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Travel Theme: Circles

Definition: A circle is the locus of all points equidistant from a central point.

Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack, dreamed up a theme that made my mind go in circles trying to think of when I have ever photographed circles.  But sure enough, when I looked through my pictures, I found circles had snuck into my collection unwittingly.


Members of the California Council for Social Studies checked out the hotel in Burlingame where we will hold our annual conference in March, 2013.  Circles abounded in this travel site.  Most obviously the tables are round, the best kind for facilitating conversation between a group of five or six people.  You probably noticed the floor before I did.  The carpet designer loved circles.

Circles 2In this picture we are not distracted by the roundness of the tables, so our eyes can focus on the circles in the carpet.  In this case we might almost overlook the round lights in the ceiling.  As a teacher I notice that the large circles, and some of the small circles form Venn Diagrams.  I loved using Venn Diagrams to compare concepts.  Venns are used in many occupational circles, but briefly this is how teachers use them in reading a text, for example.  Characteristics of item A are listed in Circle A on the left, and characteristics of Item B are listed in Circle B on the right.  The characteristics that the items have in common are listed in the intersection.   This makes it very easy to then write a comparison paragraph or essay.  (I veered off the straight path.  Sorry I had to include an instructional strategy.)

Circles3This shot gives a different perspective of the pattern in the second picture.  Ailsa must have been along when the designer chose the carpet for this hotel.  The carpet theme was definitely circles throughout the hotel, but there were slight variations in the patterns from room to room.  I wonder what the psychological effect circles have on conference goers, and vacationers.


The carpet in the final conference room we examined has a different circular pattern.  This room is dominated by rectangular tables, podium, walls and lights.  The carpet mirrors that business-like rectangular flavor with definite  horizontal lines crossing the length of the room which were softened with some bolder, thicker circles than we found in the larger, more social foyer.

As this circular subject develops, I gravitated to the social aspect of circles:

  • circles of friends
  • round table discussions
  • circular conversations (which are VERY frustrating to me!)
  • circles for concept mapping capturing the ideas in our brains.

I wondered if there were specific psychological effects of circles that designers know about and employ to try and motivate us subconsciously.

Oh I do love the internet.  In the process of my search I came across a WordPress site devoted just to circles, Psychology of Circles.  Unfortunately the author only posted 9 articles during two months in 2009, and the one I wanted to read was only promised.  “Power Circles in Advertising” was never written.  Maybe his or her mind was just going in circles like mine, and couldn’t focus.  There are definitely disadvantages to circles!

Not satisfied, I entered the word circles, and found a company called Circles with this description, “Circles is the leading global provider of concierge, events and customized rewards.  … Our mission is to make life better and that pays dividends all around.”  There must be something to the use of circles in the hotel business!!!  I found another article describing how agitated certain animals became when they encountered crop circles.  No wonder most hotels with circular themed carpets don’t allow animals!

FAQs from Wikipedia

  • The circle is the shape with the largest area for a given length of perimeter.
  • The circle is a highly symmetric shape: every line through the centre forms a line of reflection symmetry and it has rotational symmetry around the centre for every angle.
  • A circle’s circumference and radius are proportional.

The human eye is drawn to a circle, which is perfectly proportional.  People are drawn to other people whose faces are proportional and symmetrical.   Cartoonists draw rounder, bigger eyes to make their characters mor appealing.  Are we more trusting of the circular shape?

It seems that very little has been written about the psychological effect of circles on humans.  I thought I’d hit the jackpot when CSU Stanislaus, but this list was the extent of their article:

  • Connection, community, wholeness, endurance, movement, safety, perfection
  • Refers to the feminine: warmth, comfort, sensuality, and love.

I was disappointed, but the truth is if someone is looking for a new topic for their doctoral thesis, here it is!!!

Have I come full circle?  Or is my circle yet unclosed?  I think the latter.  How does the circle affect you?

33 replies »

  1. I don’t know about that carpet, it’s very loud! I think it would be a bit off-putting if I was trying to concentrate on someone speaking. I have read all the comments on this post and enjoyed your conversations!


    • They are fun, and they challenge my thinking. I read Ad’s and hers was so interesting, that I went hunting for something with circles. It wasn’t anything that I consciously ever focused on before. With these challenges, you never know! Thanks for your compliment, Dianne 🙂 Marsha


    • They weren’t really artsy photos, but they fit the challenge. It got me thinking, for sure. Why do you like triangles best? I never did get to bed – Well I did, but here I am back again. So what is so special about triangles to you?


  2. This is interesting all about circles, thinking abou tit I like circles, smooth , no corners, yes feminine and sensual as you say above. I have not come full circle, as they say, but I don’t really want to, it seems like an ending, and I don’t want things to end…or start a new one 🙂
    Enjoy your posts, you are such a good writer! Ute x


  3. I believe that everyone’s life rotates like the earth, in a circle, always moving in a circle. As we move about our daily lives we come in contact with other peoples circles. Our two circles stay in contact for some time, then we drifted apart. You continue to revolve until your circle connects to another circle. Sometimes two or more circles stay in contact for a long time but while that is happening our circles meet up with other circles.

    I met this gentleman at cardio rehab tell me that he had lost a great deal of weight. I responded are you aware that if someone losses weight over here that means that someone somewhere else has gained some weight that is because the earth needs to maintain a certain amount of weight in order to stay in it’s orbit.

    Now if you believe the second part of this, then the first part is more believable.

    Now,” have I come full circle! “


    • hahaha I love it!!! But tell this guy – I DON’T want HIS weight. I’m having enough trouble getting rid of my own. And I only have a few pounds!!! So circles are concentric and spreading, like a pebble thrown into a lake. And when the circles meet, do they become truncated? Can you EVEN truncate a circle?


    • hahaha Sometimes you’re right. Hopefully this one will be interesting. We work on it all year. We have a special strand for Common Core, which everyone is scrambling to find out as much as possible. Then we are celebrating 50 years of Civil Liberties with some great speakers. The rest of the program are various teachers from around the state who have this as a venue to present what they do. Teachers usually love hearing from other teachers. Wish us luck. It’s in March. Thanks for commenting. I sort of went overboard here, and it’s bedtime on top of that! 🙂 Marsha


  4. A blonde has just gotten a new sports car. She cuts out in front of a semi, and almost causes it to drive over a cliff. The driver furiously motions for her to pull over, and she does. The driver gets out and draws a circle and tells her to stand in it. Then he gets out his knife and cuts up her leather seats. He turns around and sees she’s smiling. So he goes to his truck, takes out a baseball bat, and starts busting her windows and beating her car. He looks back to see that she’s laughing. He’s really mad now, so he takes his knife and slices her tires. He turns around and she’s laughing so hard, she’s about to fall down. He demands, “What’s so funny?” She says, “Every time you weren’t looking, I stepped out of the circle!”


    • hahaha Outloud! BTW I never take blond jokes personally! Even when I wasn’t blond, though, I had my moments. Your story almost sounds like it could be one of mine. My best friend’s husband called me a space cadet, and I didn’t kill him. He was a deputy, and he rarely grinned – or even spoke too much. I did pour water on his head at a party for giving me a bad time. After I did it, I couldn’t believe that I had done it, and I thought he would kill ME but since my husband was the pastor, I was safe! He loved me though, in spite of me being a cadet.


      • You have not lost your sense of humour Marsha, for the more you say the more I have to laugh. When you were a pastor’s wife you were quite a hand full. I would have loved to have been a fly-on-the-wall to watch you drench the deputy ……..perhaps not as you would have swatted me 😉 Please never graduate from the space cadet academy. Hugs Ralph x


        • You think I’m not a handful now????
          But I admit that I was not the pastor’s wife people were expecting. One of the older ladies in the church talked to me because the other ladies were praying for me because I was “too earthy”. Another talked to me about sticking my tongue out. On a Sunday morning before church a man came up to me with his arm raised it looked like to hit me for questioning him (a man of all things). I was standing in my husband’s office, and my husband, Mark, was sitting at his desk at the time. I didn’t move a muscle I was so shocked. He didn’t hit me.


      • Oh, yes, you are definitely a handful. STOP BLOGGING !! and write an autobiography. Your story of the pastor’s wife would make a great movie. Now who could play the starring role ?


        • My next goal is to write a book. So maybe I do start with myself. Those funny times were SO long ago. Now I am a somewhat sedate handful only because my current husband isn’t a pastor. Compared to the Nazarene Church I was a wild hair, away from it, I’m pretty tame. OK, maybe somewhat tame, but I’m older now.


      • Always a good way to start with yourself, as people are interested in other people’s stories and anything out of the ordinary must be a winner. Go Girl !!


  5. The fun thing with these photo challenges is that you search for the right shots, and what you find often is not intended that way at all. Nice circles, Marsha!
    Circles, beginning with no end, ending without a beginning. Eternal life.


    • I know. Really I almost like the contests better than telling a story with pictures like I often do. With the challenges you often need to use pictures that otherwise would be left out. the other thing is that it makes me more observant. I am incredibly non-observant! Thanks for stopping by, my friend. ML 🙂





Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. In November 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

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