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Enjoying the Sensory Experience of Good

My sister is a graphic designer and often talks to me about white space, fonts and design principles. So much so that over the years my own appreciation of well-designed presentations, objects and experiences has grown. And, given that I am sensory scientist at Sensory Spectrum, I practically salivate over those experiences in which the sensory cues are purposely designed. I am especially tickled when good design shows up in the everyday interactions.

Take the Snickers Bar. A relatively inexpensive everyday kind of treat. What is not to like about a confection that is a blend of milk chocolate, caramel, roasted peanuts and nougat? A delight to be sure. It is also a well-designed sensory experience…. As you bring it up to your lips you notice chocolate notes mixed with vanilla and cooked milk. A tease to what is to come.

milk chocolate, caramel, roasted peanuts and nougat
Milk chocolate, caramel, roasted peanuts and nougat.

You bite into it and after an initial resistance it breaks and brown roasted peanut and caramel notes mixed with sweetness appear. You continue to chew and the separate layers coalesce into each other with each chew. The hardness of the nuts, the chocolate melting into the caramel. The flavor notes of roasted peanut, caramel, milk chocolate, vanilla, sweetness, saltiness sing into your mouth like notes of a song. All in harmony, all in balance.

Balls of different sizes being balanced.
All in harmony and balance.

Finally, you swallow and are left with a sweet finish of caramel and roasted chocolate and peanut notes and no sticky residue or large dry peanut chunks. Any frustrating residue is gone. All the layers have disappeared together.

Beautiful design. Sensory bliss.

Yes, this is how I experience a Snicker’s bar.

What sensory experience do you think is well designed? My Sensory Spectrum co-workers and I are always interested in talking about what we taste, smell, feel, hear and see. And if you want to develop your tasting skills further, please join us at one of our public short course on Flavor Spectrum Descriptive Analysis and learn the language of flavor description.


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