“My ears hear colors and my eyes see sounds.”
It’s January of 2024 and we reflect on the past 12 months of a daily practice. A challenge that took us out of solving problems for others, and brought us into the present moment. Our intentions in beginning this practice were of pure creativity and playfulness. As designers, most of our lives are experienced through the visual realm, so this study was a personal challenge to expand into our other senses that fill us with inspiration and guide our intuition.
We kicked things off on January 1, 2023 embarking on a study to explore sound and color and how our senses overlapped across the two — a phenomenon called synesthesia. Synesthesia is when your brain sends sensory information through multiple senses, causing you to experience more than one sense at the same time.
We began each month with a musical theme and everyday a new song would be selected. Listening on repeat, a color palette would be created to match the song’s energy. At the end of the month, we would compile the tracks into a playlist and share it with our audience. Our favorite palette of the month was selected as the playlist cover art.
This process didn’t end exactly how it started, but that’s the point; allowing ourselves to evolve. Practicing a daily creative act and restarting the cycle every month fostered the need for reflection of the past and planning of the future. By repeating this process over and over again, we could begin to truly refine it.
For us, it was about making a genuine first attempt — giving it a go. Only then, could we truly reflect on what went well, allowing us to tinker and tweak things for the next attempt.
Often when we listen, it’s only to the first layer (usually, the loudest) but there is an entire composition taking place just beneath the surface. This practice of listening for subtleties cultivated a greater awareness of sound in our daily lives. Percussion, acoustics, pitch, and other qualities all played into our color interpretations of each track.
When we close our eyes to listen, what do we see? Do the colors dance in unison or do they contrast one another? Is the energy mellow and soft or vibrant and saturated? These are some of the questions that we played with as we compiled palettes. In the 10 or so minutes that each one took to create, every minute was spent noticing. And we learned that there is an art to noticing.
Below you can see a few of our favorite palettes throughout the year.
For the full experience, head on over to our Spotify and hit play on one of the playlists before you finish scrolling.