How to Find More Images for the Ben System

For many people, one serious obstacle to learning the Ben System is finding images to fit all 2,704 possible combinations. Today I came up with a way to fill in my missing images.

2,704 Images

In the Ben System, each pair of cards is combined into an image.

Here is an example pair of cards:

Card Pair for the Ben System

The first consonant is made by combining the two suits. Club-spades is an “n” sound.


Next, the first card value becomes a vowel (5 = “ai”), and the final card value becomes a consonant (Ace = “t”). My phonetic key is here [PDF].

So 5 of clubs and Ace of hearts is “NAIT” or “knight”. Not all combinations are that easy though.

Here are some card pairs that are more difficult:

  • J♥ A♣ = VOWT
  • J♥ 2♣ = VOWN
  • J♥ 3♣ = VOWM
  • J♥ 4♣ = VOWR or VOWTH

I still have hundreds of images like this to fill in.

Changing the Meaning of the First Two Sounds

The idea that I had today is to make the first consonant and vowel represent a class or category of things, and then derive images based on that class and the final consonant.


Card pair

The first consonant and vowel are made up of the suit pair plus the first card value:

Card symbols

In the case above, it would be “NAI” (rhymes with “why”). If I make a link from “NAI” to “nightingale” and then from “nightingale” to “bird”, I now have a way to derive more images. Anything that begins with “NAI” can be a bird image derived from the final consonant:

  • NAI-T becomes: [bird] + t = turkey
  • NAI-N becomes: [bird] + n = nightjar
  • NAI-M becomes: [bird] + m = mallard duck
  • NAI-R becomes: [bird] + r = roseate spoonbill
  • NAI-L becomes: [bird] + l = lark

Those aren’t my actual images, but just illustrate the idea.

Turkey photo


Another example: the J♥ *♣ pattern makes the sound “VOW” (rhymes with “cow”). So I can go to Google and try to find an association for “vow”. Wikipedia and list:

  • derived from Latin votum
  • marriage vow
  • vow with god(s)
  • vow of secrecy

The simplest one for me is “marriage vows”. Now the J♥ *♣ pattern can link my brain to images having something to do with marriage.

More Ideas

I wonder if visual dictionaries would be useful for finding visual images that are organized by category.

I haven’t put this idea into action yet, but I’m off to do that now. I think that finishing my system will be much easier now. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before, because it seems obvious now.

World Mythology and Legend

One of my sources for mnemonic images

Ben System Resources

See also: