Symmetry has a central role in visual art, it is often linked to beauty, and observers can detect it efficiently in the lab. We studied what kind of fast and automatic responses are generated by visual presentation of symmetrical patterns. Specifically, we tested whether a brief presentation of novel symmetrical patterns engenders positive affect using a priming paradigm. The abstract patterns were used as primes in a pattern-word interference task. To ensure that familiarity was not a factor, no pattern and no word was ever repeated within each experiment. The task was to classify words that were selected to have either positive or negative valence. We tested irregular patterns, patterns containing vertical and horizontal reflectional symmetry, and patterns containing a 90 deg rotation. In a series of 7 experiments we found that the effect of affective congruence was present for both types of regularity but only when observers had to classify the regularity of the pattern after responding to the word. The findings show that processing abstract symmetrical shapes or random pattern can engender positive or negative affect as long as the regularity of the pattern is a feature that observers have to attend to and classify.