Trends, Sensory Maps

I’m used to researching trends in apparel, accessories and footwear and it was interesting to be given a task that involved researching artists! This particular artist Kate McLean isn’t your average graphic designer.


British graphic designer Kate McLean works as a ‘smell artist’, her role involves profiling cities and exhibiting their aromas onto graphic sensory boards with the intention of stimulating a memory association with scents and defining specific tourist destinations. This is a great concept to enhance the senses and re-define human perception, a trend MPDClick have forecast for Spring Summer 15.

McLean’s idea for sensory maps first started when she read Molly Young’s article in New York Magazine 2011 titled ‘The Smelliest Block in New York’, questioning the terrible odours that surrounded New York’s Lower East Side, intriguing McLean to sniff for herself. McLean’s sensory map of the Manhattan borough was presented in an aroma of cheap perfume, stagnant water and dried fish.  To create a sensory map, the artist yields emotional connections that people associate with their home city by asking long-time residents, new arrivals and tourists to describe the smells and then she draws plot points onto special, ultra detailed maps with descriptions of the range and intensity of smells as they waft from their sources.

Past exhibitions include Paris, Amsterdam and Glasgow, her Paris sensory map included detachable bottles of perfume and other substances to spray and experience. Future developments include scratch-n-sniff components stimulating aromatic sensations of walking through the cities; her objective is to produce ‘smell maps’ for cities worldwide working with tourist boards and visitor centres.

MPDClick subscribers can click here to read our early research for this sensory trend. If you don’t subscribe to MPDClick, take a FREE trial here.


Source: Sensory Maps


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