Elma Sarajlija

Harvard College 2021

FINAL Sensual/Sensory Challenge - Team 4: Elma Sarajlija, Jamie Caines, Oswaldo Ambrosio, Annie Harrigan

 Design 1 - Tree Stump 

The experience our team designed is the feeling of being out in nature as well as all of the natural elements humans are exposed to while participating in outdoor activities. 

In order to achieve this experience we focused heavily on designing our chocolate so as to stimulate consumer touch in the hopes that it would emulate the experience of facing the natural elements one encounters while outdoors 

Theory Summary 

The tree stump is a design intended to give users the feeling that they are in the woods and one with nature. In order to achieve this sensation of being outdoors we focused primarily on product touch. According to Krishna, touch is one of the most important human senses and so it was important for us to stimulate this sense by making sure that the tree stump design incorporated elements that the user could experience via touch. More specifically, we made sure that the bark on the tree stump was embedded in the design to simulate the feeling of bark when the consumer touched the chocolate and held it in their hands before consumption. In addition, we extruded each “ring” of the top of the exposed tree stump—creating an almost stepping stone appearance. We did this because we wanted the consumer to be able to touch the ring design with their tongue / mouth just as they bit into the chocolate. Ultimately, we designed the tree stump in such a way that touch would allow consumers to experience the great outdoors in the comfort of their home or office while enjoying a delicious chocolate. 

The perception we intended consumers to have is that the tree stump is symbolic of nature and, more specifically, the human experience while in nature. The way we went about creating this perception is by: (1) designing a tree stump which is naturally only observed in outdoor settings, (2) ensuring that the tree stump itself was designed in such a way that consumers could feel the “rough bark” and the “curvy rings.” A significant part of the outdoor experience are the forces of nature one experiences (e.g., the wind hitting your face, the grass brushing up against your ankles, the leaves crunching beneath your sneakers). As a result, it was paramount for us to create the perception that this tree stump chocolate represents the natural elements humans are exposed to while in the wilderness. 

The assumptions we are making about the mental stimulation of the experience is that consuming the tree stump will remind users of nature, the outdoors, and generally the feeling of being in the woods. We imagined that these chocolates would be consumed indoors, and that consuming these unique chocolates would transport consumers back to memories of hiking, kayaking, and participating in other outdoor activities. 

Consumer Journey Map 


This is a mock-up of what kind of packing we should employ and it’s respective colors. These would be wrapped with foil like easter bunny chocolates. 

Reflection Summary 

Elma: My favorite part of this design challenge was actually designing the chocolate and exploring the different tools in CAD. Shout out to Griffin for being a huge help in my designing the bark on the tree stump. Something I would do differently in my design process if I were to do it over again is focus more on the taste of the chocolate itself. I think I spent so much time focusing on designing the chocolate that I paid less attention to taste and flavor. Based on our guest lectures as well as personal experience, it is clear that taste plays an important role in the success of chocolate products. Consequently, if I were given a do over, I would make sure to devote more time to planning out what the chocolate would taste like, what flavors I would incorporate (e.g., caramel, marzipan, marshmallow). 

Oswaldo: My favorite part of this challenge was the process of making the chocolate itself. Seeing the full process of designing our chocolates, thinking about the kind of sensual effect we wanted, getting our molds, and finally making the chocolate was an incredibly rewarding experience. For me, the most influential aspect of class was during the session with the two chocolatiers. Their love and passion for making chocolate was incredibly apparent and making the chocolate, I understood the feeling. I also really enjoyed working with the team on this project. This team felt like an easy, flowing, non-judgemental space where each of us felt comfortable contributing our ideas. Together, it felt like we were able to come up with something all of us were happy with! 


Design 2 - Wishbone


The key experience we designed for this product centered around the act of sharing a food item with another person.

We intentionally designed the shape and flavor combination to encourage sharing behavior in an effort to promote the feelings centered around sharing food: namely, warmth, joy, and intimacy (not necessarily romantic, but intimacy in the sense that you would share with only one other person at a time, presumably in close proximity). 


The primary objective of the design is to encourage sharing. The user experience is meant to be one of two people sharing a chocolate treat. Sharing food is often characterized by warm and happy emotions, and that was what our team wanted for the end user.

We are assuming that the action of opening and enjoying the chocolate occurs with another person. Another assumption is that the breaking of a wishbone is a common experience that the user would have heard of, if not participated in themselves.

The intended perception is that the chocolate teardrop-shaped wishbone symbolizes unity. The milk and white chocolate flavors are very clearly differentiated, but both sides are joined in one item. A wishbone is shaped in such a way that there are two sides, and it is relatively easily broken. Similarly, the shape and dual flavors of the chocolate encourages splitting. The two flavors also symbolize two halves coming together to form one object, similar to yin and yang imagery, and the “opposites attract” mantra of romance. The packaging follows this imagery in that the colors are a romantic crimson red, and the word “wish” that is repeated along the box is meant to convey feelings of almost romantic optimism and hope.

In summary, the sensuality comes in the appearance, the consumption, and the cognition of the chocolate. The appearance encourages a physical action of breaking the chocolate, tying into the cognitive component, as our team thought of wishbones as objects from childhood memory, so a bit of nostalgia and reminiscing would occur while enjoying a fresh experience with someone in the present.

Consumer Journey Map


Reflection Summary

Jamie: My favorite part of this design was the intention. The concept of enjoying food with someone else elicits warm feelings and is something I often do. Especially since this challenge was started near Valentine’s Day, the feelings surrounding the act of sharing something were quite prominent in products, advertisements, and events during that time. I was happy to be able to capture that in the design. Additionally, although the design appeared to be robust enough for the physical prototype in Fusion360, it was clear after making the chocolates that the connection between the two teardrops was too thin. In a future iteration of the design, that connection would be made thicker, or perhaps have more height to it. We acknowledge Griffin’s help in smoothing out the design, as he pointed out a few techniques to make sure the teardrop looked as realistic and smooth as possible. This smoothness was quite important to the warm sharing feelings we hoped to evoke, as jagged edges may distract the consumer or go against the effect of a softer warmer mood.

Annie: My favorite part of this challenge was crafting the packaging. As a visual artist whose main platform is Procreate, it was pretty easy for me to just pick up my iPad and come up with a sketch for the packaging. Working out slogans and a name for our chocolat with my team, deciding on a color scheme, and determining what kind of packaging we wanted was just extremely fun. We went with red for our packaging because it was eye catching and went with our running theme of love that we want people to pick up on when they buy this chocolate. The name “Wishbone” comes from the way you break apart and share the chocolate. The name also evokes feelings of nostalgia for the consumer, reminding them of their childhood breaking apart wishbones with their friends and families. The slogan “it’ll leave you wishing for more” came from Elma, and it was the perfect corny fit for our corny but cute chocolate. Incorporating the actual look of the chocolate into the design was the most important part in designing the packaging for me. I knew that I wanted people to see what the chocolate looked like when they saw the packaging. I was inspired by boxes of Easter bunny chocolate that has sort of a window into the packaging where you can see the bunny, but the chocolate and its structure were still very protected. I hope that all of the elements of this packaging from the bright red of the box, to the nostalgia-inducing name, to the cheesy slogan, to actually seeing the product that’s inside would inspire real life consumers to try out “Wishbone.”


Process of Making Chocolates