Creative Synesthesia – Language of Flowers by Elma Shen


As I remember in my childhood, I can normally see an artwork and feel with synesthesia by devoting myself into the art, intoxicated at the scene that the artist created. Maybe that’s why I am in love with art, and plan art as my future career path.

Other than Mucha’s other artwork, Language of Flower have no written font, but he described the femininity perfectly by using gentle and soft vine curves instead of straight line, which can also echo the woman in the picture. I noticed that one of Mucha’s distinguishing feature is he outline everything, which makes his art looks like painting but illustration at the same time. According to the object he paints, outlines’ thickness is different as well. It is outstanding but not distracted, furthermore, this consistency makes harmonious, and become one of his signature style. The vine curves surrounding the woman, makes the focus point stop at the image of the center. The woman’s eyes direction look like she sees through the vines and edges, is watching the audience.

In my opinion, the painting presents three layers, the vines, women and the background that shows the spaciousness. I believe the background curves represent the air, which I can smell the nature in it. Like walking in the forest, having a green shower. The atmosphere full with phytoncidere, mix with fragrance of lily, fresh and calm. Every part of this artwork is slowly moved by the wind. The music that nature creates is leaves robbing, like plants are murmuring above my head. Maybe the woman listens to them attentively. Imagine the sun slightly shows up between treetop, the sunshine sprinkle on my skin. If I can live in the painting one day, it must a beautiful day.

Alphonese Mucha may not unfamiliar to most of the people. He is one of the most representative figures for Art Mouveau, mainly uses exaggerate organic shapes with high unity figures, decorative pattern, hand written font, and style. His unique style at that movement, also extending the le style Mucha, a synonym for Art Nouveau. His most popular works is doing Bernhardt’s business, including design stage, costume, poster, clothing and jewelry.

Art Nouveau was popular in late 19th and early 20th Century, has a huge impact in American and Europe that turn classicism to modernism. It started from graphic design and illustration, but also covered architecture, furniture, cloth design. The movement advocates the uses of highly procedural natural elements, features for female character, hair, flower or vine plants, the style with arabesques, was influenced by Japanese art, Ukiyo-e, use the techniques to outline the figure. Moreover, it was a reactionary of two different trends in the nineteenth century to the society. First, during the time that industrialization, technology was immature, which did not bring benefits, therefore, people are fearful of it. Second is the reaction of rebellion the Victorian style. The Victorian style only focuses on the luxury, complicated decoration to indicate hierarchy.

Other artwork that also represents the movement have:


Metro Entrance by Hector Guimard


1899Hotel Tassel by Victor Horta

What would a graphic design sound like? Or smell like? Or taste like? Or feel like? Or move like?

Synesthesia is the condition where one physical sensation evokes another; it is often described as hearing color or tasting shapes. Choose a historical graphic design that is representative of a style or movement (such as Art Nouveau, Swiss style, psychedelic, etc.) and translate its visual characteristics and principles into another sense (sound, movement, taste, smell, or touch). Include a paragraph explaining how the visual qualities of the style or movement are expressed in another sense.

Here’s something to inspire you (click on the link):

Fortunato Depero, Simultaineita' Giroplastiche, 1914
Fortunato Depero, Simultaineita’ Giroplastiche, 1914

How has historical graphic design influenced later design?

First, show a typical example of an influential historical design or style. Then, show an example that is inspired by the first example (it can even be your own work). Include an explanation of how and why the later design is inspired by the earlier design.

Here’s an example (visuals only) to inspire you:

Hans Neuburg, Konstruktive Grafik poster, 1958
Hans Neuburg, Konstruktive Grafik poster, 1958
Mike Joyce (Swissted), Killing Joke poster, 1982
Mike Joyce (Swissted), Killing Joke poster, 1982

Which historical designer would you most like to interview?

“Interview” a graphic designer from the past about one of their projects, getting the facts about the commission, noting the project’s restrictions and requirements, as well as the designer’s intentions, viewpoint, and thoughts on their product. The interview should be approximately 750 words (in Q & A format) and include relevant images.

Here’s an inspiration:

Miguel Covarrubias, "Impossible Interview: Stalin Versus Schiaparelli," June, 1936
Miguel Covarrubias, “Impossible Interview: Stalin Versus Schiaparelli,” June, 1936

Can you summarize a historical period in a six-word design?

Choose an era (such as the Victorian period, WWII, the 1960s, etc.) and summarize it in six meaningful words whose design accurately evokes the era.

Here’s your inspiration:

Arthur C. Clarke told this anecdote about his friend, the famous short-story author Ernest Hemingway.  Hemingway was bet $10 that he could not write a story in only six words. This is what Hemingway wrote: