ISO releases accessible packaging design guide

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has issued guidelines on designing easy-to-use packaging.

The standard, ISO 11156:2011 Packaging – Accessible design – General requirements​, provides a framework for the design of packaging and packaged products that are easier to use for the elderly, those with disabilities - as well as consumers as a whole, said the Switzerland-based body.

It complies with ISO/TR 22411:2008 and ISO/IEC Guide 71:2001 - aimed mainly at designers and evaluators working in the field of standardization. The standard can also be used by manufacturers, laboratories and service providers.

Aspects of accessible packaging

The guide outlines the major requirements for easier use packaging – including information and markings, handling and manipulation and an evaluation of accessible packaging design.

Its three annexes examine, firstly, the structure for accessible design and how the standard fits in with other ISO guides. Annexe B sets out a framework of considerations for testing accessibility while the final part gives some examples of accessible packaging. These include ‘tactile cues’ – such as putting a notch on a container to allow consumers to differentiate product type by touch or pinched waist bottles for ease of handling.

Economic sense

Dr Ken Sagawa, Convenor of the working group that developed the standard comments: “Around the globe packaged products are used by increasingly older individuals. What’s more, globalization results in the circulation of packages across borders, causing problems due to differences in language and culture.

“This standard, and some related standards to follow, will help a greater number of individuals to use packaged products without the restrictions often imposed by age or disability or national differences.”

He added that the design and manufacture of easy-opening packaging also made business sense.

“The economic benefit is that products developed using accessible design will be able to be purchased by a wider range of people, including older persons and those with disabilities, who are now a significant proportion of consumers with potential buying power,”​ said Dr Sagawa.

ISO 11156:2011, Packaging – Accessible design – General requirement, is available from the ISO and its national member institutes priced CHF 80.

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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