Triangles. You see them everywhere, especially in this day and age. Printed on dresses, messenger bags and whatnot. (I’m partly responsible for that to some extent.) Adopted as trademarks. Tattoed on whatever. I don’t know how they got so big. I think it has something to do with our generation’s oblivious way of looking at things.
More than ever now in this eon of design, it has become more and more common for one to see the forest—the big picture, the underlying message—before the trees. Design schools and institutions brainwash us to see what shapes signify, what colors suggest and what lies beneath words. Today’s crop of planners, designers and builders are the products of this very intuitive age.
Designers, right? Cornerstone of our multigenerational whateverness. We spray symbols all over the place, and people pick them up having no slightest idea of what they mean. FYI, this triangle phase is just the latest round of our great scheme to take over the world. And it works. No sweat. People go bananas over triangles. Young people dig them the most. Hell, even I love them too. There are others, however, who are aware of this trend and what it means. Pretty, pretty bucks.
Wearing a symbol is a bold statement of who you are and what you support. It’s about communicating the statement in a simplified, abstract manner. “I’m a Christian. This is my cross. It’s not the cross that matters, but what it signifies and what it means to me that does. It could be made of wooden sticks or two pieces of metal. It could be imaginary.” Or “I love Pink Floyd. I’ve seen them live 26 times!”
In today’s generation, symbolism is about more than that. It shows affinity in an unrestricted sense. Symbolism of the present still reflects certain aspects of one’s faith, system of belief or fandom, but it generally differs from the traditional understandings of the system. It’s easier now to be an overnight fan of an actor, band or religion when the prerequisites of what it takes to be a “fan” dissolve into vagueness. A symbol merely suggests that the wearer is one thing, but the association often doesn’t stick. Just because someone wears a Rolling Stones T-shirt doesn’t make him a fan. It’s all fashion now. Pure commercialism.
But, of course, a Rolling Stones T-shirt is a Rolling Stones T-shirt. There has to be a sense of identity attached to it somewhere. A right symbol for the right person is a powerful self-affirming tool for all of the world to see. And so it goes with whatever you like. “This is me.” “This is my Buddhist tattoo.” “The Echelon is my family.” “I’m a circle. I’m a peaceful, spiritual person.” And so on.
I find triangles very subtle and visually assertive at the same time. They imply a sense of direction and purpose. When used properly, they can be a powerful representation of one’s ideals. (The Illuminati comes to mind.) They can be masculine, feminine, good, evil, progressive or regressive depending on how they are oriented.
Triangles form a fixed rigid shape. In architecture, a triangular structure is considered stronger than its rectangular cousin because it is not prone to geometric distortion and may only collapse due to material fatigue. Triangles embody strength and will.
My favorite association of the shape, by the way, has always been the alchemical one as shown on the posters above.
Apart from making you look like a rockstar, that’s all I know about triangles really. I assume that whoever wears a hat knows the point of wearing it, so I just leave it at that.