Two years ago, I found out that I had a rare neurological occurrence called Synesthesia. I’ve used it to my advantage in guiding my artistic and creative expression. This article explains how the future of art direction can be changed by Synesthetes in the career field. Written by Juliet Rocco
I was reading an article on Yahoo! about the Pantone Institute’s forecasted color of the year. The color chosen for 2012 was an electric red/orange. Now, I have nothing against this color, but the way I visualize the year 2012, it is more of a purple and white combination.
Before I begin sounding completely crazy to you, let me explain myself…I have Synesthesia and my brain automatically associates colors with words and numbers. Essentially, it has a mind of its own and does this subconsciously. Ok, now feel free to judge my sanity for yourself.
*Please Note* These colors are all in my subconscious. I don’t read in colors!
In my Intro to Psychology class freshman year, we watched a video about people experiencing Synesthesia. Up until this point in 18 years of my existence, I had thought everyone experienced what I did on a regular basis. Apparently, not.
A brief overview of Synesthesia: Pronounced “sin-uhs-thee-zhuh,” it is a heightened sense in taste, hearing, or visual stimulation. I have the most common form of Synesthesia which is referred to as Grapheme Synesthesia. It is still under some medical speculation as to how exactly it works.
Still completely lost? Read more about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synesthesia
Researchers do believe that there is a cross-activation in certain areas of the brain that would normally be disconnected, which is probably why most of you say, “Juliet, I don’t see colors, only the black and white print on the page!” Scientists also know that it tends to be hereditary. My mom has it as well and we constantly argue about color assignments since ours are so different!
Here’s how my Synesthesia works:
How can this help in marketing? I’m very interested in applying this to real-world applications with product development and marketing strategies. I believe most people can agree to experiencing a very basic form of Synesthesia and color associations:
When it comes to consumer food purchases, most people prefer the logo or packaging to be red. Chances are, if the packaging is green and it doesn’t have to do with vegetables, you probably will steer clear of buying it! Appealing to the psychology aspect as well as the marketing aspect could really take product planning to the next level.
Takeaway: I think using the extra super powers that Synesthetes have in order to gain a better understanding of what looks aesthetically pleasing and making design decisions could be a huge asset in the development process. Since I have a very powerful insight on color association, it could benefit organizations looking to create a new logo or packaging when choosing “the perfect fit.” Consider asking people if they experience this too. Also learn that you’ve got something unique to contribute in the creative process if indeed, you are Synesthete.