The Square

A square, unlike a circle, is often considered a human-made form because it is made up of straight lines and is not found in nature. The square is also a formal form, owing to its symmetrical structure. All four sides are equal in length, and the interior angles each measure 90 degrees. A square’s configuration suggests an axis (a centerline) that divides the form into equal halves. Two noticeable axes in a square pass through its center and are parallel to the sides (Figure 10—13).

A square has four definite directions of orientation because of its clearly delin­eated and separate sides. Unlike a circle, the square does not face outward in all direc­tions (Figure 10—14). These four directions create blind spots at the square’s corners. This reinforces the axial nature of the square. Despite their differences, the circle and square do have one important common characteristic: Each can fit within the form of the other (Figure 10-15).

Six specific components of a square are important to form composition: (1) sides, (2) extended sides, (3) axes, (4) extended axes, (5) diagonals, and (6) extended diagonals (Figure 10-16).

Experimentation and exploration with different combinations of the square’s components, as with the circle’s components, can lead to the development of creative design compositions (Figure 10-17).

Figure 10-9

Developing a square within a circle.

Figure 10-10

Developing a pentagon within a circle.

Figure 10-11

Developing a hexagon within a circle.

Another idea for developing compositions with a square is to use it as a modular grid. The grid can be formed within the square by subdividing it into smaller squares of equal dimensions. For example, these smaller squares can be one-half, one-quarter, or one-third the length of the original square’s sides. Once drawn, the grid can suggest an almost endless number of compositional possibilities

(Figure 10—18). Diagonals can be added to the previous grids to provide different de­sign compositions (Figure 10-19).

As has been shown, the circle and square along with their component parts are the foundation for a limitless variety of design compositions. It is important for the designer to explore these two geometric forms and their components to increase creative skills. As one engages in this type of activity, new forms are discovered that give rise to new ideas.