Fragrance and the 19th Century

Fragrance and the 19th Century Infograph


This project is a re-design of an infograph I did about the period of woodtype. This time, though, I wanted to use woodtype but not actually talk about it. Instead, I wanted to find an aspect of the 19th century to use the woodtype to depict.

First, I started with looking into the 19th century and the Victorian Era.

I also started making a mind map to help me find an interesting topic.



Victorian Era:

  • overview of the era

  • overview of the guilded age

  • morality in Victorian England

Victorian Children in Victorian Times

Victorian Inventions

  • overview of the changes in Victorian fashion (mainly women’s fashion)

  • how the Victorian era really smelled and real life


Wild West:

  • overview of the old west



  • is evolution a theory or a fact

I also came across a TV show called Genius featuring Stephen Hawking explaining evolution through an experiment involving ordinary people. The episode was Episode 5: What are we? and it was the first time I got an actual understaning of how evolution occurs.



The Victorians: from violet posies to va-va-voom

  • quick overview of Victorian Era perfume

Fragrance: The Story of Perfume from Cleopatra to Chanel by Edwin T. Morris

  • this book was not as in depth as I would have liked but it did give overviews to the advancements in the Victorian Era

  • overview of how perfume works, how we smell perfume, and how it is marketed to us

  • the structure of the molecule is what makes something smell a certain way and those can be changed to give a certain scent and new discoveries in molecules spur a fragrance trend and why they all smell alike

  • this is a slide show about molecules, smell, and molecular structure and the difference between natural and artificial molecules

A Victorian Lady’s Guide to Perfume

  • discusses the changes in perfume throughout the era

  • this site has the wheel of fragrance families but it seems to leave a couple out

***other cultures have more words for describing scents than we do

  • this gave a little on the power that scents have on your brain including confidence and cognitive performance

  • this article gave tips about what perfumes to wear when which could be useful in the infographic

***get the advancements from era

  • this helped brake down the chemistry further

High on Fragrance: The Nineteenth-Century Perfume Launcher

  • people then were weary of synthetic chemicals in their perfumes just as they are today


  • good info on the making and materials used

  • what benzene is so I know what they used it for

  • what terpene is so I know what they used it for

  • what turpentine is so I know what they used it for

  • this gave a more clear picture of synthetics vs natural oils

  • about coumarin and how it is made synthetically

Methods of Extracting Essential Oils

  • methods for extracting essential oils



Are Synthetic Scents Bad?:

  • this article which is also above talked about how a scent chemist (if you will) goes about making synthetic fragrances and by isolating and changing compounds which actually did not make synthetic scents seem that harmful

  • quick article on what is bad in fragrences

The Truth About Phthalates

  • what phthalates are and where they are found

  • very simple breakdown of the difference between natural and synthetically made molecules which supports the first article

  • this article discusses the gray area of the natural vs synthetic

  • breakdown and diagram of aldehydes which are replicated for fragrances and are said to be harmful synthics

So I would say that they are not completely bad and I need more info on the petrochemicals they say are used to make synthetic fragrances. The 19th century then did most likely expand fragrances into uncharted territory.





After figuring out what topic I was going to go with I looked into infographs themselves.

Infographic: a visual image such as a chart or diagram used to represent information or data, aka. data visualization


History of Infographics:

  • infographics have been around since mapping geography but it wasn’t until the 19th century that data was extensively collected and then organized via charts


19th century Infographics:

Florence_Nightingale-mortality By Florence Nightingale

info_19_57746a4b3fb29acda41869701dcf05e5 info_19_dc302c72a9e3fcfe7155585d74aecdb2 info_19_772311251678282666 info_19_772311251832432042 info_19_772311251980765354 info_19_772311252347844522 info_19_772311252528718506 info_19_772311252719984810 info_19_41f483f58b0b3ec02b28f537717c32ed info_19_image-20141209-32171-155o7ja

Modern Infographs:

info_19_large info_Global-Emissions info_4709496785_bdac3a8161_z info_On-Words-Political-Infographic info_19_9a849c80838cb568a232f6ab45ad6d97_l



Sfumato_20160103_infographic-Epiphany-web Sfumato_20160105_infographic-Gravitas-web

For these I was just looking at how they were handling the woodcut illustrations and information.


Perfume Exhibitions:

I also looked into how historical perfume is normally presented.

  • the international perfume museum–an-immersive-multi-sensory-perfume-jou/

  • about the grand museum of perfume in paris

I looked at the Grand Museum of Perfume in Paris but I cannot put the URL here because it does not come up correctly

  • the grand museum of perfume in paris which is more about the sensation of olfaction than historical info about perfume


  • once upon a time perfume scratch n’ sniff book by Annick Le Guérer


  • about the company Osmotheque

  • Osmotheque blog where they talk about different materials and other news … that is written in French





I got a good amount of information about 19th century perfume from this book.

IMG_0034 IMG_0033

These are the books that I pulled all of my woodtype from.





These are sketches of my ideas for infographs.


First Infographs:

perfume infograph-01


perfume infograph_2-01

The final infograph was a compilation of these two. I made two initially because I was not sure how the information should be presented. so one is a graphed timeline and the other is strictly a timeline.


inforgraph_2_vert_1-01 inforgraph_2_vert_2-01 inforgraph_2_vert_3-01 inforgraph_2_vert_4-01 inforgraph_2_vert_5-01 inforgraph_3_vert_1-01


Final Infographic:


This final piece is meant to be displayed as part of a website article where
one would only see part of the infograph at one time.

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