Week 3 – Body Language, Colors and Shapes

body-language

Last week, I learnt that communication can pass through playing and gestures. That is why i decided to focus my researches on body language this week.

Some may not realize it initially, but verbal communication is comprehended in so many more ways than just words alone. An interesting rule from Albert Mehrabian states, when it comes to face-to-face interaction, verbal communication is comprehended:

7% from the words that are actually spoken

38% in how the words are spoken (tone of voice)

55% is from one’s facials expressions and body language.

I found out that facial reactions can be more telling than verbal ones.

Then I started thinking that one of the first that is taught to children is how to recognize shapes and colors, it is primordial for a better understanding of the world around us. Shapes and colors all have a meaning that is instinctively perceived by all of us.

Designers use shapes to:

  • Organize information through connection and separation
  • Symbolize different ideas
  • Create movement, texture, and depth
  • Convey mood and emotion
  • Emphasize and create entry points and areas of interest
  • Lead the eye from one design element to the next

 

random-shapes

I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way—things I had no words for.

—Georgia O’Keeffe

Geometric shapes are what most people think of as shapes. Circles, squares, triangles, diamonds are made up of regular patterns that are easily recognizable. This regularity suggests organization and efficiency. It suggests structure. Geometric shapes tend to be symmetrical further suggesting order.

Natural/Organic shapes are irregular. They have more curves and are uneven. They tend to be pleasing and comforting. While they can be man-made (ink blobs), they are more typically representative of shapes found in nature such as a leaves, rocks, and clouds. On a web page organic shapes are generally created through the use of illustration and photography. They are free form and asymmetrical and convey feelings of spontaneity. Organic shapes add interest and reinforce themes.

Abstract shapes have a recognizable form, but are not real. They are stylized or simplified versions of organic shapes. A stick figure is an abstract shape depicting a person. Typographic glyphs are abstract shapes to represent letters. Icons are abstract shapes to represent ideas and concepts. Some abstract shapes have near universal recognition. Think of some of the icons you see in the software you use daily.

Shapes can be either positive or negative. They can be figure or they can be ground. Be conscious of the shapes you form with negative space as these are just as, if not more, important than the shapes you form with positive space.

Circles have no beginning or end. They represent the eternal whole and in every culture are an archetypical form representing the sun, the earth, the moon, the universe, and other celestial objects between. Circles are used to suggest familiar objects such as wheels, balls, many kinds of fruit. They suggested well-roundedness and completeness.

Circles have free movement. They can roll. Shading and lines can enhance this sense of movement in circles. Circles are graceful and their curves are seen as feminine. They are warm, comforting and give a sense of sensuality and love. Their movement suggests energy and power. Their completeness suggests the infinite, unity, and harmony.

Circles protect, they endure, they restrict. They confine what’s within and keep things out. They offer safety and connection. Circles suggests community, integrity, and perfection.

Because they are less common in design they work well to attract attention, provide emphasis, and set things apart.

Squares and rectangles are stable. They’re familiar and trusted shapes and suggest honesty. They have right angles and represent order, mathematics, rationality, and formality. They are seen as earthbound. Rectangles are the most common geometric shape encountered. The majority of text we read is set in rectangles or squares.

Squares and rectangles suggest conformity, peacefulness, solidity, security, and equality. Their familiarity and stability, along with their commonness can seem boring. They are generally not attention getters, but can be tilted to add an unexpected twist. Think of web pages that tilts framed images to help them stand out.

Triangles can be stable when sitting on their base or unstable when not. They represent dynamic tension, action, and aggression. Triangles have energy and power and their stable/unstable dynamic can suggest either conflict or steady strength. They are balanced and can be a symbol for law, science, and religion.

Triangles can direct movement based which way they point. They can be used to suggest familiar themes like pyramids, arrows and, pennants. Spiritually they represent the religious trinity. They can suggest self-discovery and revelation.

Spirals are expressions of creativity. They are often found in the natural growth pattern of many organisms and suggest the process of growth and evolution. Spirals convey ideas of fertility, birth, death, expansion, and transformation. They are cycles of time, life, and the seasons and are a common shape in religious and mystical symbolism.

Spirals move in either direction and represent returning to the same point on life’s journey with new levels of understanding. They represent trust during change, the release of energy and maintaining flexibility through transformation.

Clockwise spirals represent projection of an intention and counterclockwise spirals the fulfillment of an intention. Double spirals can be used to symbolize opposing forces.

Curved shapes offer rhythm and movement, happiness, pleasure and generosity. They are seen as more feminine than sharp shapes which offer energy, violence and, anger. Sharp shapes are lively and youthful and are seen as more masculine.

I also found a well made graphic about colour meaning

emotion-color-blk

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