Abstract The phase diagram of mixed monolayers composed of dimyristoyl phosphatidylcholine (DMPC) and stearic acid (SA) on different subphases was previously reported. It was observed that on acid subphases, liquid-condensed domains with shapes that depend on the SA proportion are formed. For mixtures with 40–45mole% of SA, the domain shape changes from flower-like to circular domains. In this work, we carried out a detailed study of the driving force for the shape change. We find that it is related to the domain density which, in turn, is driven by the domain nucleation process and thus by oversaturation of the system leading to phase segregation. This could be a way of self-regulating the local electrostatics and mechanical properties in membrane surfaces with segregated phase domains.