Is it personal or is it something else?

What makes an individual prefer one shape over another?  Round, square, oval or rectangle, is it a personal choice or does it come from somewhere deep in your psyche?

The Human Library

The human mind instinctively categorises images from the world around us, assigning each a ‘shape’ and creating our own mental library of visual forms.  We then link each shape o a range of emotions, thoughts, and perceptions.


Shape clearly plays an important role n how consumers respond, but why? In 2010, neuroscientists at Johns Hopkins conducted an experiment to find out if any shapes were more pleasing than others.

A curvy surface is characteristic of living organisms so the brain may have evolved to process information about rounded shapes to guide behaviour like eating and attracting partners, evoking a friendly feeling.

Whilst more angular objects, relating to rough, jagged forms, tend to be inorganic and offering shelter and structure, hence the feeling of safety.


Rounded shapes have a friendly, gentle warmer, softer association than more ridged images.  There are a multitude of shapes, such as the sun and the moon, that symbolise a circle, representing inclusiveness, unity, and protection; their presence in the overall design makes a room feel youthful, happy, and carefree.


With their even proportions and strong ridged edges squares suggest stability and order, these more formal shapes are calming, evoking a sense of conformity, honesty, and rationality.  You can’t imagine a square shape being easily toppled, designs with squares as the dominant shape, feel exceptionally reassuring.

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