What's in a shape?

Whenever you're dealing with a new project, one of the first things that needs to be decided on is the size, but before we can decide on the size, we need to think about the shape. What's in a shape, well I'm here to tell you.

The shape of a piece actually sets the tone for the whole design and creates the initial vibe which is then built on by the size, design, materials, color palette, font choice and so on. So let's run through the basic shapes.



This shape is very traditional, it's the most used and it's always appropriate. It can sometimes feel a little stale and boring since it's so common, but it's common for a reason, it works.

Vibe it gives off
Professional, Traditional, Corporate




This shape is less traditional than portrait, it's used for pieces where content needs to be delivered quickly. The short horizontal text makes it a quick read and because it's skinny, it can fit in the palm of a hand, which makes it great a shape for users on the go. 

Vibe it gives off
Playful, Simple, Succinct



This shape is traditional but is the more fun alternative to portrait. It provides more design flexibility and space for second columns and pictures.

Vibe it gives off
Inviting, unconventional, interesting


Horizontal is a nice choice for designs that need to lean modern. This is a tricky shape to design for but if you get it right it looks great! 

Vibe it gives off
Modern, Contemporary, Chic


The Square is one of my all time favorite shapes. It's an easy way to make a design feel exciting and fun. The vibe the square gives off is very strong, so if the situation is not Celebratory it might not be appropriate.

Vibe it gives off
Casual, Fun, Playful, Celebratory

I hope you enjoyed your lesson in picking the perfect shape! Happy Designing!

Where to buy and get free fonts

I LOVE fonts, I have hundreds and am always on the hunt for more. Whether you're looking to purchase or looking for some freebies, these are the spots I go in order to grab some new ones.

If you're looking for freebies:

Da Font

Da Font offers free fonts in a variety of styles that you can search through. They have a little bit of everything: scripts, decorative, handwritten, serifs, san serifs, distressed, etc. With free fonts you have to be careful that you are adhering to their license agreements. If you're using the fonts for personal use (ie. creating a baby shower invitation, designing a wall hanging or chart for your home) you are fine using any of the fonts. However, if your usage is 'commercial', only certain fonts are allowed. To the right of each font, it'll say 'Free for personal use, Free for personal and commercial use, 100% free, or donationware'. To stay on the right side of the law, make sure you adhere to the license agreements.


There are thousands of font foundries (meaning companies who create fonts). You can make a list of different foundries that you like by going to myfonts.com and browsing through different styles. Once you find a bunch of fonts you like, click on the overview and find the foundry who created the font. Go to their website. Many times they offer freebies on their site.


If you're looking to buy fonts:

My Fonts

My Fonts is great for one off purchases; for example, if you just need one weight of a font, you can purchase that inexpensively on myfonts.com. They also run specials frequently, so checking 'Special Offers' in the navigation is a good place to start. If you want to purchase the entire family of fonts (meaning all of the weights of that particular font: light, regular, medium, bold, black, etc.), checking the foundry’s site, which will be located in the ‘overview’ section, might get you a better bundle deal. This is where I buy 99% of my fonts, the site tracks your purchases and if you somehow lose your fonts due to a computer issue you can always re-download and install.


Cloud based fonts are a bit new but if you have an Adobe Creative Cloud membership you get a certain number of fonts included via Typekit. The way it works is you go to the website, log in with your Creative Cloud user name and password and you have access to a certain number of fonts based on your membership level. You 'sync' the fonts you want to use and you are automatically given access to them in your computer programs. 


In addition to occasionally having free fonts, a Foundries main business is selling fonts. Some of my favorite Foundries are Frere-Jones Type, Sudtipos, URW++, Latinotype, Cultivated Mind and FontFabric. Their websites offer many styles and collections for purchase.


What’s the best size for your business card?

When it comes to business card design there are tons and tons of options you can use to stand out. There are different sizes, shapes, finishes, paper weights and styles but when it comes to your business card size, what's the best size?

The standard dimensions for a business card are 3.5”x2”. It may seem novel to have a card that is larger or smaller and draws attention to it by being an odd size, but as a designer I always recommend using the standard size. There is a good chance it will get lost or discarded because it doesn’t line up with the others and it ends up feeling like a bit of a misfit.

Typically, business cards are horizontal but if you have lists of services or you are working with an image or logo that works better vertically, a vertical card is perfectly fine. I would recommend that if you go vertical, you do so for both sides. The same goes for a horizontal card; switching orientations from the front to the back feels choppy and awkward.

If you're feeling like this is a boring choice, I recommend going with a jazzier paper or adding a finishing option like edge painting or a foil stamp.

Need more design tips? Check out my Design & Branding guide that includes all of my design secrets in one handy little guide, perfect for designers, students or new business owners who are ready to look their very best.

BONUS! Generate the best ideas using my free Brainstorm Like a Pro ebook, get it here for FREE

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