Design, Education

How I See Numbers

I wrote in a previous post, that I found out I have synaethesia. In other words, I associate letters and numbers with color. Others can associate sounds, smells, personalities, or more with letters and numbers but I have a giant Color Run every time I speak (and see the words running in my head) and tie dye explosion every time I look at a calendar.

For me, numbers strongly correlate to a color whereas letters depend on the word or person (like a name). I thought I’d create a colorful number line to showcase what I see when I think of numbers. Numbers don’t have any special font the way words do to me but they are always a specific color. Even past 9, the single-digit colors will always make up the double, triple, etc. numbers. However, A will never be the same color to me. I’ll create a word illustration with some friends’ and families’ names and everyday words.

I’m not sure where these number colors come from because when I talk with other people with synaesthesia, they all have had different color associations. Maybe the silver 1 represents a shiny #1? The purple 8 represents the purple book cover of “It’s Great To Be 8!” that I used to read a lot when I was a kid? Even as colorful as this is, I still don’t have a favorite number. Blue is my favorite color but wouldn’t say I am a big fan of 3 over the other numbers.

Comment below if you see numbers/letters like this!

Numbers

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Design

Seeing Through The Eyes Of Someone With Synesthesia

Don’t worry – I don’t have some horrible disease. In fact, I only recently found out that I see the world in a different way from others just two years ago. I had a conversation with my younger brother when he first started Calculus.

ME: “Isn’t Calculus hard? I kept staring off into space because everything was just too colorful!”

BROTHER: “Um… what are you talking about?”

ME: “You know … since Calculus is more conceptual, when the teacher asked to think about how the equation looks on the graph, the colorful numbers and letters would get distracting.”

BROTHER: “Evelina… what are you on?”

ME: “I’M NOT ON ANYTHING! Isn’t 5 pink and 8 purple and 2 yellow in your mind?”

BROTHER: “MOM! EVELINA IS SCARING ME!”

I found out that day that most people don’t see the world as some giant Color Run. I didn’t even know of the word “synesthesia” before but I immediately Googled “I see numbers and letters as colors” and there was a ton of writing about it. Synesthesia is a condition in which objects such as letters, shapes, numbers or people’s names are connected with a sensory perception such as smell, color, or flavor.

Originally, I thought everyone saw numbers and letters in color because everyone typically grows up in a color-coordinated elementary school education. I mean, learning the multiplication tables was done entirely in color! I have no idea why I see six as green or seven as red and if that means anything. Synesthesia doesn’t help me in math – I studied public relations to stay away from math. Synesthesia does help me, though, with memorizing. I have all of my close friends’ and family members’ phone numbers memorized. I scored highly in remembering dates for AP United States History. I didn’t write down the time and date of a haircut appointment and remembered it exactly months later.

People’s names also have specific fonts and colors to me. The longer I know someone, the more vivid their name design. When I first meet someone, they have a pretty basic design, but as I get to know them, more colors and fancy fonts start appearing.

I’ve only met one other person with synesthesia and she saw numbers and letters with different colors. I would love to meet someone who associates them with a sound, smell, or flavor. Another one of my friends even assigns a gender to the numbers!

Hopefully, there will be more writing on synesthesia in the future but for now I don’t mind envisioning my world in color!