Kate Prior has helped re-imagine travel destinations as air fresheners

The illustrator recently collaborated with Earl of East to depict the essences of its travel inspired fragrances after months upon months of travel restrictions make us crave much-missed summer destinations.

8 September 2021

Well-loved London-based illustrator Kate Prior who’s known for her joyful visions and “tongue-in-cheek style” has stripped back her signature aesthetic for Earl of East’s ten scented air fresheners.

Paul and Niko of Earl of East wanted black line work only – “the simpler the better,” says Prior. She continues that she realised during the brief she can sometimes “use colour as a crutch. With these designs I had to ensure they were structurally strong and that I was happy with them from the very start of the process.”

Prior tried to capture the essence of each location in a single illustration, which she claims was the key element to this project and one that the illustrator “really enjoyed”. One of her personal favourites is the worship of cherry tomatoes displayed on a classic Ionic column, which is inspired by the beauty of Greece for their Greenhouse scent.

“We kicked off the project with an initial video chat where Paul and Niko talked me through the plans for the product and exactly what they were looking for from me,” Prior tells It’s Nice That of her design process. The brand pair shared their summer mood board with her which was “really useful to get an overview of the atmosphere they were looking to capture”. She then conducted her own research by reading about the background of each scent “and how the brand goes about representing and celebrating them”.


Sarah Bates: Earl of East x Kate Prior (Copyright © Earl of East, 2021)

Afterwards, she sketched ideas as they came to her and then finalised two to three ideas per scent to share with Paul and Niko. “They then picked the routes they liked and I moved to the final illustration and typeface mock-up,” she tells us.

The main challenge for the artist was capturing an invisible sense – smell – using minimalistic line drawings. She had to strike a balance between an initial gut feeling and rigorous research “to make sure I wasn’t being too abstract nor too obvious.” This meant “staying away from stereotypes and thinking more laterally, ouch!”

The artist is a self-proclaimed big fan of the brand – “I was tempted to ask for payment in the form of store credit” – so it was exciting for her to be asked to collaborate with them. “I worked on this earlier in the year when things felt more locked down,” she informs us, “so getting to think about the joys and sensations of travel offered some good escapism.”

GalleryKate Prior: Earl of East Air Fresheners (Copyright © Earl of East, 2021)

GallerySarah Bates: Earl of East x Kate Prior (Copyright © Earl of East, 2021)

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Sarah Bates: Earl of East x Kate Prior (Copyright © Earl of East, 2021)

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About the Author

Dalia Al-Dujaili

Dalia is a freelance writer, producer and editor based in London. She’s currently the digital editor of Azeema, and the editor-in-chief of The Road to Nowhere Magazine. Previously, she was news writer at It’s Nice That, after graduating in English Literature from The University of Edinburgh.

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