Perfume has drawn inspiration from dogs, babies, pizza, zombies — so why not a ubiquitous font? Branding company Guts and Glory is now offering a scent inspired by Helvetica, the Swiss typeface. Its targeted audience is presumably anyone who didn’t fall asleep during Helvetica, the film. Familiar, yet unfamiliar at the same time, the scent is a clean, invisible, unadulterated blend of only “the purest and most essential elements" ("Air, water, you"). Retailing for $62, it comes in a bottle printed with 24-karat gold lettering and contains two ounces of water.
If you're wondering if this is just a fancy bottle full of water, then you'd be right! Two whole ounces' worth. And this is not even Shahs of Sunset diamond-infused water, or even potable, for all we know. On the plus side, you can refill it yourself at no extra cost.
The inventors of the fragrance, Faun Chapin and Megan Paradise, are founders of the branding agency Guts and Glory — or, as they call themselves, "ginger partners in crime." And despite being totally up-front about their water-selling gimmick, they're often asked what their product smells like. However, they insist that the concept is beyond an elaborate joke to trick design nerds into buying a fancy branded bottle of water. Paradise tells the Cut:
[The perfume] is about a larger idea. Modernism and the origin of typeface originated in the idea that content, not font or typography, is important. Our product is a comment on the perfume industry and water, and its commercialization.
It's quite a large message to pin on a simple bottle of water, but either you get the joke or you don't. The duo hopes that the "perfume" also sparks a broader debate about the nonsensical nature of the fragrance industry and the idea of branding scent. Chapin adds:
What we, as humans, smell like, is lovely. [In this product,] there's the idea that we don’t need to alter ourselves or what we actually smell like. Smelling like nothing isn't necessarily nothing ... [Perfume is] an amazing category of absurdity in a lot of ways. On our Tumblr, we’ve been cataloging perfume ads. It’s an amazing visual ride of absurdities.
Of course, Chapin and Paradise don't mean "absurd" in a bad way. “We both love perfume," says Chapin. "We’re big fans of Christopher Broisius [fittingly, founder of the anti-perfume company I Hate Perfume]. We have a shared similarity with him in the way he thinks of scent."
Customers, so far, have responded with everything from praise to outrage. "Some people are like, This is just water, what is wrong with you?" Paradise says. "But more say that this is a fantastic idea and they love it. We are making a beautiful art object. It is literally printed in 24-karat gold." And if people feel duped by the product's content, they do offer returns. Or maybe you're just more of a Comic Sans lady.
Most Viewed Stories
Josh Kushner, Ivanka Trump’s Brother-in-Law, Was Spotted at the Women’s March
Bernie Sanders Wore the Only Appropriate Outfit to Trump’s Inauguration
A Scene from the D.C. Women’s March
Kellyanne Conway Goes With a Subtle Look for the Inauguration
Here’s the Official List of Speakers for the Women’s March on Washington
15 Protest Sign Ideas for the Women’s March on Washington
Tiffany & Co. Unveils New Collaboration With NYPD: Branded Barricades by Trump Tower
Over 1 Million New York Women Will Have Access to Free Contraception and Abortions
The Complicated, Controversial, Historic, Inspiring Women’s March
The Women’s March Drew a Much Larger Crowd Than Trump’s Inauguration
From Our Partners
Who What Wear
powered by PubExchange
The Cut’s Latest Beauty FeaturesWatch: Over Half A Million People Took to the Streets for the Women’s March on Washington
VIDEO: It’s said to be one of the largest mass demonstrations in the history of the U.S.Here’s What Gloria Steinem Thinks You Should Know About Donald Trump
“We think he holds all the power…but that’s not true.”16 of the Cutest Kids at the Women’s March
Kids of all ages marched all over the globe to protest Donald Trump on Saturday.A Scene from the D.C. Women’s March
“I witnessed something that gives me hope.”See Photos of the Women’s Marches Around the World
More than 3 million people turned out globally.Josh Kushner, Ivanka Trump’s Brother-in-Law, Was Spotted at the Women’s March
Karlie Kloss’s boyfriend protests in D.C.The Greatest Signs From the Women’s March
See the Cut’s favorites from around the country.Janelle Monáe Reminds Us to Choose ‘Freedom Over Fear’ at Women’s March
Monáe stood alongside the Mothers of the Movement in D.C.The Women’s March Was So Big It Almost Couldn’t March
Attendees far outnumbered the 200,000 organizers planned for.Madonna to Women’s March Detractors: ‘F*ck You’
She expressed herself.
From the Women’s March: “I stand here today most of all because I am my sister’s keeper.”The Women’s March Drew a Much Larger Crowd Than Trump’s Inauguration
A roundup of the worldwide rallies.People Came Out in Droves for the NYC Women’s March
About 100,000 people came out.Here’s Why a Women’s March Organizer Brought Her Baby Onstage
The baby appeared to sleep peacefully throughout.6 Compelling Things Gloria Steinem Said at the Women’s March
“We are united here for bodily integrity.”Over 1 Million New York Women Will Have Access to Free Contraception and Abortions
Andrew Cuomo’s announcement comes alongside the Women’s March.U.S. Border Agents Rejected Some Canadians Headed to the Women’s March
People in at least three groups were reportedly sent home.Here’s How to Livestream the Women’s March on Washington
It’s happening right now.Melania Trump Wears Hervé Pierre to the Inaugural Balls
The former model collaborated with the designer.‘Smells Like Boys’: A Night at the DeploraBall
Partying in Trump’s America.