Sensory typography: How does your letter smell?

Graphic designer Sarah Hyndman thinks that the shape of a letter can impact the way stuff tastes, smells, and sounds. To her, typefaces are multi-sensory experiences that affect the way we interact with the world around us.

From our point of view the question of the multisensory qualities of typography is part of the overall question of how scents, smells and other olfactory experiences can be visualized. In this respect we use the presence of Scent Culture Institute on Instagram to collect and share examples that we discover as well as receive from friends.

Hyndman’s approach has been covered widely by international media (e.g. Wired). Sarah Hyndman’s talk at TEDxBedford even openly appeals to the sense of smell: “Wake up and smell the font“.

 

However, the talk does not really meet the high expectations the title of the talk builds up. Yet, is is certainly an eyeopener drawing attention to the multi-sensory qualities a certain type can evoke.

Hyndman’s publications are a certainly a starting point for digging deeper into the multisensory qualities of typography:

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  • Hyndman, S. (2015). The type taster: how fonts influence you.
  • Hyndman, S. (2016). Why fonts matter. Berkeley, CA: Gingko Press.
  • Hyndman, S. (2017). How to draw type and influence people: An activity book. London: Laurence King Publishing Ltd.

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