This Week’s Challenge: Perfume Is Overrated

Posted inDavid Sherwin
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Perfume bottles (cropped) by Nancy JonesFrancis on Flickr

Needles floating down from a Douglas fir. Popcorn in a big ceramic bowl, fresh from the kettle. Salt wafting high on the morning sea breeze.

Whole industries have been built from laboratories synthesizing perfect simulacra of things that exist naturally in the world around us—then selling those scents to us, whether through highly seductive advertising or the “bonus” smells that assault our nostrils as we interact with people throughout our day.

What would the world be like if people relied more on “natural scents” that we enjoy out in the world, rather than those that were designed by perfumers? With this challenge, let your nose lead you to a novel answer to that question.

Invent a new brand of “natural scents” for men and women that are neither deodorant nor perfume. This brand will require a new category and method of selling them, meaning you can’t stock them in perfume shops, pharmacies, or department stores. Consider how these scents would be applied on the body, at what price point they would be sold profitably at volume (or not sold at all), and summarize your recommendation in a one-page cheat sheet that explains everything a person would need to know about your brand. Oh, and do all of this in one hour.

If you want to take it further, design how one would apply your “natural scents” as a physical prototype with instructions. Give them to a friend and see if they can understand what it is and how it’s utilized.

Want more challenges? The first 24 pages of Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills are available free on Scribd.

The above image is remixed from a photo by annie076 on Flickr, shared via a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license.