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Fragrance Insight: Bottle Design

Posted: September 17, 2007

In GCI magazine’s “Clear Design Inspiration” (September 07, pg 10), senior editor Jeff Falk 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.

GCI: When designing the packaging, do you think about the fragrance itself, the marketing that will support the product or the target consumer?

Denis Boudard: Honestly, designers are very rarely included in the fragrance creation and, therefore, cannot always be inspired by the juice itself. If I had the opportunity to discover the juice prior to designing, of course the scent would influence the design. I have had this opportunity a few times, and it truly does improve the design process and allow the designer to create a very brand- and fragrance appropriate bottle. A close collaboration between the perfumer and the designer should happen more frequently as it is almost always guaranteed to be a success. As a designer, when I know where the perfumer is going, I know what the bottle design has to be in order to express and reveal the essence of the product (colors of the juice, textures and ergonomic factors are actually crucial). Unfortunately, this is not a common way to work today. As for the marketing factors supporting the product, the target consumer and the distribution strategy, of course these will all help influence the design; however, designers are not always privy to this information. If this information is available they will always be taken into consideration, as all play a role in creating a brand-appropriate design. 

The design is able to define the level of sophistication as well as “dress up” the product without betraying the emotional connection that the perfumer created. At the end of the day, the juice will be the determining factor that will make the fragrance a success. For this reason the bottle design should be a reflection of the scent. In addition, packaging and marketing strategy help the product to appear at its best for its premiere in-store. Then, it’s all about a very confidential story between the end users and the fragrance.

Davide Nicosia: All of those elements must always be considered. In reality, the client comes to us with only part of the information. We usually get a briefing on the background of the brand and what demographic we are targeting. Concepts and fragrances are usually developed parallel to the bottle design. We often present names and advertising concepts that support our bottle design presentation. It allows our ideas to have a rationale and be relevant to the initiative. It allows us to avoid presenting ideas that are “pie in the sky.”