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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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It’s about what is natural and logical. Cues from nature are the most obvious—red for apples; herbal scents associated with green; and citrus in the form of lime, orange, tangerine and lemon. Also, many colors name both a color and an object: lilac and lavender are both colors and flowers, and both have a distinctive scent. Using mauves, purples and lilacs in a brand’s color profile demands the use of scents such as lilac and orris to fulfill consumer expectations.

Remember, too, the intensity of a fragrance correlates with the intensity of the colors. Pastels ask for lighter, softer, more esoteric fragrances. Subtle spa aromas require muted shades that are calming and tranquil, and a vibrant yellow is likely about a fresh, effervescent lemon or succulent pineapple scent.

It’s also important to think about the emotional cues of color, especially when there’s love, caring or aspiration in the product positioning. For example, what colors depict concepts such as “caress,” “embrace” or “kiss”? Building color dimensions into signature fragrances can help define a whole brand and its variants.

Making Color and Fragrance Happen

Because consumers expect color and fragrance to work together—and because color is already part of perfumery—product development teams should use the color-fragrance synergy to ignite a brand and its products.

Remember that everything works in harmony. Consumers evaluate the whole package, not just individual components. A clearly defined product concept with consistent design and fragrance themes gives consumers more to connect with and more to remember.