Dynamics of Colour in Fragrances

//Dynamics of Colour in Fragrances

Al Haramain Atifa Blanche

(Oriental Fragrance Oil)

Why Colour?

Colour is what enables us to visually distinguish objects from each other. Imagine entering a perfume showroom and everything you see is in the same shade of white, from the floor, shelves, bottles, the liquid inside the bottles, the boxes, lights, counters, and the sales lady! You wouldn’t be able to know what is what at first glance. However, when you see the white embellished with golden coloured oriental symbols on an original, elegant looking marble flacon written ‘Atifa Blanche’, you may perceive that this is an oriental fragrance, most likely an oil due to the sheer weight of it, and most likely with woody notes, and with the gold colour denoting warmth and elegance.

Al Haramain Sophia Violet (Spray) For Women

Consumers generally know what they like, and don’t like, in a fragrance. It’s all about what appeals to one’s sense of smell. Scents come from things within our environment, such as flowers, herbs, trees, fruits, leaves, plant and animal secretions, and a lot more. Some of these scents we like, and others we may not. When it comes to colours, one of the main points of perceptual evaluation for fragrances is the colour most associated with the visible object that the fragrance smells like. In this regard, a fragrance with a predominantly lemony scent is often more communicated with the golden yellow colour of ripe, fresh lemons. Similarly, rose-scented fragrances are quite frequently visualized with bright pink colours, sometimes blended with reddish hues (after all, isn’t it said that ‘roses are red’). When you see a purple coloured perfume box, or one with a purple-dyed liquid inside, you can expect that it is a floral perfume, perhaps scented with iris, violet, or perhaps jasmine notes.

Al Haramain Dehnal Oud Seufi

Al Haramain Dehnal Oud Mahabbah

Dehnal Oudh is a very rich, dark liquid for the most part, and the associated packaging is often very woody in its appearance. Thus when one sees wooden packaging, they tend to expect that it contains a woody fragrance.

What Else Does Colour Communicate?

While the object and scent association is just one of the dimensions of colour psychology in perfumes, there are other colour associations that individuals have with fragrances. Red, for example, is the colour of one of the rose species, the colour of blood, and also, the ‘colour of fire’.  Perhaps no one would be really interested in a fragrance that smells like blood, despite the fact that blood is a symbol of life. Fire, on the other hand, can be a symbol of vitality, energy, passion and determination – all of which are desirable traits in an individual. In this regard, a fragrance meant to appeal to consumers whose personality resonates with these personality traits may opt to use the red colour in their packaging.


Similarly, the colour blue is commonly associated with the sky, and also with water bodies such as seas and oceans. Water is a cleansing element, also associated with coolness and freshness. People go for a swim when the weather is hot, for the refreshment it brings from the heat of the day. Similarly, people also tend to take a cool shower after a stretch of strenuous physical activity such as sports, and typically wear fragrances that resonate with the feeling of freshness and coolness that follows such activity. In this regard, a lot of sporting gear is branded in blue, and similarly so, fragrances that are targeted towards physically active people also tend to come in blue coloured packaging. Blue coloured fragrances, then, tend to be more associated with summer or day use, whereas the red, energetic and fiery-passionate coloured fragrances are more for night use.

In the above examples, the colours used to communicate the fragrance have little to do with how the fragrance actually smells, but more to do with the social appeal and usage occasions of the fragrances. In these cases, the fragrance marketer may be trying to say, “If you are an active person, you need this kind of fragrance for the event” rather than saying “the scent of this fragrance smells like water / the sea”

So, the use of colour in perfume packaging serves to distinguish one fragrance from another in terms of the scent, and also in terms of the targeted usage occasions and brand positioning. There are several other reasons why colours are used in fragrances, but for the most part, it is all to communicate to the consumer in a language that is easy to understand. Defining a scent can be a difficult task, and the best way to know a fragrance, is to go beyond the verbal and visual communication and actually experience the fragrance for yourself.

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