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  • 04.09.14

“Sonic Poster” Lets You See, Hear, And Feel Flavor

Print posters get a digital makeover: Feel Flavor explores synesthesia via touch-sensitive inks linked to popular spices.

If you could hear the taste of your fennel sausage, what would it sound like? Do you wonder what the flavor of a cumin-spiced falafel looks like? The silent and invisible experience of flavor certainly doesn’t sound like chewing, and it doesn’t look like food itself. So how do you artistically and musically dramatize taste?

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Conceptual illustrator Billie Jean rose to this synesthetic challenge with “Feel Flavor,” a “sonic poster” that he designed with Grey London for spice brand Schwartz’s Sound of Taste campaign.

Sixteen striking plumes of color unfurl anemone-like against a black background, each representing a different herb or spice, and each paired with a musical chord. Cumin becomes E flat major, chile is A flat major, and fennel translates to F minor. The colors are printed in touch-sensitive inks, which turn the surface of the poster into a musical instrument when it’s connected to a smartphone app via Bluetooth. When you stroke the poster’s spicy plumes, your phone sings a symphony of flavorful piano chords.

Developed by Novalia and still in prototype, the conductive ink, in its way, turns the ancient analog medium of paper digital. “We’ve kind of hacked paper,” ink technologist Maria Menicou says in the video. “We’re trying to find a way of getting the interactivity back into print, so it works hand in hand with the digital world.”


For the first iteration of their Sound of Taste campaign, Schwartz made this mesmerizing video of exploding spice bags. It’s almost as awesome to watch as food is awesome to eat.

About the author

Carey Dunne is a Brooklyn-based writer covering art and design. Follow her on Twitter.

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