Synesthesia Blog

Graphic Design Hist-20th Century 002

Elisabetta Costa

Blog: Synesthesia

The experience of ones sense can trigger the perception of other senses. This condition of a physical sensation evoking another is known as Synesthesia. I believe that this experience can be triggered in various works during the Art Nouveau Movement. Art Nouveau arose in the later part of the nineteenth century. This period interests me because it is a reaction to the academic and strict art of the early 19th century. After the Industrial Revolution, designers and artists believed that Europe was lacking its beauty. Therefore, in unifying art and design together creative’s attempted to celebrate the vibrant urban life with fresh visuals and perspectives. Natural forms and structures, as seen in Cheret’s work, inspired many artists of this period.

In 1893, Jules Cheret created the most influential poster of the century, La Loie Fuller. This poster advertised the Paris debut of the American dancer at the Folies-Bergère. I believe Cheret’s lively style matched the dancers performance perfectly as it was described. Inspired by the Japanese Art and Rococo style, Cheret captures the dancer’s natural movement, spinning on stage as her silk garments are shimmering in different colours. I especially admire how Cheret uses the attributes of the new art of graphic design in combining lettering with the image. When I look at this poster I immediately connected the composition with musical instruments. This connection could be made due to the figure’s movement.

The figures colourful clothing leads the eye to visit every corner of the composition. This fun experience paired with the sophisticated look on the figures face allows me to think of the first 2 minutes of Queen’s, Bohemian Rhapsody. Cheret depicts an individual who is caught in the moment and in viewing this I have the urge to get up and dance myself. The slow and fast pace of Bohemian Rhapsody suits the ambience of this composition. The black background and classic text matches the slow part of the song, whereas the rainbow colours and movement match the upbeat tunes. Cheret’s movement poster, La Loie Fuller, can resemble synesthesia with its characteristics and features



“Art Nouveau.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 16 Mar. 2018,

Eskilson, Stephen J. Graphic Design: a New History. Yale University Press, 2012.

“Synesthesia.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers,