The Power of Inclusive Packaging Boost Your Brand’s Profile with

By Steve Brownett Gale, Packaging Expert at Lifestyle Packaging

With one in four of the US population living with some form of disability that significantly affects their daily routines and limits their capabilities according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we must create products that are inclusive of all.

When developing inclusive products, brands must first look at accessible product packaging to truly exhibit inclusivity and empathy and distinguish themselves in an increasingly competitive market.

Steve Brownett-Gale from Lifestyle Packaging delves into the critical importance of accessible packaging and how it can elevate your product portfolio.

Understanding Accessible Packaging

Accessible packaging adopts a design mindset that accounts for the diverse needs and abilities of every consumer. Its primary objective is to devise packaging that’s universally intuitive, easy to manage, and user-friendly, regardless of an individual’s physical or cognitive capacities.

At its core, accessible packaging’s mission is to equip all consumers with the autonomy to interact with and make full use of products.

Microsoft’s Inclusive Design Toolkit outlines the core tenets of this design philosophy. These principles center around recognizing exclusion, embracing diversity, and crafting solutions that, while designed for one, benefit many.

But it’s not just about physical accessibility. Ensuring the clarity and understandability of product information is equally crucial so that all consumers, even those with cognitive impairments or literacy barriers, can make informed product choices.

Regulations for Design

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has established directives for inclusive packaging design through ISO 1780:2015.

These directives highlight the importance of easy access and prompt brands to assess factors such as the force needed to open packages, the potential requirement for tools, and the user-friendliness of opening mechanisms.

Further considerations delve into the precise location of openings and the combination of both instrument-driven and user-centric evaluation techniques.

Adhering to these standards ensures that packaging caters to everyone, including those who might have limited strength or dexterity. But the goal stretches beyond mere regulatory compliance; it’s about crafting a product experience that genuinely recognizes and appreciates every consumer.

The Importance of Designing with Empathy

Prioritizing empathy in accessible packaging design is crucial. By adopting a user-focused approach rooted in understanding and compassion, brands can truly connect with consumers, understand their needs, and resonate with their experiences. This approach not only fosters inclusivity but also boosts user satisfaction and cultivates brand loyalty.

It’s essential for brands to grasp the obstacles and pain points consumers face with existing packaging. By viewing challenges from the consumer’s perspective, brands can innovate designs that make everyday tasks simpler.

A standout example in this domain is Xbox. They went the extra mile to embed empathy into their packaging design. Engaging directly with gamers with mobility limitations, they listened to the unique challenges these gamers faced. This feedback was instrumental when Xbox rolled out its Adaptive Controller in 2018.

Xbox designed a packaging solution incorporating features like large looped holes, multiple entry points, a hinge mechanism, and user-friendly ribbon loops—prioritizing easy opening and set-up.

This commitment underscores the profound impact of designing with empathy and inclusivity at the forefront.

Brands Leading the Way

To truly champion accessible packaging, we need to highlight the brands setting the gold standard.

Procter & Gamble stands out as a company overseeing multiple brands, each dedicated to inclusive packaging and accessible design. This commitment is further amplified by their Special Consultant for Inclusive Design, Sam Latif, who, being visually impaired herself, brings a personal perspective to the table.

Their menstrual hygiene product line, Always Discreet, integrates features catering to blind and visually impaired consumers. By incorporating NaviLens technology alongside Braille and large print, the brand ensures these customers can effortlessly identify and utilize their products.

Similarly, the American food manufacturing giant, Kellogg’s, showcases its dedication to accessible packaging. They proactively gather insights from visually impaired consumers to fine-tune their packaging, examining tools like NaviLens technology and Braille.

These brands not only highlight the benefits of accessible packaging but also demonstrate its potential in elevating the customer experience and positioning brands prominently in the market.

Inclusive Design: Empowering Every Consumer

Accessible packaging reaches a broad spectrum of consumers, not just those with disabilities. It benefits seniors, children, and anyone who might find traditional packaging tough to handle. By integrating these inclusive design elements, brands can enhance the user experience, tapping into new customer segments and broadening their reach.

Promoting the advantages of accessible packaging should be at the heart of a brand’s approach. This means highlighting the practical features of the packaging while emphasizing the brand’s commitment to inclusivity. The narrative should resonate with consumers, illustrating that the brand genuinely values and understands its diverse customer base.

As America leans more into an age of inclusivity, evolving packaging designs become critical. Accessible packaging is more than a fleeting trend; it’s a crucial direction for brands aiming for true inclusiveness.

Prioritizing this design not only helps brands distinguish themselves in a saturated market but also connects them more deeply with their consumers. It’s about showcasing empathy and commitment, fostering stronger brand loyalty, and retaining customers. Inclusive packaging is the way forward. Brands ready to embrace this are the ones set to leave a lasting impression.

It’s time for brands to seize the opportunities that accessible packaging offers. This involves investing in R&D, actively engaging with consumers, and partnering with design experts to deliver packaging that’s functional and inclusive.

Channeling resources into accessible packaging isn’t just a wise decision; it’s a growth-oriented move poised to elevate a brand’s status in today’s dynamic, competitive marketplace.

About the Author:

Steve Brownett-Gale is a marketing professional with a career spanning both communications and products in B2B and B2C markets across manufacturing and services sectors. At Lifestyle Packaging, Steve is responsible for positioning the company as a world-leading supplier of innovative and ground-breaking packaging devices, as well as offering a unique and disruptive supply chain model.

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