Teaching Materials - Exercise

The Imagination of Scent

Name of Artist Educator: Doreen Chan
Excercise Category: Imagery Reading, Visual storytelling

Personal observations and preferences are the reflections of our hearts and its derived product is unique.

Concept / Inspiration:

Personal observations and preferences are the reflections of our hearts and its derived product is unique.

To create an artwork with characters, it is necessary to activate our outsights. To start off with the sense of smell, one of those five senses, instructor would make use of perfume, something that most of the students would be interested in to strengthen our observation towards the environment. This is to both trigger and strengthen the skills of converting their visual, audio and word experience and ability to transform the materials collected.


  1. To enhance students’ awareness towards scents and reinforce the skills of observing the environment with different scents-related activities are taken place.
  2. To allow students to transform the emotions and imaginations aroused by different scents into visual elements as well as to discover their diversity of creation.

Materials / Equipment:

  • 4 types of perfumes (number of types could be customized)
  • Sticky notes of 4 different colours (number of colours is subjected to change according to the number of perfumes used, function: to differentiate each perfumes)
  • White drawing paper
  • Marker
  • Paper of different colours and textures
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Needle and thread
  • Computer
  • Projector



Workshop Description:

Part One │ “Scentography” (30 minutes)

  1. Students are asked to either take some scent-related images or to collect them online and share during the class.
  2. Each student should choose the most expressive image and share the reasons of their choices. Some students’ feelings maybe altered by the contents of the images (i.e. turkey, durian, etc.) and therefore triggering different emotions (i.e. happiness, hatred). The contents of the images can sometimes recall the past episodes of the students. (e.g. grass). Students are only required to have a brief discussion at this stage so that instructor could grasp the idea of the thinking process of the students.


Part Two │ The imagination of aroma

(Duration of Part Two and Three: 105 minutes)

  1. Randomly drip four kinds of perfume on four sticky notes of different colours.


  1. Each student needs to sniff the smell of the memo. At the same time, by sniffing the scents, they also have to suggest the related vocabularies, i.e. adjectives, colours, textures, products, venues and characters. Meanwhile, students have to write down the words that they can think of in order to proceed to the next activity. Start passing the next perfumes only when all students finish the first round. Each student has to sniff the perfume one by one as it is not recommended to smell the strong perfumes all at once.
  2. After the process of free association, each student chooses one of those sticky notes. With the words that students come up with in the previous stage (i.e. adjectives, textures, products, venues and characters), they are asked to use different piece of textured paper, colours and materials to create a graphic work.
  3. To play the commercials of each perfume to reveal the brands of each perfume.


Part Three │ Visual language of product packaging

To compare the students work with the commercials and the packaging designs of the perfume and discuss its similarities and differences. This is to analyse the possible impacts of stereotyping in either the product design or the advertisement may have on customers. Students could also describe how commercial reasons such as brand image affects the packaging design. This is to allow students to reflect on the nature of creation.

Note 1: Advertising is not the best nor the only way to express. Instructor could elicit why the advertisement would interpret the smell in certain ways. However, instructor should also remind students that the representation in advertisement is not the best way. Besides, instructor should have some exposure to abovementioned perfumes in order to lead the discussion.


Part Four │ Mood Board (10 minutes)

Mood board is a visualised mind map. It is a board that surrounds one specific theme and collects all the related image that can express the idea of the theme. It is also a tool for the designers to illustrate the concepts of their designs while it can also be a way to facilitate students’ creating process.

Expected Outcome:

In part one, it is anticipated that the images collected by the students would be straight forward and simple. For example, students would collect a wide range of pictures of candy for sweetness. However, after comparing with the contents of the commercials, they will have a more reflective experience. They could imagine and transform more when they try to figure out how images could generate scents.

Actual Outcome:

During class:

Part One “Scenetography”: Instructor is discussing with the students about the collected images.


Part Two “The imagination of aroma”

With the imagination of the aroma of the perfume, there were abstract feeling, imaginative colours and the characters they could relate to in their daily life

Part Three “Visual language of the product packaging”


Part One “Scenetography”

TA_Fung_Ming_Sum_20151221_003 TA_Fung_Ming_Sum_20151221_004

Part Two “The imagination of aroma”
TA_Fung_Ming_Sum_20151221_027 TA_Fung_Ming_Sum_20151221_033

TA_Fung_Ming_Sum_20151221_037 TA_Fung_Ming_Sum_20151221_038

Student Feedback:

When the instructor mentioned about the common stereotyping of the products design and advertisement, some students agreed to this and reflected that stereotyping would restraint imagination. Some students reflected that with different types of stereotyping would help the audience get the message of the advertisements.

Reference Materials:

perfumes commercials