‘Hearing Colours’

Book Design

Pentagram’s latest annual greeting is inspired by the phenomenon of synesthesia. Do you hear in colour?

Colour and music are intrinsically related. Both have frequencies and wavelengths, and some of us think of colours when listening to music. This is a form of synesthesia, a perceptual phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second pathway, such as “hearing colours.” 

This phenomenon inspired Pentagram’s latest annual greeting. The booklets usually feature a game or activity, and in this edition we invite readers to hear in colour. While synesthesia is uncommon, it’s prevalent in artists, writers and musicians––about 25 percent of people in these professions have the condition. Unsurprisingly many bands and musicians have colours in their names. Thirty of them are featured in the booklet. Can you name the missing colours?

Answers are listed in the back, along with song suggestions for the featured artists. Just for fun, we’ve curated a Spotify playlist of the bands. Listen here.

To receive your own copy of the booklet, drop us a note at

Design & Architecture
Book Design
Justus Oehler
Yuri Suzuki, animation composer
Naomi Abel
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