Here’s your chance to see how people with synesthesia perceive letters and numbers

Images: Bernadette Sheridan

For as long as I can remember, I’ve seen letters and numbers as colors. It’s a form of synesthesia called grapheme-color synesthesia, and for me, this translating from symbols to colors happens most often with names.

When I meet new people, I forget their name immediately. Don’t get me wrong, I hear the name, but my mind is distracted. In my head, I am counting the number of letters in the name, and visualizing the colors of each letter.

Your name may be Emily, but to me, you’re a bright, sunny swath of five letters with an “E” and an…


Days and months are tinged with color when you have this kind of Synesthesia

This synesthesia calendar displays the months and digits as colors rather than words and numbers.

I have always loved calendars.

When I was a child, I couldn’t wait to get to sixth grade. I knew that every month, the teacher, Mrs. Pollack, would assign homework to draw a calendar that combined math problems with art. So every month, I would get to draw a calendar and decorate it with colors and pictures to match the month.

For some, this meant themed calendars around the holidays, such as Christmas or Valentine’s Day. And sure, I made those kinds of calendars. But in my mind, there was also an extra element I needed to consider. …


Data from 2.4M unique visitors reveals the top names, places and takeaways from the Synesthesia.Me project

Which names were most popular in each country?

Early last year, I launched the Synesthesia.Me site and wrote about it in my first Medium post, “What Color is Your Name? A New Synesthesia Tool Will Show You.” I had no idea it would ignite such an interest in Synesthesia and drive so much traffic to the tool that lets you see how your name looks to someone with synesthesia.

I have grapheme-color synesthesia, which means my brain associates letters and numbers with very specific colors. In my case, it manifests most with names. For example, when I meet someone, I focus on their name differently.

In my mind…


Bringing my Nana’s 1940s tale to life with little drawings

Illustrations by Bernadette Sheridan

Myrtle, my nana, raised seven daughters on Cape Cod in the 1940s. With my grandfather she ran the Hotel Englewood, a fixture on the south Cape through the 1960s. She loved books and recorded stories on cassette recorders from her “command station” overlooking Lewis Bay. At some point, she wrote this poem. It has been passed down to daughters and grandkids for more than 60 years.


Could lack of an inner voice mean there’s more room for thinking?

Photo by Paul Berthelon Bravo on Unsplash

Earlier this year, Ryan Langdon published this article about discovering that not everyone has an internal monologue. It’s a great read with quotes from people who were just as shocked as I was to find out that there is such a thing as an internal monologue.

My sister had seen the article and brought it up. She kept giggling at my questions.

Me: “You mean you hear your own voice in your head? Like, talking to you? All the time?”

“Yes,” she said. “Why, what do you do? How do you tell yourself what you’re going to do that day…


Because your letter B is not the same color as mine.

If you also “see” letters or numbers as colors, then you have what’s called grapheme-color synesthesia.

I recently launched a project called “What Color is Your Name?” at Synesthesia.me. It features an interactive tool that shows how your name looks to me, someone with a particular kind of Synesthesia, and I wrote about it in this Medium post.


How my Synesthesia project revealed that I may be judging you by your name after all

One of the most common questions I get as someone with Grapheme-color Synesthesia is “What color is my name?” Now that I have a way of showing people what their name looks like, the very next question is often “Does my name match my personality?”

Up until very recently, I would have immediately said no. I’m certain nobody wants to be judged by their name, but when I started really looking, I realized I’ve been making assumptions about you based on your name for a very long time.

What are you basing this on?

I’ve noticed definite patterns since starting this Synesthesia project. The color of…


From Brooklyn to Zoey, here are 20 gorgeous names to consider.

Good Housekeeping recently released the top 100 baby girl names and trends to watch for in 2020. Coincidentally, I just released a Synesthesia project that answers the question, “What color is your name?”

Put them together and you get a list of the most beautiful baby names for girls, according to the Synesthesia.Me project. I chose the top 20, but you can see all 100 here.

Here is the simplest way i know to describe synesthesia: People with synesthesia have two senses happening at the same time. People with grapheme-color synesthesia see letters and also “see” colors associated with those…


From Colton to Theodore, here are 20 rich, bold names to consider for your little boy.

Good Housekeeping recently released the most popular 100 baby boy names and trends to watch for in 2020. Coincidentally, I just released a Synesthesia project that answers the question, “What color is your name?”

Put them together and you get a list of the most handsome baby names for boys, according to the Synesthesia.Me project. I chose the top 20, but you can see all 100 here.

Here is the simplest way i know to describe synesthesia: People with synesthesia have two senses happening at the same time. People with grapheme-color synesthesia associate (or “see”) letters and numbers with specific…


Twenty years ago at a New York City tabloid, there was no way to explain that words have colors.

When I started my career back in the ’90s, my job — designing pages for newspapers — involved creating interesting arrangements of pictures and words that would hook readers.

At the New York Daily News, I worked on the News desk with a team of 12 men responsible for designing the pages in the front of the paper, including page one. We produced hard news, and it was a genuinely exciting time to be working at a New York City tabloid.

My job was to get more people to read news stories. That meant making things look better, more digestible…

Bernadette Sheridan

Artist, designer and creator of the Synesthesia.Me project. What color is your name?

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