For this project, I chose to explore one of my passions of psychology and more specifically the theory that memory is strongly linked to our senses. I researched scents commonly associated with strong childhood memories. These include fresh cut grass and chlorine and designed a brand identity around this concept. Loose threadlike patterns were incorporated as well as the hexagonal chemical compound shape representing the brain paths and chemical reactions that allow this phenomenon to occur.
This project came about from my interest in psychology and the brain itself. I think it’s fascinating that things happen everyday in our own minds that we might not be aware of or able to explain. This particular product line comes from the Proust Phenomenon where certain smells evoke what is called “involuntary memory” and can make us think back to moments from our pasts. I also love candles so the two things just seemed to work together. Starting with the mark, I wanted it to be simple so I chose the brain as the subject, but also had the swirling patterns mimic the smoke or scent given off by candles and other fragranced objects. Since it is so scientific, I wanted it to be very minimal so I limited the patterns just to single color monoline to represent each scent that the company offers. The monoline artwork also ties in (no pun intended) the fact that memories are like threads that string together to link our past with our present. The bright colors of each scent mimic the bright burst of remembering that can happen when the fragrance first registers in the brain. To let the patterns and colors speak for themselves, I kept he candle wax itself white. The clear translucent paper used on the candle labels, soap, and in the booklet recall the fogginess of memories especially when they’re very old. And the hexagon pattern used throughout on the box packaging and labels references the illustrations of chemical compounds to further push the fact that these memories are powered by reactions in the brain.
The first step in this project began with mood boards made in Adobe InDesign and sketching for the logo. The single line weight of the one I chose felt the most clean to me so I carried that over to the scents. All of the lines and patterns for this project were made in Adobe Illustrator and then brought into InDesign to make the labels to be printed out and adhered to the products. Printing on translucent paper took a few practice runs since the ink tended to bleed and the patterns were very intricate. I asked around to everyone I knew for personal scents that reminded them of their past and narrowed down that list. From there, I picked a bold color to represent each scent as well as played around with creating a simple yet recognizable pattern for every fragrance. I then created both big and small candles out of melted wax and fragrance oils. The soap tins were next and I inverted the colors on that pattern packaging to let the colored soap pop. I liked the tin because it matched the sleek look of the brand as well as would protect the soap from eroding away in the bath or shower when not in use. The packaging for the incense was simple to create since I already had a strong look for the line. Finally, I created a small catalogue brochure as well as stationary using all of the already established colors and patterns.
I had a very positive response to this project. Many people call out a specific scent that they personally connect with. Play Dough is a very popular one. As I read off the scents I chose, I always get a smile and chuckle at some of them. People also mention their own that I didn’t include. Besides how to make real candles of my own, I learned a lot about balance and making different components work together. It was a challenge to keep the branding distinct and recognizable while also making each product stand out on its own.