Certain shapes can convey immediate impressions on the viewer. Much like how body language works, we pick up on slight differences and begin to form an opinion, a perception and this all shapes our approach to a subject or a person.
Responses to common shapes give them personalities and assumptions that are barely thought about consciously, but are assumed immediately.
These can be as simple seeing the shape to bring across an assumed mood ie. authority and potential danger.
Or they can be used to bring across a point and draw attention in an important way. These columns can bring across an authority in print media and backs up the importance of what is being said.
It is interesting to draw attention to how our minds have evolved to make these snap judgements. Has the world we live in shaped these perceptions, by forcing us to associate certain shapes with these characteristics.
For example, we can look at the shape of a mountain. This triangular form is, by nature, one of the strongest standing natural structures associated with our planet, which backs up the idea of nature shaping our perceptions and expectations of shapes.
However, our historical, human developments may also have shaped our way of processing immediate data. Columns were a key aspect of classical Roman architecture and became a symbol of solidarity and structural solidity and this shapes our perceptions further.
Understanding this means we can elaborate on these ideas. By combining shapes we can visually communicate complex ideas by implementing emotional response. The Parthenon sculpture from Rome (seen here in a recreation of the style in Nashville) combined the visual elements of the commanding triangle, supported by a combination of horizontal beams and vertical pillars, creating a composition of recognisable dominance and trustworthy power; which is a lot of what the Romans stood for, visualised in a building.
(Mention cars/bottles/products etc.)
The colour red appears to advance. A room with red painted walls will feel as though it is closing in around you.
Orange produces quite calming, warm feelings. In visual language, it is synonymous with 70’s camera filters giving a warming, retro orange glow.
Yellow produces a youthful, innocent tone. It reminds us of colouring the sun as a big yellow circle as a young child with pencil crayons. The yellow of daffodils in spring reminds us of rebirth.
Green is a colour that has taken on its own meaning; green means “to be good to the planet, to recycle, to eat well, to be healthy and environmentally conscious”. This comes from its ties to nature, neutral pH balances, grass and health foods.
Blue, opposite to red, has a distancing effect ie. a blue painted room will feel like it is expanding. Blue is also the colour things at a distance begin to appear. For example, when you see a mountain (a grey composition of rock) from a distance it will almost always appear blue. The same happens with city skylines.
Indigo is associated with religion and riches, due to historically being very hard to come by purple fabrics/dyes/clothing around the middle ages. There are also lots of ties to the occult, again probably due to this historical taboo of witchcraft around the same time.
Pink brings back a warmth to the colour spectrum, with a lot of ties to sensuality.