The Evolving Links Between Scent and Color

Like creative artists in any medium, perfumers stir the soul by appealing to the senses. Perfumers address their appeal primarily to the nose, just as painters primarily address the eye and composers the ear. Yet there is a great artistic tradition of using one sensory mode to speak to another. As part of his Images pour Orchestre, Claude Debussy wrote a movement entitled Les parfurm de la nuit.

Given the elusive nature of scent as an object of aesthetic study, it is not surprising that it has taken longer for the inherently multisensory nature of olfactory creations to be recognized. Discoveries in sensory psychology have confirmed a reliable and quantitative link between scent and color.

Now that tests of cross-modal perception are commercially available, consumer goods manufacturers have begun to conduct sensory audits of their product lines and those of their competitors. The result has been a sharpened multisensory focus and a greater emphasis on the impact of scent on the visual attributes of a product.

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