Packaging Innovation
barrier-free packaging design
January 25, 2016

Is your packaging design barrier-free?  

There are only few things more annoying to consumers than trying to prepare a meal and being unable to open the packaging of an ingredient because the design is not consumer-friendly. Unsurprisingly, wrap rage (the act of opening packaging by means of a sharp tool) is a major cause of minor injuries among no less than two thirds of consumers. Is your packaging design barrier-free? Read on and find out!

Packaging design for the average consumer

Research has shown that consumers tend to experience most difficulty with flat plastic trays (often used for packaging cheese and cold meat slices), screw tops and food tins without easy-to open ends. What’s more, as the average consumer is getting older, packaging designers and manufacturers need to adapt their products in order to cater to elderly people too – at least if they want to avoid losing out on revenue. Older consumers often find today’s packaging to be illegible and/or difficult to understand.

The basics of barrier-free packaging

More and more consumers are adapting their purchasing behavior, favoring packaging without stumbling blocks. Making your packaging design barrier-free is, in other words, a must if you want to keep up with the competition. Contrary to what many designers believe, barrier-free packaging doesn’t have to be expensive, nor does it have to interfere with a great packaging design. A few tips to create a successful barrier-free packaging design:
  • Use a big font.
  • Use clear, contrasting colors.
  • Divide information into logical units.
  • Highlight important information (e.g. allergy advice).
  • Highlight the opening (and closing) functions.
  • Use an opening principle the consumer can intuitively understand.
  • Ask a focus group to try out the packaging.

Leerdammer for the win

This packaging design for Leerdammer cheese is an excellent example of good barrier-free packaging. The opening and closing edge is clearly visible thanks to red and green markings accompanied by arrows, and the tear tab is large and robust enough for the consumer to easily get a hold of and tear without breaking.   Inspired by Interpack