When Design Week catches up with Sarah Hyndman, she’s just coming to the end of a week’s stint at this year’s Adobe Max in LA. There, she has designed a multisensory installation in which she asks participants to associate the smell, sound, taste and feel of five different typefaces.
Can a typeface alter the taste of a jellybean?
Mass jellybean experiment
Science Museum Lates Cravings exhibition
We ran a mass jellybean experiment at the Science Museum Lates as part of the Cravings exhibition with the Crossmodal Research Laboratory. We set up two stations on different floors, each manned by three people to explain, answer questions and to replenishing the jellybeans. For the experiment participants ate a jellybean whilst looking at a card with the words ‘eat me’ written in one of six typefaces, they rated how sweet and sour the jellybean tasted. They then repeated this, looking at a second typeface, and rated how it tasted. From previous Type Tasting research it has been shown that the perception of sweet and sour may be altered, depending on properties of the typeface being looked at such as angularity or roundedness.
Stuart explains “It was an awesome experience and my overriding memory will be of the amount of people who said something along the lines of ‘oh my god, that’s weird/scary/freaky’ when I was on the second station.” He found that, even when people had worked out that they tasted the same they would say “I know they are the same, but they taste… different”. He also noted that those who guessed the concept and looked at the more angular typeface for the second jellybean, guessing that it should be more sour “actually experienced a heightened reaction (one person spat out the jellybean!)”
“We had overwhelmingly positive feedback from our visitors.” Mary Cavanagh, Science Museum