"Inscentives" - Otherland Candles


Problem-solving with scratch-n-sniff stickers.


It’s hard to guess a blended scent by a description. Online-only candle retailers such as Otherland could benefit from using scratch-n-sniff stickers to attract additional candle sales and reduce the number of product returns.


Warning: This blog post contains bad puns, including the title.


I am a Packaging Aficionado.

Growing up, I never had much interest in candles, but I always had an appreciation for nice packaging. I often found myself keeping the packaging for certain toys or electronics, because I thought they looked better in the box than without it. Back in December, I was looking for gift ideas, and came across the candle company, Otherland. I found the product photos of the candles to be beautiful, and was willing to give candles a second chance.

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The smell of amber?

I have a lot of trouble figuring out what a candle will smell like by the scent description. The “Rattan” candle’s scent profile is described as sandalwood, amber and moss. I’m not sure what sandalwood or amber smell like at all, and only have a vague inkling of moss. The combination of the scents eludes me completely. The challenge is that Otherland is currently an exclusively online retailer, meaning there is no way to smell firsthand before purchasing.

Given the lack of imagination on the part of my sense of smell, I opted for reading reviews and watching unboxing videos. The consensus seemed to be that Otherland candles smelled good, and the unboxing experience was particularly noteworthy. I was sold.



It turns out I’m “scent-sitive”.

Opening my candle was as joyful for me as Christmas. The packaging was phenomenal. The candle scent however, was not what I was expecting, despite not knowing entirely what to expect. The scent gave me a mild headache. I managed to burn through the candle, but more so for the visual joy, over the scent itself. Although the experience with “Rattan” was not ideal, I still found myself curious about the other scents, but was not willing to buy all of them to find out which one I liked the most.



A throwback sticker solution for a modern problem.


I remember the era of scratch-n-sniff stickers. I haven’t seen any recently, but I believe there is a unique opportunity to use them to “sample” Otherland’s candle scents. Essentially, any scent can be printed on paper, and scratch-n-sniff stickers use the same basic technology as the perfume samples in magazines.

Otherland has a “core collection” of scents as well as seasonal offerings, meaning there could reasonably be an investment to make stickers for the core collection to drive interest toward additional candles. One candle may have given me a headache, but that doesn’t mean I’m sworn off their candles forever. I just need a little “inscentive”.

Prescent: A scent sampler for Otherland


Design Details

Brand basis.

The sticker image is same as the decal on the front of the candle, so the scent is easily traced back to the corresponding product, along with candle name and scent profile. Additionally, Red Antler, the company behind Otherland’s branding, quotes a description of Otherland as “Something so meticulously designed you’d think a jeweler was presenting you with a rare gem.”

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Another product reminiscent of gems are gem plates I recently stumbled across at the MoMA Design Store, which share a similar attention to craftsmanship as well as color palette to Otherland.

The physical layout of the plates featuring different shaped gems in square boxes was an inspiration for the sticker layout, maintaining clean rows, over staggering. Colors and fonts were also pulled from Otherland’s website and online materials.