Boliang Chen


The Shape of Poetry is a thesis which explores the relationships of synesthesia, typography and poetry.

Synesthesia is a neurologically-based condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. This phenomenon is common in poetry as a rhetorical device. In graphic design, we uses typography and other visual elements to make cross-sensory metaphors as well. The similarity among these three provides a new field of research possibilities.

The goal of the thesis is to visualize poetry by exploring typographic variations and implementing synesthesia findings. The final result is a campaign to promote William Shakespeare’s sonnets, in both print and digital applications.

Overall the findings of this thesis aim at giving designers another angle when designing for multi-media platforms, and inspire those who have the similar interests in the relationship of sensory perception and design.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Synesthesis and the arts; Synesthesia in literature; Graphic design (Typography); Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. Sonnets. Selections--Pictorial works

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Graphic Design (MFA)

Department, Program, or Center

School of Design (CIAS)


Nancy Ciolek

Advisor/Committee Member

Bruce Ian Meader

Advisor/Committee Member

Chris Jackson


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at NX180.S96 C44 2015


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes