Novice design analysis, queso, and Ellis Brooklyn’s Bibliotheca box set

I’m just going to come out and say it.

I am a huge sucker for marketing that implies that the buyer is knowledgeable and well-read or appreciates some sort of pseudo-sophisticated humor. Like it makes me actually feel dumb after the fact for falling for it over and over. Whenever I catch myself wanting something because I think it’ll make me look smart I wonder if the thrill of having knowledge others counts as a guilty pleasure. Is it if you feel like a dick doing it? Is it if you don’t feel like a dick doing it?? Is that simply nerdy, or does it cross into being elitist? Am I even snobbier than I thought I was? Will I start interjecting “um, actually” more or less after this revelation??

In my defense though I think it really just boils down to wanting to be in on all the jokes. Nerdy jokes are hands down the best.

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In my defense, so much of the value of fragrance is in how it makes you feel– the actual chemical makeup be damned (sorry chemists, we wouldn’t have of it without you and I appreciate your job I’m just saying.) The actual smell of the solution evaporating and reaching your nose is really just a receptacle for emotions, much like corn chips carry queso into your mouth. Marketing’s much the same way. The product has to be good to keep selling, just like you actually have to like what goes into your nose or mouth to keep putting things there, but the real draw of fragrance is that feeling of calm or happiness or sensuality or energy you get from it. Regardless of the quality of your queso, if you’ve come to associate store-bought Texican queso with friends and that magical time when tequila’s consequences didn’t take a week to recover from, you’re going to find yourself drawn to it over and over, even if you know way better alternatives are available and easily accessible. At least that’s the excuse I gave my Oklahoman co-worker when she stared at my taco plate covered in the neon stuff during a catered happy hour in disbelief. Apparently they take queso seriously in Oklahoma.

In this realm, both the marketing and the fragrances from Ellis Brooklyn totally work for me. The little library comes in a book-sized box very simply colored-blocked in white, black, and red, the word Bibliotheca split across the front, an image similar to what you’d envision on Jeri Hogarth’s daily court takedown dress. (Though Jeri’s go tos, in true New York fashion, are all black all the time.) Except without the words or logo, clearly.

The cardboard they use is really nice, very smooth and cool to the touch and lined with some velvety material. It’s actually a really nice, sturdy construction without making the set intimidatingly expensive for no reason. Per the name, definitely made in consideration of millennial Brooklyners.

I also really appreciate how big and clear the fonts are. A lot of times with fragrance container design, everything is in some fancy, spidery, or serif-packed writing that’s just barely legible, especially on sample-sized bottles. And sometimes the font is just tiny. I have to give the minimalist design movement some props for this change– fewer and fewer brands are going the ornate route which is so much more relaxing to read.

The fragrances, which I’ll be reviewing one by one, are fitting for the themes that were given to them, work well in a group rotation, and are still all individually interesting. Did they surprise or delight or both? I guess we’ll find out.

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