The Letterform Archive has countless examples of this design pattern spanning decades, but here are a few examples:
— Letterform Archive (@Lett_Arc) October 26, 2017
Caractères d'Imprimerie specimen book, Fonderie Mayeur, Allainguillaume, J. Saling & Cie, Paris, c. 1913 pic.twitter.com/9ZT0b7RxYL
— Letterform Archive (@Lett_Arc) October 29, 2017
Sybold van Ravesteijn, De Gemeenschap, No. 12, 1927 pic.twitter.com/7p8867wOYO
— Letterform Archive (@Lett_Arc) November 29, 2017
Annedore Weidemuller, Graphik, No. 8, Vol. 11, 1958 pic.twitter.com/eLSumcaIhl
— Letterform Archive (@Lett_Arc) December 3, 2017
Lloyd Pierce, The Journal of Commercial Art, Vol. 1, No. 1, Palo Alto, 1959 pic.twitter.com/ZTWJ6UugUo
— Letterform Archive (@Lett_Arc) September 14, 2017
Herbert Bayer, Offset Buch und Werbekunst, 1926 pic.twitter.com/MV01L3ja19
— Letterform Archive (@Lett_Arc) October 7, 2017
Will Burtin, Visual Aspects of Science, 1962 pic.twitter.com/u2u2x86u9o
— Letterform Archive (@Lett_Arc) October 20, 2017
Great Ideas of Western Man, Container Corporation of America, Chicago, 1951 pic.twitter.com/DTW8lyKxfv
— Letterform Archive (@Lett_Arc) October 25, 2017
The constraint of using simple shapes in design forces the designer to examine the layout and figure-ground relationships more closely. When all you have to work with is simple shapes and text, there are no tricks to hide behind (like depth effects and pretty photos). Your alignment, spacing, proximity, and other fundamental principles need to be flawless. This constraint allows designers to show the power of subtlety and detail in our work, which is why we’ll never stop being inspired by the simplicity of shapes.
Obviously, this visual design pattern is a great choice if your product is for designers, who will recognize the connection with classic design. However, it can be a great choice for many types of brands where simplicity and elegance are core values.
Modern examples of simple & geometric shapes in design
Upperquad, a design agency, takes this design pattern to the extreme on their website with sophisticated animations and compositions of simple shapes.
Via Contrast App
The Contrast App site by @mds uses simple shapes as layout and decorative elements, and they morph into other shapes on hover.
The Fixtail landing page design by @pjrvs uses simple shapes as background elements.
Via The Tiny Designer (Designed by the author, Jarrod Drysdale)
The Tiny Designer uses shapes as background elements and inside illustrations.