“Rounded Corners” vs “Sharp Corners”

Designers use rounded corners so much today that they’re more of an industry standard than a design trend. Not only are they found on software user interfaces, but hardware product designs as well. So what is it about rounded corners that make them so popular? Indeed they look appealing, but there’s more to it than that.

Rounded Corners Appear Less Bright

Anyone can appreciate the aesthetic beauty of rounded corners, but not everyone can explain where exactly that beauty comes from. The answer to that is literally in your eye.

We’re Conditioned for Rounded Corners

Another explanation on why we have an eye for rounded corners is because they’re more organic to how we use everyday objects in the physical world [3]. Rounded corners are everywhere. And as children, we quickly learn that sharp corners hurt and that rounded corners are safer. That’s why when a child plays with a ball, most parents aren’t alarmed.

Rounded Corners Make Information Easier to Process

Rounded corners are more effective for maps and diagrams because they allow our eyes to easily follow lines “as it suits better to the natural movement of the head and eyes respectively” [5]. Sharp corners throw your eyes off the path of the line so you end up experiencing abrupt pauses when the line changes direction. But with rounded corners, the line leads your eyes around each corner to continue along the path smoothly.

Final Thoughts

There are more to rounded corners than meets the eye. Rounded corners are not only easier for our eyes to process, but they also make information easier to process. There’s no doubt that rounded corners are appealing. But these extra reasons make them even more appealing to use. When you talk to a client about rounded corners, you’ll now have something more to say than it just looks good.


[1] Realizations of Rounded Rectangles

an aspiring designer.