The Multi-Sensory Design of a Synesthete’s Everyday Experience


The Multi-Sensory Design of a Synesthete’s Everyday Experience



Madeline Murphy Spicer



Perception—defined as becoming aware of occurrences in the world through the senses—is different for every person (Merriam-Webster 2019). My thesis focuses on perception in the form of a condition called synesthesia and the communication of this condition through the medium of graphic design. Synesthesia is a condition that involves the involuntary crossing of the senses, resulting in multi-sensory experiences every time a synesthete absorbs the world and specifically, visible language. Through the visible language of graphic design, I have created several projects that communicate my three goals for my thesis, which include conducting research on synesthesia, sharing what I experience every day as someone with synesthesia, and educating others about the condition. The results have come in the form of several graphic design-centered projects that developed from researching exhibitions featuring synesthesia and exploration of the senses, as well as many books written by neurologists, researchers, and designers. The projects include a storybook of discovery, research posters, and a visual song. They all utilize my visual perception of the world as a synesthete through transparency overlays with my colored letters on the text of the storybook and posters, or the song that is drawn how I see it in my mind’s eye. All of these elements have helped me begin my journey to educating others about synesthesia through researching the condition more in-depth and sharing my experience as someone with synesthesia.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Honors Thesis

Primary Advisor

Misty Thomas-Trout

Primary Advisor's Department

Art and Design


Stander Symposium project, College of Arts and Sciences

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Quality Education

The Multi-Sensory Design of a Synesthete’s Everyday Experience