Bond No 9 Reconsiders Brooklyn Bottle Design

If you’ve been following my fragrant conversation, you know I’m not a hater. I only write about things I like. But my post about Bond No 9’s Brooklyn wouldn’t have been complete without airing my true feelings about the bottle’s design. Well, I am happy to report they are holding a design competition for its redesign. Thank God. I am loving the scent but the bottle…

Anyhow, here’s the official word:

“throughout March 2009, Bond No. 9 invites everyone—amateurs and artists alike—to join our Brooklyn Bottle Design Competition and create additional visuals for this contemporary male-oriented cardamom-cedarwood eau de parfum.

Ground Rules

Create your design to fit within the outline of the Bond No. 9 superstar flacon and to include our circular “token” logo. (See outline with logo, attached to this press release, and also downloadable at

Any style, figurative or abstract, is fine with us.

Inspiration can come from anywhere in Brooklyn—DUMBO, Park Slope, Flatbush, Canarsie, Midwood, Bay Ridge, et al.—or from the very idea of Brooklyn.

Any medium is okay: oil, acrylic, watercolor, house paint, pastel, crayon, Magic Marker, makeup—even a ballpoint pen or pencil will do.

Completed designs should be submitted to or Bond No. 9, 9 Bond Street, New York, NY 10012 by March 31, 2009.

After our two winners are chosen in early April, we’ll put the victorious designs into production, with the winner’s names displayed on the bottles. Each winner will also receive one bottle of Brooklyn per month for a year.

Brooklyn stand up!!!



12 responses to “Bond No 9 Reconsiders Brooklyn Bottle Design

  1. This is great. Grafitit as a bottle design is so passe. Brooklyn is so much more beautiful than that. I can’t wait to see what they come up with.

  2. I 100% disagree with you. This bottle is perfection. Bond No.9 not only has the best and sometimes unique scents on the market, it also has the bottle designs to match.

    Bond No.9’s whole mission is to celebrate different aspects of NYC in a post-9/11 world (that’s when/how the founder conceived the idea). Graffiti is still an integral part of the landscape of every borough – and it deserves homage somewhere in the collection.

    I’m surprised they are doing this – I’ll be really disappointed if the new design looks like the Brooklyn Bridge!


  3. In response to the comment Mr. Grill left; Graffiti is still an integral part of of the landscape of every borough – and it deserves homage somewhere in the collection, is a valid statement no doubt, but even you attested in your statement EVERY BOROUGH owns that. This particular scent is about Brooklyn, and Brooklyn is a particular borough, with it’s own rich history, cultural identity, and social nuances independent of the other boroughs… thinking ’twas the reason why its called Brooklyn……..and not The Five Boroughs. Bond No.9 took pains to create the fragrance that spoke specifically to a Brooklyn aesthetic, its soul if you will…..then it makes the best sense that body speaks in specifics as well.
    Jerry El – from Crown Heights…….Brooklyn

  4. Graffitti IS a beautiful & integral part of NYC…I don’t think that was necessarily his point. It’s not that graffitti isn’t an artform that shouldn’t be somehow incorporated in the line’s packaging, but more about how and “where” it is used. The original Brooklyn bottle design immediately struck me as old school Bronx, as opposed to Brooklyn. I don’t think the design needs to be as cliche as just a picture of the Brooklyn Bridge to justly represent the borough. I think it’s a nice take to actually let real Brooklynites have it, so to speak. I, too, am very curious to see the new design.

  5. While graffiti is an integral part of the landscape of every borough, I still think it’s an outdated perception of Brooklyn. Brooklyn has come a long way in the last 20 years and is more culturally diverse than ever before. In addition the Brooklyn art scene is HUGE and I think that’s what Bond wants to capture with a new design. Not to mention that to the masses, graffiti still brings along a negative connotation. I don’t think Bond will go with as cliche the Brooklyn Bridge. That would be 2 steps in the wrong direction.

  6. I get the part about graffiti be integral to Brooklyn identity of the past…….but I too think it is a passe concept for the now. Energy-wise Brooklyn is on the pulse of some very fined changes. Having said that, I think it would be nice to look more to the future of this great borough in the design layout of new bottle. After all Gehry is about to enter the house.

  7. One of the most difficult challenges marketers face is developing something that is both original and lasting. One of the most difficult challenges we face as individuals is to look at the world from a perspective that is broader than our own.

    It is not surprising that Bond went with graffiti in it’s original design (that was a bit of a lay-up), and it is not surprising that they re-thought it after a significant amount of negative reactions. After all, graffiti is still closely associated with Hip Hop, and Hip Hop is still, despite it’s pervasiveness, seen as a Black and Hispanic art form. The general market has appropriated Hip Hop as needed, but there is still a distance. Still.

    Brooklyn means something different to everyone. If you’re a Brooklyn native, African American and in your 30’s it is likely you have a very different perspective than the 50 or 60 year-old Chinese American who is also a native.

    That said, Bond had the challenge of speaking to it’s target audience and paying homage to a borough that is so large and diverse that if it were a city it would be the nation’s 4th or 5th largest. Not an easy task.

    I think this is all very healthy and that there is no right answer.

    I love Brooklyn. I love art. I love smelling great.

    So either way this goes, I’m good.

  8. Wow! Barney your voice and others were heard. So cool that a bottle design has sparked such passion! I will have to try this one.

  9. Who knew the design of a fragrance bottle could elicit such interesting debate??

    I actually kinda like the design myself, but tend to agree with Dexter that it’s somewhat of a lay-up. I also think it’s important to know which demographic the company was targeting with its design and fragrance. I get the impression that the company was targeting the 30-40 something, urban contemporary crowd and I think that graffitti, for all its negative connotations, resonates with this group. So, while a lay-up, it wasn’t a blown lay-up.

    As a member of the target demographic and a native Brooklynite, I can say that Brooklyn represents for me the (somewhat) contradictory attributes of “gritty sophistication” that is captured in the bespoke suit worn easily with a pair of Chuck Taylors, the tailored sport coat paired with a negro league baseball cap, philosophizing in the comfort of the neighborhood barber shop. Whatever design is selected, I hope that it embodies this uniquely Brooklyn flavor.

    BTW – Barney: Love this blog! Keep it flowing!

  10. I love the Design. I think it’s Funky and very eye catching.

  11. Dexter Wimberly


    Please consider the following New York Times article an expansion on the idea of just “What is Brooklyn?” Though it is not about fragrance, it reminded me of your blog entry about Bond No 9’s Brooklyn Bottle Design, and I wanted to share it with you and your readers.


    “Where Is the New Brooklyn?”
    New York TImes – Published March 11, 2009

  12. jerry l. farmer

    I received a sample of Bond No.9’s Brooklyn fragrance a few days ago…..In my opinion it is an excellent representation of the borough that raised me. There is a gritty sensuality about it, that is immediately evident the moment you spray it…it says to me “indulge, but don’t over do it!” I have used it purely by itself, & on top of oil of cocoa butter and I tell you it was a conversation starter in both aspects. Its spicyness [sic] is a distinct & dignified note that is to be taken seriously, and I feel like although it can be used as an everyday scent, a good number of us may use it as a tuxedo. I will definitely be making this fragrance a part of the family, once it becomes available for purchase!

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