A lesson in shape

And we’re back for our second week of our mini series of “Strategies for Designing Your Life”.  Each week, we’ll discuss some basic design elements and give examples of how to utilize them. The series will help to add interest, harmony, and unity to your life. Last Thursday, we gave you a Lesson in Color. And check back next Thursday for another lesson!

Today’s design element is SHAPE.

We present you with: A lesson in shape.

There’s 2 basic kinds of shapes: Geometric and Organic. Below are some photo examples that we found in our home and in our shop.

 Geometric Shapes –

Geometric shapes are basic shapes such as triangles, squares, and circles. They  have perfect uniform measurements and don’t often appear in nature. The clean straight lines of geometric shapes can be calming and pleasing to the eye.


  • Triangle earrings (via The Burlap Bag, who else?) – They are simple, classy, and won’t distract too much from an outfit.

  • Window frames – found in our own Lowe home! Note the small rectangles that make up the windows. One window is taller to create variation without adding in any other shapes.

Put together different geometric shapes for contrast. Square pictures frames with a few circular picture frames mixed in. Lots of different sized rectangular pillows on a bed. A circle dining room table with rectangle placemats.

Organic shapes

Organic shapes are free flowing and irregular. They are associated with things from the natural world. These shapes typically don’t have hard angles or straight lines.


  • Fox earrings  (via Vinca on etsy) – no rectangles, dodecahedrons, or perfect circles here! These look just like foxes and have some beautiful detail. And the asymmetrical-ness of the pair makes them even more interesting!

  • Branch curtain rods  (tutorial here) – This curtain rod is so fun to look at! Check out the natural bend and curve of the branch. Lovely!  Organic  shapes can definitely have more personality.


Both Shapes –

Items that have both geometric and organic shapes can be twice as interesting.


  • Whale pillow (via elefino on etsy) – a square pillow, an organic whale shape, and then a geometric chevron pattern inside! does it get more diverse than this!? We love it.

  • Austin, Texas I love you (done for The Burlap Bag by kathyphantastic)  Check out how you can doodle and incorporate both organic and geometric shapes! All the straight lines, dots, and the border around Texas look great with the curve of the banner and natural curves of the handwriting.

Now for you to do:

Combine geometric and organic shapes! A flowy dress with some triangle earrings and spiky heels. A striped top, animal earrings, and aviator sunglasses. Make an acorn wreath! Doodle on notes to friends.

Go have fun with shapes!

How do you use shapes in your life? Feel free to comment with links to photos you have! We wanna see!

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  1. I love this! I realized I lean toward geometric shapes more than organic. I really could mix it up more! Some of the items you used as illustrations would be a great place to start!

  2. Glad you can have a starting point, Emily! Geometric shapes can be so great… but it’s good to mix it up for sure! 🙂

  3. What font did you use for the overlay text in the first picture?

  4. from two to one – it’s called Amatic SC – it’s actually free from google fonts! http://www.google.com/webfonts/ we use it for EVERYTHING at TheBurlapBag.com – it’s a great font!

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