In Living Color: Lesson and Project

“We live in a rainbow of chaos” – artist Paul Cezanne

One of the foremost elements coming in through our sense of sight is COLOR.


TWITTER warm up: using the hashtag #tokkailua tweet about your favorite colors and why, the colors that are the most soothing to you, the colors you work best in , the colors you like to wear, the colors that irritate you, and the colors that spark certain emotions or memories.

What IS Color?

The Effect of Color

How do we explain the varying ways people see colors and use language to describe them? What is the history of human color vision? Why do we have such different reactions to colors than animals? How does culture affect our perception of color and its meanings?

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LOTTO LAB: Public Color Experiements (great questions!)

and more color illusions

The next video is about perspectives. How can graphic designers, etc. get inside the eyes of someone who is colorblind, in order to avoid creating confusing products. To find out more about how people with “color deficiencies” see the world, CLICK HERE

EXPLANATION OF “COLOR-BLINDNESS” and the different types

What is YOUR favorite color? Find out what people say HERE: 

Explaining Color to a Blind Person

Why does COLOR MATTER? This site explores color symbolism, culture and culture, color and gender, color theory, color history, color and science, color marketing, and colro fun!

Color in Motion (Interactive)

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Start by taking the GLOBAL COLOR SURVEY and checking out the results.




CRAYOLA COLORS – Why was “Flesh” renamed “Peach” and what was the previously controversial name of “Chestnut”? What color is “Fuzzy Wuzzy”, exactly? Who knew they made “Manatee” and “Beaver”? This Wiki page lists all the colors and dates and explains when / why they were renamed.


“WHAT WE USED TO DO FOR COLOR” – find out about the toxic history of colors

Below is a fascinating Animated Infographic highlighting the effect of colors in advertising (starts about 2:15…or right at 2:50) – also about perception/emotion and marketing:

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF COLOR IN DESIGN (more pics and examples)

Color Symbolism in ADVERTISING

Now Introducing 2012 COLORS OF THE YEAR: vote now!

ANIMATED VIDEO: Why Pink should be called “MINUS GREEN”

Cool things with color:


Check out this Cathedral Art Installation in Belgium

Check out this new all-color look at the Amazonian Rainforest:



#Twitter Synesthesia Poetry Warm up:

Respond to the following questions by posting your answers to Twitter using the hashtag #toksyn . Afterwards, you will learn how to use Storify to create a found poem using everyone’s tweets. This should get you thinking about the interplay between language and sense perception as WOKS, as well as the relationships among the senses. ***You will have a limited time period to answer, so go with what pops into your head, but keep it clean, please. Don’t forget you have only 140 char, minus #toksyn, so use abbreviations if necessary.

After you are finished composing the poem, CLICK HERE to post your link to your Storify

Q1: Red is the taste of ______________

Q2: The sound of _________(name a color) is like____________

Q3: Most delicious is ______(name a color) because__________

Q4: (color) reminds me________

Q5: (insert a photo, video, image)

Q6: I smell (name a color) when_________

Q7: The scent of (name a color) is like_________

Q8: I touch  (name a color) when________

Color and Philosophy : how do we know our perceptions are reliable?


Synesthesia is from the Greek “Syn“, meaning “together” and “aisthesis“, meaning “to perceive“. It’s a mingling of the senses and commonly defined as:

1. The production of a sense impression relating to one sense or part of the body by stimulation of another sense or part of the body

2. The poetic description of a sense impression in terms of another sense, as in “loud perfume”

Synesthesia Explained by Dr. Ramachandran (famed neuroscientist and TED speaker…includes video!) VIDEO HERE (starts at 17:48)

***it is 8 times more common among creative people!

or…the Vlog Brothers



Which shape is KIKI and which is BOUBA? READ MORE HERE

Wolfgang Köhler studied that the large proportion of people have the same answer. why? Is there a relation here to that of abstract imagery to sounds? do people expect a certain shape to a sound.  Is this to do with synaesthesia or merely contextual association?

(Köhler’s results deemed 94% of people thought Kiki was on the left.)

GAME: COLOR OF MY SOUND – choose a color for the sound given and vote…we’ll do this in class and share

Related Web Resources:

The Synesthetic Experience (from M.I.T.)

Take the Synnie Test! (10 min)

What color is Monday? VIDEO: Funny British show on Synesthesia

VIDEO: 60 Minutes on Synesthesia (really 2 min)

Kid’s Neuroscience Site (with Syn experiment)

Hypertextopia’s “The Synesthete”, a tool to test what color you’d make the alphabet

The Synesthesia Battery (test)

“Synesthesia, Migraines, and Creativity” article

Visual Music – a collection of samples of music and the visual arts

Collection of sites on Synesthesia

VIDEO: short art film called “Synesthesia”

Belgian Synthesthesia Association’s collection of links

Seeing Color – and Hearing and Smelling It (how Graphic Designers use Synesthesia)

Rainbow Coalition of the Brain – WIRED article

Literature involving Synesthesia

Achieving Synesthesia Through Technology

Savant Daniel Tamnet has linguistic, numerical, and visual synesthesia…he explains it in his TEDtalk “Different Ways of Knowing”:

and here on ABC’s 20/20

The Future


This will be a creative project attempting to integrate one of your DP COURSES with our studies of COLOR and/or SYNESTHESIA (as a Perceptual Way of Knowing in TOK). It will alos help prep you for the Presentation Assessment task, as you will be making connections to the WOK and to other AOK.

1. Review your DP courses (such as Psychology, Art, Music, Biology, Chemistry, Language A and the like)…which one do you think could tie in best to our explorations of color and/or synesthesia?

2. Propose a project. Use this PROPOSAL DOCUMENT , which includes very specific questions. You are encouraged to do something that might prove useful for the other class. If you are working with another teacher to earn credit for that class, please follow their guidelines.

3. After getting approval, proceed with your project and be ready to share in class and post on your blog. Depending on the project, you might need to construct a slideshow of some sort.

***these should be fun but somewhat challenging and relevant, as well as cross-disciplinary.


My Diigo List: collection from you:


Ideas: (just to get you started, but this list is by no means exhaustive)

* Music students: compose a piece of music based on a color, or an artwork, or a scent; OR record yourself singing a mash-up of various songs related to color (such as “blue”); research and present how certain composers have used their synesthesia in their work.

* Drama students: Write a scene or short script based on a color, or even through the eyes of someone with Synesthesia- (perform live or film); Use color symbolism in a dramatisation or personify the colors with their symbolism attached to action; research and present how color symbolism has been used in famous films, or how synesthesia has been used (such as in Disney’s Fantasia)

* Psychology Students: research and present how certain psychedelic drugs produce synesthesia, and their effects; create a documentary of mash-ups from various resources to explain the phenomenon of synesthesia; research the psychology of colors and color symbolism and make a film, infographic, or other sort of presentation – or design an experiment that involves testing subjects’ reactions to colors.

Bio Students: research varying levels of color perception in the animal kingdom and create a documentary film or other sort of presentation; furhter investigate the neuroscience behind synesthesia and create a presentation rich with visuals; do a lab related to color and demonstrate the results

Art Students: create a photo book based on colors or a photo shoot related to color symbolism; listen to various music and create art while doing so …see what you get; using the psychology of color infographic or color symbolism site, create graphic design elemments or an interior design or advertising portfolio.

* History Students: Research the historical acquisition AND use of color and color symbolism… explore similarities and differences in cultures, then create a digital timeline using capzles or timeglider. Research how color has played a part in nation-building, or how it is symbolic in times of war (good time to investigate the various “Color Revolutions”), then create a documentary film, Prezi, or Vuvox. Take a series of events in History and get Synesthetic- that is, assign them colors (for a reason) and create an infographic.

Language A Students: Explore the fascinating world of naming colors and present your research in an equally fascinating way; curate poems or other literature related to specific color, or analyze how color is used as symbolism in literature ( a multimedia artpiece using words and images would be nice with this).

Examples from Class of 2013:

– Prezi comparing Japanese and American color symbolism

– Prezi: What ways is color used in Literature (VIEW)

– Original poetry & prose based on color symbolism – presented via Vuvox (VIEW)

– Vlog: Color Symbolism in Theatre (VIEW)

– REmix film: Synesthesia and Emotions (VIEW)

– Google slide show comparing human perception of colors with other animals’ perceptions

– Original music composition related to color / imagery (VIEW)

-Prezi analyzing color and emotion OR Video (VIEW)

– Prezi analyzing the relationship between drugs and synesthesia

– Painting with Sound (art and Vuvox) (VIEW)

– Prezi on the origins of color names

– Social Psych experiment and Prezi about music videos and color (VIEW)

– Colors and Video Game characters (perceptions) – presented in video

– Slide show: Color in Packaging and Marketing

– Chromoacoustics (sound and color)

– Chemistry experiment (VIEW)

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