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Making a Fragrance Connection Through Color

By: Michelle Harper and Lori Miller Burns
Posted: February 1, 2012, from the January 2012 issue of GCI Magazine.

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From a planning perspective, these three components need to work together. Study each component and bring relevant information together in one place to create a comprehensive guide for your team, as well as your fragrance developer.

First, concept. What is the product, and what does it offer, functionally and emotionally? Who is the target consumer? How do you define her attitudes, beliefs and behaviors?

Next, move to color. What is the brand’s color identity? What will be the predominant colors of the product, packaging and promotional materials?

Finally, consider fragrance. What fragrance notes are indicated by the product category? How is the product used? How will this particular version of the product be positioned? What fragrance notes are evoked by the selected color? How should all these ideas come together?

Interestingly, perfumers often see color the same way consumers do and consistently use color as a stimulus for creative thinking. As trained professionals, perfumers organize fragrance palettes using colors to reflect the major scent families: citrus (yellow), florals (pinks, whites, and mauves), woods (greens), chypre (browns), orientals (reds and oranges) and so on. Additionally, new subfamilies such as ozones and watery influences are typically blue. Among the best perfumers, there is no learning curve for color.