Saturday, 28 February 2009

Christian Faur

Christian Faur has made his own synaesthetic alphabet.
He has created a colour alphabet where each letter corresponds with a specific tonal shade.
Here is his system
and here is a book made using his alphabet

He also makes lot's of colour filled work such as this jacket...

and these pixel pictures made from arranging coloured crayons into an image.

This is what he says on his website...

Semiotcs of Color

Colors and how they can express coded information is an area often focused on in field of design, art, physiology and philosophy. Easily identified iconography in conjunction with color can quickly inform us about potential dangers (warning=yellow, danger=red), it can guide us on what social expectations are, and easily identify product branding (Mc Donald's, Coke, etc...).

The most common colors have a standard social precept in which specific colors might stand for a general mood or idea. These meaning do not often transcend the boundary of the society that has constructed the meaning. An example is the color black, which often stands for death in western society while it’s opposite, white, is used to symbolize death in the eastern cultures.

Their have been systems put in place in the past that use colors to signify abstract meaning. These systems range from those used in coat of arms, flags, and military uniforms to the color and patterned Setts of Skottish kilts used to identify clans or groups.

The Inca's are believed to have used a system of colored strings and knots as a system of writing and recording data which was probably one of the first uses of mapping color directly to language. (

In modern times, electronic engineers are using color mapping system developed for identifying the resistance of resistors (10 colors that represent the individual numbers from 0-9) as well as color coding for wires (

Systematic Mapping of Color to the Alphabet

My use of colors in painting and art has also increased over the last five years and I have become aware of how difficultly it is to find a universal meaning of color that can transcends the cultural boundaries in a similar way that the symbols used in written language and mathematics have become universal. In a failed quest to find universal color meaning, I hit upon an idea of just mapping colors to a pre existing system that can hold meaning, the alphabet.

This type of mapping has been done in many ways in the past, with musical composers mapping colors to sound and harmony, computer artists mapping whole banks of words to millions of hues so that visual grouping can take place quickly. All these ideas, while forming an interesting system, did not meet my needs as a painter, as they could not be rendered in a direct way on canvas.

Taking a cue from Phoenicians, what I have done is to map a subset 26 distinct colors to a standardized set of signs (English alphabet or graphemes) that will allow me to construct meaning out of color directly and unambiguously using the English system of language that I am already familiar with.

These 26 colors are to be housed in a set of handmade glyphs (fonts) that allow a reader to more clearly navigate (i.e. read) through the color data (although the use of these glyphs are irrelevant as long as the colors are distinct, standardized and the reader is given a direction for reading). The addition of unique set of “punctuation symbols” developed in the font, allow the more accurate mapping of meaning from a standard “glyph” based set of symbols into the color.

The rules associated with reading English text do not necessarily apply when reading color text because of the symmetry of the glyphs. This difference has lead to different way of representing texts. For example, it is assumed that the reading be done from left to right but as the color swatches have no orientation, readers need only be given the direction in which to begin reading.

He also then goes into details of how the 26 colours were chosen and the creation of symbols and glyphs. There is plenty of exciting work on his site to get your teeth into.

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