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We learn from art. We need art. Art provokes and inspires us. It aids in our creation of new inventions and ideas. It calms us and energizes us. It increases community and trust. For all these reasons and more, we need art in our workplaces. Why is positive emotion important in the workplace? In a study conducted by Harvard Business School Professor, Theresa Amabile; she and her colleagues conclude that positive emotions precede creative thoughts on the job, sometimes with memory effects of up to two days.

The connection between art and emotion is most explicit in the expression theory. In this theory, the value of art is a function of the communication or transference of emotion and feelings from artist to audience through the art. For our purposes, of finding the best art for your workplace, we must explore how and why art conveys and transmits emotion. It does so, of course, through the formative, structural basis of art – namely: colors and shapes.



Artworks Will Help You Use  Color to Inspire Your Employees

By using color psychology, you can send a positive or negative message, encourage sales, calm a crowd, or make an athlete pump iron harder.

associated with feelings of high energy, power, intensity, and performance

evokes productivity, motivation, balance, harmony, restoration, interest, reassurance, equilibrium and peace

stimulates enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, determination, success, security, and cheerfulness

associated with productivity, creativity, empathy, intelligence, communication and serenity​

relates with feelings of creativity, optimism, increased self-esteem and friendliness​

evokes vision, consciousness, authenticity, truth, quality, ambition, wisdom and awe​

Color and shape are essential to how we experience the world, they are ever present in our surroundings and each have deep rooted psychological affects on us, whether we realize this or not.

Newton’s discovery in the early 1700’s that light generates color dispelled much of the speculation that had built up around the nature of color, and encouraged objective, scientific study. The seven spectrum colors that he observed emerging from his prism, each blending into the next, suggested that color was essentially a physical phenomenon having a natural order. Bending the spectrum and joining its ends, he created the first color circle.

In 1810, German poet, artist and politician Johann Wolfgang von Goethe published “Theory of Colours” which was a captivating account of the philosophy and psychology behind artists use of color and audience’s psychological impact of different colors on our moods and emotions.


Dan Zeller, Neural Impasse, 2015, Acrylic and ink on paper, 16.5 x 19 inches

Goethe wrote of the color yellow, “In its highest purity it always carries with it the nature of brightness, and has a serene, gay, softly exciting character.” One sees and feels that joy and serenity in Vincent Van Gogh’s use of yellow on his paintings of sunflowers and even in “Starry Night.” Of the color red, Goethe wrote, “It conveys an impression of gravity and dignity, and at the same time grace and attractiveness…”Numerous studies of color theory since Goethe have supported the effect of color and emotions created by them.

Color evokes specific emotional responses for individual people based on experience, but also that there are common emotional responses that encompass most people. For instance, green is a generally liked color, and because there seems to be a positive association between nature and regrowth it often provokes productivity and creativity in employees. Therefore, we aim to curate art for businesses using what we know about color and emotion to bring out effective and valued characteristics to employees.


Artworks Will Help You Use  Shapes to Inspire Your Employees

Shapes also have both emotional & psychological effects on individuals.

vertical Lines are associated with feelings of consciousness, strength, courage, masculinity and power

roundness stimulate feelings of creativity, community, friendship, unity, support, and protection

horizontal Lines stimulate feelings of composure, tranquility, calmness and wellbeing​

triangles are associated with power, science, law, balance and strength

curves trigger emotions to do with motion, happiness, rhythm, femininity and pleasure

rectangles evoke stability, reliability, order, peace and uniformity​

Art, even that simply composed of geometric shapes and colors uses those shapes to evoke our inner emotions and strike a mood. A shape is an enclosed space, the boundaries of which are defined by other elements of art: lines, colors, values, texture. There are organic shapes – those found in nature, and geometric shapes – created by humans using tools and mathematics.

Rectangles and squares are perhaps the most common and familiar shapes we encounter. They convey a sense of foundation, of stability. While squares are often associated with masculinity, circles allude to femininity. Circles are also common in nature; our solar system is made up of them. The fact that circles consist of one line that never ends, connects them to cycles, movement, timelessness, eternity, community, and protection. Triangles are made of three lines that come to a peak and are associated with success, superiority, greatness, law and order. Circular imagery in common areas in a workplace could indeed induce feelings of community and connection amongst employees and employers. Great artists have used these shapes and others to symbolize and provoke, and we need these shapes to derive meaning from works of art.

Vargas-Suarez Universal, Celestial Mechanics XI, 2017, Oil on Canvas, 41 diameter​

The combination of both color and shape within a piece of art can have increased affects on a viewer’s emotional experience to their surroundings. Understanding how color and shape come together is a necessary undertaking for our team of experts. Art is an essential component to employee productivity, creativity, and connectivity to their workplace, as proven by Dr. Craig Knight in his study “Art works: how art in the office boosts staff productivity.” Through carefully curated art focused on color and shape, we can bring out the best in your employees and workplace. That emotion they feel when their eyes begin to wonder at their desks and they see inspired art on the wall; will fuel their ideas and passions and boost the growth of your company.

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