Emotions are invoked through color or combinations of colors, sometimes so subtly that it feels like magic. Often, it is the joining of color and shape that creates a mood or sets the tone of a room.
The dark brown grains of wooden floors flowing as they contrast with the eggshell of smooth plaster walls instills calm and comfort within a room. Deep black lines of shiny tile laid in fields of bright white floors and walls project seriousness and finality. Sometimes the effect is a quiet nudge in a direction, sometimes it is a jolt to the senses.
Colors and shapes usually depend on each other to convey emotion and mood, except when it comes to matters of the heart.
The heart symbol is often thought to be a visual simplification of our anatomical heart, it’s found in cultures all over the world (Hindu, Buddhist, Celtic, Christian, Hebrew, Muslim, Aztec, Taoist) so it would make sense that our shared organ would be the inspiration. However, history suggests that it was actually the people of Cyrene in 600 BCE that took the image of the economically important “silphium” seedpod and stamped their coins with it. This brought the odd, absent in nature, shape to be a part of human culture.
What is thought to have been an ancient herbal contraceptive before it became extinct, the “silphium” seedpod was associated first with sex, then later it became the symbol for love. Time may have erased the story of how the humble seedpod evolved but there is no denying the power that the deceptively simple shape has today. Yellow, green, purple, blue or even red; the heart defies a shape’s dependence on color.