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This is the discipline that studies shapes and their influence on people. It suggests that each shape can be attributed a set of meanings, because they have an impact on our consciousness and our behavior.
We agree that perceiving and analyzing visual elements in terms of shapes helps us to behave according to the shape we are visualizing. For example the sun and the moon are interpreted as a circle, the triangle as a caution, but could we say why do we perceive it that way? What is certain is that these figures have a great impact on our subconscious.
The psychology of the form guarantees that each figure has its own meaning and we can interpret them in different ways in our mind. What's more, it is believed that your favorite shape, or a quickly selected shape could inform about some deep traits of your personality. Years of research have helped professionals define the meaning of each shape and how it can influence the perception of each human being.
Let's get to know them a little better.
Shape psychology and the meaning of geometric shapes:
When the word shape is mentioned to you, most people think of geometric shapes. Let's know a little more about the meaning that gives us, each geometric figure according to the psychology of shape.
The square is one of the shapes we see the most in our day to day life. Think of the walls of your house, a TV screen, a cell phone case or a 4-sided dining table. The lines and right angles produce an impression of sturdiness that leads to reliability and security. Some common meanings of square and rectangular shapes would be: strength, order, masculinity, stability, security and reliability.
The triangle is a very dynamic, strong and energetic shape that is related to movement. It can also be related to hierarchy, its lateral lines can contribute to move our eyes towards the tip. Since the triangle is a very dynamic shape, it can also have different meanings depending on how it is arranged. For example, a vertical triangle can evoke feelings of stability and balance. On the other hand, an inverted triangle will make us think of risk and caution, since it will give us the sensation that it is about to fall, causing a feeling of tension.
Some common meanings of triangular shapes would be: excitement, power, advancement, vitality, growth, risk and danger. With this we could already define why the triangle gives us the definition of caution when we see it.
Since we have no beginning and no end, the circle shape is associated with eternity. It is also related to the sun, the moon and the earth. Oval or round shapes, lacking angles or peaks, evoke more empathic and closer emotions. They are therefore emotionally more positive and less cold than rectangular shapes. Some common meanings of circular shapes would be: adaptability, unity, movement, globality, perfection and feminism.
Although lines help to delimit shapes, when grouped together they can also help to evoke some concepts or emotions.
For example, if lines are in a horizontal position they will evoke tranquility, reliability, confidence and a sense of peace. Lines that are in a vertical position have a more energetic position that can help to draw more attention and dominate the composition. They will evoke balance, hierarchy or efficiency. Some common meanings of straight lines would be: union, link, communication, relationship and coordination.
Spirals are quite present in nature, they are also associated with growth, life or evolution. In some cultures spirals can also represent knowledge. Some common meanings of spiral shapes would be: growth, creativity, illusion, calm, intelligence, energy.
This shape can psychologically provoke excellence, illusion and the relative, in some occasions and with a good selection of colors it can evoke energy and vitality. Spirals have a very powerful format when we use them to design. And that is why we must be careful when choosing them.
The use and treatment that we can give to shapes should be cautious because each of them has its meaning and visual interest, by using them correctly we can create a visual interest for our personal and professional projects. If we play with shapes, it is preferable to follow the trick of using variations of the shape instead of using different types of shapes.
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