Back in the 90's and early 00's, personal websites as a form of self-expression were very popular among teenagers and twentysomethings. Web cliques were especially pervasive, and everyone who had their own site had splash pages that may or may not use Javascript pop-ups to control how the layout looks in 800x600 resolution peppered with text codes or blinkies signifying their belongingness to a group premised around a particular theme. One clique stood out in particular: Tira's brainchild, Scented Angels (S.A.), which was so popular that by the time I joined, it did not even have a members' list because the owner could not keep up with the number of submissions.

The purpose of S.A. was for members to claim a flavor that represents the color scheme of their current layout. It was, to me, quite a brilliant way of combining the senses to foster creative output, and absolutely loved the idea. The clique however seemed to disappear sometime in 2006, when its host domain expired. :(

I returned to designing personal sites as a hobby in 2017 after a five-year hiatus, and was feeling nostalgic for the things I enjoyed as a teen. To this day I still cannot forget how original of an idea S.A. was, and how it fit my design tendencies as a hobbyist (since I tend to change layouts my sites every few months). I wanted to use the text code for my domain splash page, but did not want to link to an archived site. So rather than "revive" the clique (which, obviously, I would have preferred, but I have no way of contacting Tira two decades after the clique was closed), I thought I'd create a tribute to it instead—a little snapshot of a time gone by.♥



The premise behind Tira's original clique was synesthetic: it allowed members to claim a flavor or scent that matches the color scheme of their current layout. From minty fresh (light green) to cotton candy (pastel blue and/or pink) to rainbow sprinkles (various colors), it was a dynamic place for site owners to return to everytime they decide they need a new look for their sites, which are basically their online homes. I loved the idea and thought it was supremely clever.

The clique was limited to claiming flavors and scents, from food or perfume, or from other natural sources, and for good (logical) reason. However, it became so popular that parody/imitation cliques (according to the owner) popped up to make fun of it; for instance, rather than go with a scents that actually made sense, people would invent flavors completely disconnected from the proper sense—e.g., "glitter" [sight] or "cold" [temperature], or the name of a cartoon character [absolutely not a flavor].

To make sure members actually follow the main rule, Tira offered a delightful list of suggested flavors. Aside from ensuring resonability in claims, it was also useful for site owners who had no idea what scents could go with the colors they used. Here are a few of my favorite ones:

vanilla · bubblegum · pineforest · spring grass · cheddar · bananaswirl · sea breeze · ocean spray · seafoam · earl grey · smoke · ink · café mocha · strawberry lip gloss · peppermint

Members are however not limited to the ones on the list. The beauty of the clique was that it provided each member complete control over how to designate the scent of his/her site. Since there was no members' list maintained, part of its appeal aside from how cool the text code looked on the splash page was the ease and flexibility it afforded members to change their taste claims as often as they want. Because it encouraged creativity by stimulating the imagination, it was quite a lovely way to connect webdesigners.



This small tribute is created by Ainna, and is part of her Northstar.nu collective. Scented was officially launched on Nov. 1, 2019. View updates »

Contact me for comments or questions.

The lovely art used here is by Yuumei, the use of which is guided by the artist's nonprofit license. The design is meant to mimic a postcard, as this little site is a "love letter" of sorts to a beloved web clique. Full credits and disclaimers are declared in Fine Print.



Project Clique · The Nostalgia Project · Northstar.nu · Ainna.me

If you have a similar site and want to exchange links, please don't hesitate to contact me. :) And in case you're (also) feeling sentimental and would want to link back to this site (http://scented.minty.nu), it may be fitting to imitate the format of the S.A.'s original text code:

scented // your chosen flavor

Replace "your chosen flavor" with the one that matches your site, of course. If you do link back, please let me know! I'm always happy to hear from others who appreciate how genius Tira's original clique idea was. ♥


SCENTED is Ainna’s homage to the widely-popular late 90's text clique, Scented Angels, created by Tira.