TEXTUREcomposition large/small
basis height dimensionheight dimension TOPheight dimension BOTTOM

Hard textures are more difficult to press, break or bend, such as rock or stone, some metals and woods. Soft textures are easily compressible, breakable, or bend more easily such as wool, fibrefill, gummy.


‘Hard / Hardness’ and colour in Germany
Hard / hardness: black 43%, blue 15%, silver 12%, … Heller E. (1989)
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)

Cold blue, a detached, indifferent colour

Cold blue is symbolic and metaphorically a rejecting colour. It is a colour of indifference, detachement, of pride and of hardness. (Heller, 1989)

Colour weight on the lightness axis

Black and white are the most extreme examples of heavy and lightweight colours. The movement is in the height. Heavy colours, when applied above the viewer, tend to press down. Because of their heaviness, the weight is literally felt. A black ceiling will be estimated lower than a white one. Heavy is also connected to hard and large, while lightweight is felt rather fine, small and soft (Osgood, 1957). If colours have the same intensity such as red and green, red will outweigh green. (Meerwein, 2007)

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.”

Heavy, tight and hard

Rooms painted black appear much smaller than white ones. Black furniture dominates the space. In the most positive case they appear representative, in the most negative case they are oppressive. A black sofa appears to be harder than a white one. Colours influence the impression one gets of size, weight and material. Boxes with a light colour will be assessed less heavily than dark ones. The impression of the weight is not only due to the colour. The material usually gives the deciding factor. Every effect is the sum of all experiences.
(Heller, 1989)

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 personality dimension ‘hardness’

Hardness is characterized by the traits aggressiveness, assertiveness, achievement orientation, manipulation, sensation seeking, dogmatism and masculinity.
(Eysenck & Wilson, 1977)