The ushin shapes came from common symbols:
Needs – the triangle harkens back to personal growth and development pyramids, such as Maslow’s Triangle of needs:
Feelings – the heart is intuitive, a common emoticon.
Thoughts – the thought bubble, an oval
Facts – the square represents documentation, e.g. proof
Merits – the star typically represents merit, the number of points in the ushin star stands for the 8 shapes.
People – the banner, or self-representation of person or group
Actions – the directional arrow points out the “next” action
Topics – the open-top trapezoid represents the all-inclusive bucket