What do Jimi Hendrix, Vincent Van Gogh, Marilyn Monroe and Vladimir Nabokov have in common? For starters, they were all famous, each world-renowned in his or her own right. But what you may not know about these talented artists is that they were also synesthetes.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, according to Psychology Today, synesthesia is “a neurologically based condition in which a person experiences “crossed” responses to stimuli. Synesthesia occurs when stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway (e.g., hearing) leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway (e.g., vision).”
Simply put, synesthetes hear colors, feel tastes and see sounds—or any number of hybrid sensual responses. Considered by some to be a benign condition, it’s even possible that this ability to experience expansive sensorial stimuli may be a gift. If the long list of talented synesthetes is any indicator, for some people, synesthesia may be a predicator to genius.
Innovative Design: A Sensorial Feast
Not unlike synesthesia, good design catalyzes a holistic experience, engaging senses beyond the design medium itself. In a quirky mash-up of scent and watercolor, the makers of Method natural air fresheners asked five designers, Matt W. Moore, Satsuki Shibuya, Sara Jensen, Julia Manchik and Lisa Congdon to render images for 5 of their flagship scents.
Here’s what the artists had to ‘say’ about that:
The smell of BEACH SAGE SCENT looks like this:
The smell of FRENCH LAVENDER SCENT looks like this:
The smell of FRESH CLOVER SCENT looks like this:
The smell of SWEET TANGERINE SCENT looks like this:
The smell of WILD POPPY SCENT looks like this:
Method encourages you to download these images as iphone/ipad wallpaper so you can ‘look’ at these scents and stay refreshed all day long.
Textured Surface Designs
At Lehrmitt Design Studios, we also take our cue from multiple senses when we add new textured surface designs to our Surface Skins™ catalog. We observe patterns, light reflections and textures in the world around us to create textured surface designs that engage more than just one sense. Our textured surface designs look like their counterparts in nature and those honed from a crafter’s tool, and you can feel them, too. Because they are so true to life, our textured surface designs inspire the senses to bring on the experience of the real thing, however that may look, feel, sound, taste or smell to you.
Mary Follin, Lehrmitt Design Studios
How do you integrate senses into design? Leave a comment!