Meanwhile, for websites, they are mostly used as buttons and small icons. 

Why do we see so many circles used as accessory shapes in websites, graphics, and even infographics? Because circles are very noticeable and quite powerful.

circle in design

Let’s take into consideration the power of a circle and how it can affect your designs. Circles can represent constant movement (spinning or rolling), its outline can serve as a band or ring representing a cycle or continuing action. It can represent a hole punched onto a page. With a subtle shadow effect, it can look like a sticker or button that has been ‘placed’ over the rest of the design.

Tips on How to Create Circular Designs

We now have a list with some of the most important tips that you can use to make your circle graphic design look fabulous and stand out. We’ve analyzed some popular posters and graphics to show how a simple element like the circle can give your work meaning.

Always remember, less is more! Let’s go!

1. Using circles to highlight the subject

To showcase the most crucial part of your design, you can simply draw a circle around it. This technique of using a circle to highlight a face or a character has been around since forever. It can be found in religious iconography too.

This gives your image a sense of mystery and compositional unity.  Magdiel Lopez, a graphic designer, often uses circles in designs along with bold colors and futuristic shapes that give a sense of mystery, magic, and poetry to posters.

Using circles to highlight the subject

2. The minimalist approach

A basic graphic circle can have many different meanings, and it’s up to you as a designer to use it in the most significant way. If your subject is well-known, a minimalist approach can go a long way and you can let the ad copy help the audience decode the meaning. 

The Lord Of The Rings movie is an excellent example of how a simple circle design can be a great reminder of a story.

The minimalist approach

3. Using circles as symbols

Circles have a cosmic significance and you can use this symbolism to talk about your product. For instance, Nivea did a great ad for their night cream. The packaging was used to illustrate the half-moon with this the company managed to emphasize when the product should be applied.

Using circles as symbols

4. Using semi-circle designs

Circles don’t have to be complete to look cool. Using semi-circles or removing parts of your circle design can help in your visual standing out even more. 

In design, a semi-circle can be more dynamic and vivid than the whole circle. With this, the significance also changes because a half-circle leaves the viewers curious, engaged, and wanting more.

Using semi-circle designs

5. Adding color to the circles

When it feels like your design is getting out of hand or it’s getting too crowded, just go for a pop of color. While keeping everything else black and white, choose a bright color for the circle. 

You can never go wrong with this combo. This eye-catching contrast gives you a clean aesthetic that keeps the focus on what’s important. For example, the Zeka Design poster.

Adding color to the circles in designs

6. Don’t limit to just one circle

When you use multiple circles of the same size it can create a beautiful pattern, a sense of order, or it can add mystery. You can always play with transparency and color to give depth to your image.

Don’t limit to just one circle

7. Always emphasize the message 

If you are trying to make your message pop, you can always add the text within a circle. Also, if you pair that with a hand-lettering font that has round edges, it creates consistency to the visual. The lettering and shape complete the message while giving a sense of unity to the entire design.

Always emphasize the message in a circular design

Here six amazing examples of circles in advertising

In advertising, circles can be used to showcase a product, highlight a feature, or symbolize a concept. Let’s take a look at some examples of ads using circular shapes and learn how to use them in high-converting ads:

1. Highlighting your offer

They work great when you don’t want to add too much text, and yet you want to draw your audience’s attention to it. The best way to do it is by adding a circle to where you insert your call to action. For example, the ad from Naturebox.

Highlighting your offer in a circle

2. Focus on illustrations

Circles can bring together your illustrations as it gives a sense of unity. 

For example, Google uses circles in its design to complete the illustrations for its carousel ad. Considering how Google’s logo and entire visual strategy rely on circles, it makes sense for them to integrate this concept into their ads, too.

Focus on illustrations in circular designs

3. Emphasizing a person

HubSpot used various circles to highlight the main character of their ad. This circle suggests community, communication, and confidence. If your ad has a portrait, you might want to consider adding a circle around the person’s head as it attracts attention and maximizes its impact.

Emphasizing a person in circular design

4. Using circles as frames

Have you ever wondered why most testimonials or team pages use circles to frame the people? It’s because circles give confidence and make people trust those faces more. You can use this great idea in your ads, testimonial pages, team pages, or about us page, right away!

Using circles as frames in designing

5. Using circles as cosmic symbols 

Is your ad talking about creativity? Then the possibilities are endless. Use circles to make your audience dream and make them feel like they can do anything with the power of imagination. For instance, a great ad from Adobe Photoshop illustrates the power of circles as cosmic symbols.

Using circles as cosmic symbols

6. Turning circles into progress bars

When you want to emphasize evolution, growth, or advancement of any kind, you can use circular and semicircular graphics as they are great progress bars. An additional inner part of the circle shows the progress in a simple yet effective way. To draw attention to your ad, you can simply use a geometric circle design as an indicator of progress (numbers or percentages).

Turning circles into progress bars

Six circle design templates ready to customize

Do you want to include circles in your designs, however, don’t feel like you have the skills to create a design from scratch?

Don’t worry! Because the best thing you can do is to learn by using and modifying existing templates. Here are some that you can use: 

  • Medical template 

This circular frame talks about care, confidence, and love. When you are promoting a medical facility or medical services, you might want to use this template.

  • Circular Frames

You can promote all kinds of services using circular frames as it gives a sense of community. You’ll be able to emphasize your core values.

  • Concentric Circles

You can use them when you have to organize giveaways, promotions, or contests. They attract the audience’s attention and make them want to go to the target.

  • Round Shapes

Nothing says health and nature better than round shapes. So, give your banner design a makeover and round-up it up.

  • Bold Colors and Semi-Circles 

They are great for creative industries like music or fashion. So, just let your imagination flow.

  • Circle Frame with White Background

This gives your food and lifestyle blog a fresh, clean look. So, give it a try!

Stay on Brand with Shapes

When using shapes to create graphics, you need to keep one thing in mind: Always stay on brand. 

When you are creating a visual style guide, establish a selection of shapes that are going to be used for all brand graphics. Try not to use random shapes every time you create a new graphic. For instance, if your squares and rectangles always have rounded corners, make sure to keep them that way. Consistency is key to staying true to your visual identity, so try to consciously keep it!

To know more about the advertising designs and simple hacks to crack them, here are the 30 advertisement design tips that turn heads. Explore the article to know more.

Conclusion

Now that we have come full circle, we hope you got the inspiration you needed to start creating some fantastic works using round shapes. There are endless ways to use circles in designs and create engaging visuals. Now it’s your turn to go for it!

Happy designing!

Circles in Design FAQs

1. What are the three basic design shapes?

They are a square, a triangle, and a circle. All other shapes are originated from these.

2. How do circles make you feel?

Circles are warm, comforting, and give us a sense of sensuality and love. Its movement suggests energy and power, whereas, its completeness suggests infinity, unity, and harmony.

3. Why are circles so important?

Circles are still symbolically important as they are often used to symbolize harmony and unity. For example, the Olympic symbol has five interlocking rings of different colors, which represents the five major continents of the world uniting together in a spirit of healthy competition.

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