Featured image for We Love This MICA Student's Concept For Penhaligon's

We Love This MICA Student's Concept For Penhaligon's

by Casha Doemland on 10/16/2018 | 3 Minute Read

Penhaligon's, a British perfume house established in 1870 is known for their elegant and innovative fragrances. Their perfumes arrive in a glass bottle with a bow around the neck with labels featuring thin borders and an old-fashioned font, a timeless look sealed with red Penhaligon seal stamp of approval at the top left corner.

Qinglu Guo, an MFA graphic design student at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), opted to give the historic brand a contemporary look for her Brandshift project with program director Jennifer Cole Phillips.

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"I received one of Penhaligon's fragrances, Artemisia, as a birthday gift and fell in love with its illustrative label and adorable bow-knot" begins Guo. "I researched the brand and was impressed by the authentic and Victorian feel created by their collections. When I got the Brandshift project, Penhaligon's was the first thing to come to mind as I knew I wanted to do something completely different."

Guo's goals for the two-month project was to create a delightful customer experience and to make the labels easy to read, as she, herself, sometimes gets confused with the difference between the concentrations and strengths of Eau de Parfum and Eau de Toilettes.

Editorial photograph
Editorial photograph

“I had the idea of using gradients and small type on the label since the first week, and I knew that gradations would be the key visual in my design,” she adds. “As for typography, I tried various approaches to color gradients to represent different scents in Penhaligon’s existing line. Then I started thinking about the vehicle of my design and thought about applying it to candles, cream jars and boxes.”

Phillips advised her, saying that a cylindrical shape would be the best way to deliver the gradient design she sought, and perfume packaging was once again the focal point of her design.

Guo experiment with gradient design, often printing off each before making a judgment call as she wanted the colors to evoke specific scents and concentrations to deliver the easy to read packaging.

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"To make a full collection, I added Nectarine, which is not in Penhaligon's fragrance family, but its orange color is consistent with Bluebell's blue and Lavandula's purple," says Guo. "Revising the details of the typography was now my final step in the design process.

Just like with the color of the gradients, she adjusted the font size, tracking (space between lines) and leading (space between characters) and printed out each design until it was perfect.

"I constructed my final packaging out of double matte paper prints, and with the help of our associate director Jason Gottlieb, carefully lit and photographed my final product for my portfolio."

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While her project may appear off brand as it strays away from the original heritage stories and designs, Guo successful met the requirements for the rebrand project and delivered a contemporary and modern design that easily differentiates the concentrations of Eau de Parfum and Eau de Toilettes with her levels of gradients.

"I couldn't have done this project without the advising and support from my professors and colleagues," says Guo. "It was a great experience for me to dive into a project and take time to work on the details. I'm grateful that I had the opportunity to take such a profound class at MICA."

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