Does chromatic lightness have an impact on the perceived odor of Brazilian perfumes?

  • Camila Assis Peres Silva Unidade Acadêmica de Design, Universidade Federal de Campina Grande, Paraíba, Brasil.
  • Clice de Toledo Sanjar Mazzilli Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brasil.
Keywords: Perfume, Color, Brazil, Perception, Packaging


This paper presents results of experiments carried out between 2013 and 2016, in which we searched for correspondences between the olfactory stimuli of perfumes and the visual stimuli of their primary packaging. In the present study, we explore a potential correlation between colors and smells. The chosen methodology consisted of analyzing colors from two different points of view: first, how companies use colors to represent smells; and second, how consumers perceive fragrances and how they correlate them to colors. We called these two approaches the ‘representation of colors’ and the ‘perception of colors.’ Our method also entailed searching online for catalogs of fragrance companies and selecting those that use colors associated with fragrance families. In order to investigate the consumer’s perception, we carried out sensorial experiments in which a group of people performed a blind analysis of four Brazilian perfumes. Quantitative and qualitative explorations were conducted. Basic statistics were used that confirmed companies’ practices. The research results concluded that consumers not only associate specific colors to fragrances, but they may associate the lightness of a color to the intensity of a fragrance. For example, participants of the experiments perceived a fragrance as softer attributing the softness to the lighter colors of the packaging. The results presented in this paper could be useful for designers and marketers because they highlight the importance of the correspondences between the senses, as well as the correlation between color and odor intensity.

Author Biographies

Camila Assis Peres Silva, Unidade Acadêmica de Design, Universidade Federal de Campina Grande, Paraíba, Brasil.

Camila Assis Peres Silva - Design Professor at Universidade Federal de Campina Grande. Doctor of Science (USP), master in Design (UERJ) and bachelor in Industrial Design (UFRJ). Specialist in Marketing and E- learning (UFF). Conducts research and teaches in the areas of packaging design, color, visual perception, user- centered design, usability, history and design theories.

Clice de Toledo Sanjar Mazzilli, Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brasil.

Clice de Toledo Sanjar Mazzilli - Doctor Professor at the Project Department of FAUUSP since 2001. Gathers experience in the areas of Architecture, Design and Art, acting on the following subjects: environmental perception, visual language, visual communication, creative processes, experimental processes, environment design, graphic design, image book, recreational spaces, art and city.


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How to Cite
Assis Peres Silva, C. and de Toledo Sanjar Mazzilli, C. (2020) “Does chromatic lightness have an impact on the perceived odor of Brazilian perfumes?”, Cultura e Scienza del Colore - Color Culture and Science, 12(01), pp. 63-74. doi: 10.23738/CCSJ.120108.