Designing the next generation of fragrance packaging, a conversation with FangYi Chu

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

branding and visual designer FangYi Chu
branding and visual designer FangYi Chu

Related tags Fragrance packaging design

Cosmetics Design caught up with branding and visual designer FangYi Chu after she was honored at this year’s Art of Packaging Award Gala, put on by the Pratt Institute, to discover what’s inspiring the designs of tomorrow.

“Fragrance packaging design is not only an academic knowledge but art,” ​emphasizes FangYi Chu, who holds a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and an MS in Communication Design. Originally from Taipei, Taiwan, FangYi now lives and works in New York City.

Inspiring minds

Effective packaging design is imperative in fragrance and beauty. It stands at the intersection of art and commerce, and yet requires genuine creativity every time.

FangYi tells Cosmetics Design where she finds inspiration: I believe that the most important aspect of design is storytelling. In addition to the rational and commercial consideration, I usually like to embed a scenario, which is according to my own experience and emotion, into the concept of the project. This [ensures that I’m constantly]  full of passion for my work and [that my thoughts] remain creative. The design process is the path which help me finalize the entire project. Through the creative direction, including logo, fonts, and color, the [underlying] story can be displayed to everyone.

“My inspiration always comes from my interests,” ​FangYi says, “[from] my childhood experience, or anything that impresses me in daily life. Sometimes a project takes inspiration from my civil engineering background. Most of the time, it is from the music I like and the movement of dancing.”

For the design that won her the Pratt Award, FangYi took cues from music: “In this fragrance project,…the design direction I created for ‘allegro’ was derived from the movement of a music rhythm.”

Merit award

Each year as part of its annual gala event, the Pratt Institute honors four students for their outstanding fragrance packaging design work. This year, the competition was so close that six designers received the merit award. In addition to FangYi Chu, the honorees are Talia Douaidy, Paula Ip, Eugene Kim, Xinlu Liu, and Brielle Wilson.

When asked what intrigued her about her peers’ work, FangYi remarked that “each winner’s work has its own personality and they are all impressive to me….Some of them created a stunning gradient color, some of them focused on a delicate shape of the bottle. All of the works turned out really elegant and far beyond my imagination. I appreciate that I had the chance to work with these talented people.”  


Rhythm in a bottle

FangYi created the packaging that earned her the Pratt Institute Merit Award as a project during Marc Rosen’s class. She describes it in her own words:

The name of my project is “allegro”. Allegro is an Italian tempo marking in music terminology. It describes a rhythm with a fast, quick, and bright speed.

The concept is inspired by the movement and rhythm of a woman walking elegantly and confidently. Allegro is a fresh and delightful floral scent. It provides a shimmery and dolce feeling but also has unique personality. By merging feminine color, copper gold, and sharp angles with irregular lines, allegro's branding and packaging design present an avant-garde attitude for women who define themselves as an out-of-limit individual.

And FangYi shared a bit more detail with Cosmetics Design on how the design and branding came together:

In this fragrance design project, I created the shape of the fragrance bottle first. It is initially modeled in clay and finally made as a prototype with imitated material, which is composed of glass surface and copper frame.  The second step is to design the logo. I chose serif typeface and make it italic to illustrate the concept of “allegro”. The color palette of the art direction and packaging design is the final step. The main color is pink beige. Based on the concept, the packaging design showed white and gold color with sharp and clean angled lines.

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