red shapepurple shapeblue shape white shape




  • Proverbs abd sayings: thick/thin

    Lakoff and Johnson (1999) saw that there are many proverbs and sayings that have to do with form characteristics and emotions. Thick: rich, important, thin: poor, unimportant.

  • Area proportion

    The relation with area proportion (size of the coloured object) appears to be most significant for the heavy / light colour emotional scale. This creates a relationship of meaning between the colour quality heavy / light and the shape quality large / small. (Wang, 2007)

  • Thin and thick shapes

    Complexity is felt with many thin, round shaped parts. Thick shapes feel warmer than thin ones and will appear more in a colour palette with a large lightness contrast. A thick shape is placed rather structured in a sober composition. Thick correlates strongly with large, thin with small. (Michiels, 2016)

  • Sharp versus blunt

    The size of an angle can be determined by measuring the angle that two lines make with each other. This angle can be expressed in both degrees and radiants. The larger the angle, the more blunt it is. And conversely, the smaller the angle between two lines, the sharper.

    The emotional effect of sharp corners differs according to the application. When it comes to utensils, sharp corners can be perceived as dangerous, they can puncture or cut.

    Blunt/sharp is classified as a HEIGHT dimension parameter because a shape with blunt lines comes often with a thick shape, while sharpness appears most of the time in a thin shape. Compare the thick/thin parameter.

    (Inez Michiels, DSD, 2021)

  • Proverbs and sayings: oblique-crooked

    Oblique lines have a negative connotation in language. Lakoff and Johnson (1999) saw that there are many proverbs and sayings that have to do with form characteristics and emotions. Oblique / crooked: wrong, unacceptable, poor, ugly.

  • Proverbs and sayings: open-closed

    Lakoff and Johnson (1999) saw that there are many proverbs and sayings that have to do with form characteristics and emotions. Open / empty / bald: honest, neat, welcome, hospitable, logical, poor, soft. Closed: unfair, messy, meaningless.

  • The openness characteristic of shape

    The openness characteristic of shape can also be found in body posture. Someone who does not feel secure in the presence of another closes his position. Then he crosses his arms or legs or holds an object in front of himself. With that he shields himself from a too intimate approach. If we feel more at ease, we can adopt an open attitude. This shows he has more confidence in the other. (Van Marwijk, n.d.)

    If a person wants to join a conversation, participants from that conversation can give that person the space to do so by slightly turning away from each other, making room for the new person to being involved in the conversation. If the others do not want to involve him in the discussion, they do not open the space. (Van Marwijk, g.d.)

  • Nakedness and sexual preference

    It is true that one sex tends to be more naked than the other, and Darwin made use of this in his own sexual selection theory of the loss of human hair. He supposed that ancestral males chose females rather than the other way around as is normal in the animal kingdom, and that they preferred hairless females. His faith in sexual selection is reinforced by the observation that in all races, however hairy or however hairless, the woman tend to be less hairy than the men. Darwin believed that ancestral men found hairy women unattractive. Generations of men chose the most naked (smooth) women as mates. (Dawkins, 2004).

  • Innate programming of up and down in chicks

    Newly hatched baby chicks peck at photographs of simulated grains, and strongly prefer them if lit as if from above. Turn the photograph over and they shun it. This seems to show that baby chicks ‘know’ that light in their world normally comes from above. But since they have only just hatched out of the egg, how do they know? Have they learned it during their three days of life? It is perfectly possible, but I tested it experimentally and found it not to be so. I raised chicks and tested them in a special cage in which only light they ever saw came from below. Experience of pecking grain in this upside-down world would, if anything, teach them to prefer upside-down photographs of solid grains. Instead, they behaved exactly like normal chicks raised in the real world with light coming from above. Apparently because of genetic programming, all the chicks prefer to peck at photographs of solid objects lit from above. The solidity illusion (and hence, if I am right, the ‘knowledge’ of the predominant direction of light in the real world) seems to be genetically programmed in chicks – what we used to call ‘innate’ – rather than learned as (I’m guessing) it probably is in us. (Dawkins, 2004)

  • The lighting of up and down

    One of the main differences between up and down in the world is the predominant direction of light. While not necessarily directly overhead, the sun’s rays generally come from above rather than below. This fact opens an important way in which we, and many other animals, can recognise solid three-dimensional objects. It works in reverse.

    Public domain work of NASA

    The photograph of moon craters is printed upside down. If your eye (well, to be more precise, your brain) works the same way as mine, you will see the craters as hills.

    Public domain work of NASA

    Turn the book upside down, so that the light appears to come from another direction, and the hills wil turn into craters that they truly are.

    (Dawkins, 2004)

  • Up and down in the story of evolution

    (About the primaeval worm, our ancestor of 590 million years ago.) Why is there a dorsal side and a ventral side? The argument is similar (as with the fore and aft asymmetry), and the one applies to starfish just as much as to worms. Gravity being what it is, there are lots of inevitable differences between up and down. Down is where the sea bottom is, down is where the friction is, up is where the sunlight comes from, up is the direction from which things fall on you. It is unlikely that dangers will threaten equally from below and above, and in any case those dangers are likely to be qualitatively different. So our primitive worm should have a specialised upper or ‘dorsal’ side and a specialised ‘ventral’ or lower side, rather than simply not caring which side faces the sea bottom and which side faces the sky. (Dawkins, 2004),

  • ‘Something great’ and colour in Germany

    Something great: black 23%, blue 18%, white 13%, …
    Heller E. (1989)

  • Heavy, lightweight and their correlations

    Osgood’s Research (1957) made a significant correlation between heavy and hard with big, while lightweight is sensed rather fine and small. “Now we know, from our factor analytic work, that up, small, light-weight and white tend to go together in meaning and metaphor as opposed to down, large, heavy, and black.”