Make Your Packaging Design a Success With Seniors

According to a 2015 report by Statistics Canada, there are now more people in Canada ages 65 and over than there are under the age of 15. Seniors are the largest demographic in Canada and globally the senior population is growing. Many of these consumers may be familiar with your products. However, as this segment ages, they are more inclined to opt for products that are affordable and accessible. Seniors are willing to pay a premium for quality products. The elderly have specific needs, so it’s essential that marketers design with seniors in mind.

Have you ever struggled to open a can of food after a long day? It’s a frustrating feeling that leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Similarly, imagine trying to read important instructions on a package printed in a small, eligible font. Would you recommend that product to friends and family? Likely not.

Consumers from all demographics can benefit from designs that are accessible. According to a 2010 study, 79% of users are a “target for inclusive design.” And as the senior population grows it’s crucial companies design with a crucial eye.

Here is a guide to how to make your next packaging design a success with seniors.

Make your packaging easy to open

The e-commerce giant Amazon has recognized the perils consumers face when dealing with hard to use, clunky packaging. It now certifies and promotes companies that create “frustration-free” packaging. Companies with packaging that is recyclable and easy to open get rewarded by the company with free certification and special promotions. Consumers are specifically searching for uncomplicated packaging, so take the time to design something for your audience that is accessible.

According to Amazon’s sites, 42 seconds or less is the ideal time it should take for your consumer to unpackage your product.

To make your packaging easy to open, consider the following packaging designs:

  • Packaging that can be opened and resealed using a zipper.
  • Packaging that has perforated edges at the top, to tear easily.
  • Packaging with the words ‘tear here’ in a bold font that illustrates where consumers should open the packaging.
  • Boxes with bent corners that peel back to open.


Make your packaging easy to read

In today’s market, small packaging is ideal as retailers have limited shelf space and shippers want compact packaging. However, this presents a challenge for fitting your text on your packaging. One way you can make the most out of your packaging is by using images and symbols to illustrate instructions or give insights on the product. For example, rather than writing a paragraph about the organic cotton you use in your t-shirts, use the organic certification symbol on your packaging. Similarly, you can save space by using small graphics to give the user instructions.

Some elderly consumers may not be able to read your packaging due to visual impairments.  So, in addition to large fonts, consider incorporating braille on your packaging. Braille is a writing system that lets people living with visual impairments read information on your packaging.  (For more, see: Promoting Brand Loyalty With Accessible Design)

According to an online poll in 2015 by Packaging Digest, only 39% of professionals always consider seniors needs. More broadly, 38% of companies are not addressing the issue of creating the need for accessible packaging.  By designing with an inclusive eye, you can establish your reputation as an accessible company and step up above your industry peers.