Visualising Emotions

Today was another day of research and I carried on looking into the shapes of colours and emotions.


When searching I discovered the artist Nick Barclay who uses shapes and colours to visualise specific feelings such as dread, or withdrawal, shown below.


  • Shapes to define emotions
  • I feel Barclay manages to so successfully portray feelings through the use of shapes and colour, carefully selecting the size, positioning and type of them. Allowing the viewer to so easily understand them due to their simplicity expressing a scenario that relates to the emotion. Therefore the specific feeling is shown thrown the shapes.



  • Using colour to define characters – breaking characters down to their colours
  • Its interesting to see not just emotions by also characters can be broken down into shapes and colours. – Can everything be broken down ?


Using shapes and colour to illustrate mental illnesses.

  • Patterns
  • Can’t tell what the shapes are expressing as easily as with Barclay’s work. I think this is due to the work being placed more into a pattern format and so aren’t as simplified and clear as Barclay’s work.



Using shapes and colour to illustrate mental illnesses.

  • Layering, size, shape, positioning in relation to others, all are key in illustrating an emotion of illness.
  • Humanising the shapes
Overall thoughts
  • I find it fascinating that such a simple set of shapes and colours can portray such complex emotions. Emotions are hard enough to explain through words let alone through a limited amount of shapes that have no connections to feelings at all. I’m certainly feeling amazed by how the artists managed to achieve this and I think the shapes and colours could be very important in ways of creating emotions within my game ideas.


I decided to form my own responses to Nick Barclay’s work as well as the emotional colour wheels I had explored in my previous post to combine the two and look explore the research in a different way to see if it sparked any ideas.

Emotion/ colour wheel

With the colour wheel containing a lot more colours than Nick Barclay’s work, I thought I would try to add some of the colours from the wheel into Barclay’s work, to form a different way of mapping the colours. Exploring the connection between emotional shapes and colour wheels. Below are my experiments


img577 depression-group-copy-4img578 depression-group-copyimg579



Refer to Sketchbook 1