5 Fragrance Design Myths Debunked

Fragrance plays an integral role in our daily lives. As a fashion accessory, fine fragrance has become part of our wardrobe, our style and an important expression of our individuality. As an element of our home décor, candles and other air care products color the mood and ambiance of our personal spaces, while scented household […]

Fragrance plays an integral role in our daily lives. As a fashion accessory, fine fragrance has become part of our wardrobe, our style and an important expression of our individuality. As an element of our home décor, candles and other air care products color the mood and ambiance of our personal spaces, while scented household items add a sensory “boost” to our daily routines.

In every form, fragrance stimulates emotions, captures feelings and ultimately becomes part of our individual story, enhancing every aspect of our day-to-day experience.

Despite the key role that scent plays in our lives, fragrance design still remains a bit of a mystery to many consumers and brand marketers alike. The ongoing mystery has sparked countless myths.

Below, we demystify some of the common myths and misconceptions about fragrance design.

Myth #1: Fragrance Design is Simple

fragrance designThe increasing number of websites detailing “How to Make Your Own Fragrance” has given the impression that fragrance design is elementary.

Reality: Fragrance Design is Complex

The technical and creative process of fragrance design is highly complex since it has the unique distinction of creating more than just a fragrance. Exceptional fragrance design produces not only a beautiful scent, but a complete sensory experience.

Formulating a sensory experience that resonates with consumers requires a comprehensive approach to fragrance design including:

  • In-depth consumer insight
  • Keen market awareness
  • Astute perception of lifestyle and fragrance trends
  • Sensory savvy
  • Technical ingenuity
  • Artistic aptitude
  • Creative vision
  • Proficient regulatory capability
  • Efficient production skill

Myth #2: Fragrance Design is Solitary

Perfumers are often called the “nose” of fragrance creation,fragrance design leading some to believe that this process begins and ends with the perfumer.

Reality: Fragrance Design is Collaborative

Perfumers are at the helm however, fragrance design is not a solitary process. It is a collaborative process, employing the expertise of a team of marketers, evaluators, formulators, regulatory and production professionals. Every individual along the supply chain plays an essential role in formulating a scent that meets the marketer’s vision and consumer expectations.

Myth #3: Fragrance Design is Exclusionary

fragrance designSay the word fragrance and for many, the first image that comes to mind is fine fragrance or perfume and with that, an air of exclusivity.

Reality: Fragrance Design is Expansive

Fragrance design is not exclusive to fine fragrance or any particular market category. Rather, the fragrance design process is used to create scented products across a broad range of categories including air care, home care and personal care, as well as household and industrial products.

Although the target audience may vary from project to project, fragrance design practices are employed for a variety of consumer products along a diverse cross-section of the population.

Myth #4: Fragrance Design is Abstract

Many view fragrance design as an intangible art form.

Reality: Fragrance Design is Exacting

fragrance designAn integral element of fragrance design is artistic vision. However, to make the intangible tangible requires more than vision. Fragrance design is not magic, it’s chemistry. Perfumers are not only artists; they are chemists who have memorized thousands of olfactive profiles, first understanding each material in isolation and then its synergy or reactivity with other materials.

A series of different versions called modifications are formulated during the design process and then screened by the creative team on blotters and then most importantly, in use. Each version is evaluated in accordance with the marketer’s specifications. A series of modifications are assessed before arriving at the “right” formula.

The “right” formula must not only be sensorily sublime, but it must also meet the clients specified requirements for price, performance, safety and stability. Ultimately, it is a collaborative fragrance design process that successfully brings this “abstract” art form to life and to market.

Myth # 5: Fragrance Design is Arbitrary

Many believe that fragrance design is based on random inspiration.

fragrance designReality: Fragrance Design is Strategic

The complexity and cost of fragrance design does not support an unplanned or indiscriminate environment. Rather, the process is a structured and strategic one whereby inspiration and creativity are enhanced through insight and precision.

The design process often begins with a marketer’s brief explaining the nature of the project. This may include:

  • A detailed explanation of who the product should appeal to and why.
  • The characteristics the scent should embody and the message it should convey.
  • Where the product will be sold and who the target audience should be.
  • Identification of product form, color and any specific notes or benefits.

This vital information will be used as a blueprint for the creation. At the same time, the creative team will be accessing the competitive landscape and analyzing the market to ensure that the scent has consumer appeal and is relevant to the current lifestyle and fragrance trends.

Manufacturers research and examine a host of raw materials in order to source the highest quality of ingredients. Ultimately, this multi-faceted, highly-detailed process is anything but random.


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