adjective height dimensionheight dimension TOPheight dimension BOTTOM
Amount of crookedness

Angular and curved lines connected to adjectives.

“In a 1921 study conducted by the Swedish psychologist Helge Lundholm, subjects were asked to draw lines representing a set of emotional adjectives. While angular lines were used to depict adjectives like hard, harsh and cruel, curved lines were the popular choice for adjectives like gentle, quiet and mild. Over the years, other studies trying to associate feelings with types of lines have corroborated Lundholm’s findings.

Typography has been the target of a similar analysis. A study conducted in 1968 by psychologists Albert Kastl and Irvin Child indicated that people associate positive qualities like ‘sprightly’, ‘sparkling’, ‘dreamy’, and ‘soaring’ with curved, light, and possibly sans-serif typefaces. This could in part explain, to many graphic designers’ frustration, the wide-ranging popularity of the Comic Sans MS typeface.”

Lima, M. (2017)

Preference for circular shapes over straight lines.

“A preference for circular shapes is deeply ingrained in all of us from birth. A 2011 eye-tracking study found that at five months of age, before they utter a word or scribble a drawing, infants already show a clear visual preference for contoured lines over straight lines.

In a seminal paper published in 2006 in Psychological Science, cognitive psychologists Moshe Bar and Maital Neta conducted an experiment in which 14 participants were shown 140 pairs of letters, patterns, and everyday objects, differing only in the curvature of their contour. The results were not completely surprising: participants showed a strong preference for curved items in all categories, particularly when it came to real objects.”

Lima, M. (2017)

Proverbs and sayings: straight

There are many proverbs and sayings that have to do with form characteristics and emotions. Straight: honest, easy, good, docile, obedient, calm, fair.
Lakoff and Johnson (1999)

Curved and straight is a bi-polar that carries a strong weight of morality, regardless of whether the curving is round or angular. Lakoff and Johnson (1999) saw that there are many proverbs and sayings that have to do with form characteristics and emotions. Straight: honest, easy, good, docile, obedient, quiet, fair. Crooked / curved: difficult, unfair, cru, evil, bad, unjust.

Sharp corners can be perceived as dangerous, aggressive, they can puncture or cut. On the other hand, sharp corners are associated with energy (like the lightning bolt) and quickness, and induces attention.

Square/rounded also have an important influence on the effect of the curvedness. Rounded corners are experienced more cheerfully (Poffenberger en Barrows, 1924) but also more activating and exciting, while straight angles are perceived as more serious (Poffenberger en Barrows, 1924).

A sharp angle is associated with ‘shocking’ or ‘exciting’, because of the acute change in the direction of the movement. However, a rounded corner is seen more as ‘relaxed’ (Kreitler and Kreitler, 1972).

The curvedness of a line also has influence on the activation dimension (BREADTH). Heavy curved lines tend to excite, while straight lines tend to calm down. Compare the few/many parameter.