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Clear Design Inspiration

By: Jeff Falk
Posted: September 5, 2007, from the September 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Strategies: Fragrance Package Design

GCI magazine spoke with Denis Boudard, designer and president, QSLD; Davide Nicosia, principal and creative director, NiCE Ltd.; and Eric Lee, senior design manager, Avon, about the challenges they face and what they see as key design elements for today’s successful fragrance packaging.

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What design elements are key for success in today’s market?
Denis Boudard: I truly feel that there are two … creating a guaranteed high perceived value and staying true to the brand.
First, we are talking about a luxury product, which one must never forget. Even if fragrance is an attainable everyday luxury, there is still a level of perceived value that we must maintain. I feel that many people forget we are dealing with a luxury product; however, a designer cannot be one of them.

Secondly, I think that the most important factor to success is staying true to the brand, to its values and DNA. This means that the designer must consider the brand’s history and also its evolution within the creative process in order to stay connected with the brand’s actual audience and create a link with potential customers. It’s true for any of the fashion houses we are working for. When Puma, Perry Ellis or Lacoste asked us to envision their fragrance products, we designed for the brand first without trying to impose a style (pragmatic approach). Then we showed our vision of how the brand could be “stretched’ (dialectic approach/part of risk/innovation). Besides, a brand must be “credible” to its own crowd, especially when its name appears on a fragrance product—that’s also true for any celebrity name. If the design is not appropriate—sadly cheap or unrealistically sophisticated—it could be a failure that would, in turn, affect the whole brand strategy. Bottom line, I think that brand aficionados must recognize their brand and embrace the fragrance expression of it.

For me, these elements have a direct influence on the creative process, if the objective is to succeed, of course. The brand is the driving force behind the fragrance; we cannot have a fragrance without an initial understanding of the brand and its history.
To conclude, to reveal the “luxury” part of a brand, a designer must have a sense of observation and understanding of l’air du temps. Above all else, we must be able to create a dialectical relation between where the brand has been in the past, where it currently is today and where it will be in 18 months when the product launches.