It’s estimated that over 22% of the UK population has a disability. Depending on what disability you have, you may need adjustments to the packaging design. Under law by The European Commission, medical packaging is required to use braille to ensure readability for the visually impaired. 

However, this isn’t necessary for everything, and many physical disabilities make it more difficult to use certain things. 

Think about trying to open one of those annoying childproof lids; to some people just a mild inconvenience. To someone with a disability like arthritis, this could be a huge setback on their day and potentially life-threatening if the childproof bottle has their medications. 

Even in the case of just a mild inconvenience, everyone deserves the right to open and use a product without having to struggle with the packaging design! 

Our packaging design agency is interested in all forms of packaging design. Recently, our CuCo Creative team discovered beauty brand Lancome’s groundbreaking AI makeup device that aids people with disabilities. This instantly triggered our curiosity, so our Bournemouth-based packaging design agency began diving further into accessible packaging design. 

What big brands currently use accessible packaging design?

Gaming company Xbox by Microsoft was named Diamond Best of Show winner in the 2019 Pentawards competition. 

They have created a unique user experience with their custom boxes made up of physical touchpoints, visual or material cues and structural elements designed to lead the customer through a logical and seamless unboxing. This makes the product packaging accessible for gamers with limited mobility. 

In addition to being accessible for those with limited mobility, the packaging design is eco-friendly. 

The custom box packaging is fully recyclable, and Xbox plans to be 100% recyclable by 2030, where they also plan to be “carbon negative”. Merging accessibility and sustainability is a dream come true for our sustainable agency and gamers alike! 

Unilever’s deodorant brand Sure (as it’s known in the UK) created a prototype for an accessible roll-on deodorant design back in 2021. Its concept was to be the “world’s first inclusive” deodorant for people with disabilities. The deodorant never appeared on shelves, and testing found that users wanted customisable solutions for particular mobility and dexterity needs.

They found that in trying to be inclusive, they were exclusive. They are now working on plastic accessories that can be made with 3-D printers and attached to existing deodorant sticks that are more customisable.  

Steps you can take to create accessible packaging

This may seem counterproductive, but don’t use braille within your packaging design. Only 7% of people with visual impairments know how to use braille. An easier form of tactile recognition makes more sense for products used in everyday routines, like skincare or haircare.

Hair care brand Herbal Essences have instead opted for a simpler form of tactile markings instead of braille on their shampoos and conditioners, spot texture markings for conditioner and stripe texture markings for their shampoo. 

Large print and high-contrast colours also make your product more accessible, as only a small amount of the visually impaired community is completely blind.

Boxes with easy-open mechanisms, such as tear strips, are great for people with physical disabilities who might otherwise struggle to open a box. 

Accessible packaging design can be eco-friendly, as opting for packaging that doesn’t take a lot of strength to open includes using less heavy styrofoam and other packaging methods that generate a lot of waste.

Why should I take steps to create accessible packaging design?

Simply, if you don’t use accessible packaging design, you’re limiting the number of people who can use your product. 15% of the worldwide population lives with a disability; approximately 1 billion people struggle or can’t use your product without an accessible packaging design. 

That’s not including the number of elderly people who struggle with fiddly packaging design or struggle to see tiny print.

The more accessible your product is, the more people can use it, and the more gauge you have over your competitors. 

Our branding agency is passionate about packaging design. We create packaging design for our clients that takes them to the next level, merging fantastic design and sustainability

Our team of accomplished designer experts can create a beautifully designed (and accessible) packaging design and a branding and marketing journey.