As already discussed in my previous London Study Trip post, scents can be a key tool in stirring emotional responses, whether they are calming floral scents, or hunger inducing food smells.

With Autumnal nights drawing I have started to recognise the annual smells associated with this time of year.  The smell of smoke lingering in the atmosphere, around the Bonfire Night celebrations, always reminds me of cold winter nights, whilst the smell of soot eradiating from chimneys, stimulates the feeling of warmth, cozy, comfort.  Shops have started to reveal their Christmas displays, accompanying them with the aromas of cinnamon and spices creating a festive ambience. 

Scents have the ability to create emotional responses and can be used in experiential design to help ‘set a scene’ (, particularly when combined with other sensual triggers, such as sight, sound and tactile surfaces.   In their 2003 research Morrin & Ratneshwar, studied the effect of ambient smells on consumer product interactions and found that scent could increase brand recognition.  Using scents as part of an experiential and immersive event may help to engage audiences by triggering existing emotional responses and also lasting impression of the brand or product.  However, if I decide to use scents in any of my work, they will need to be carefully chosen as not all scents provoke positive reactions, and may distract or create a barrier to engagement.


Morrin, M and Ratneshwar, S (2003) ‘Does It Make Sense to Use Scents to Enhance Brand Memory?’ in Journal of Marketing Research (JMR). Feb2003, Vol. 40 Issue 1, p10-25. (2016). ‘Five Event Aspects to Consider in a Post-Experiential Landscape, posted 29 Jun 2016, available at [accessed 04.11.16]