Over 65s can inspire design for everyone and the packaging industry needs to evolve. Brands that fail to take into account the UK’s ageing population when designing and innovating products are missing out on huge opportunities, say Sun Branding Solutions in their recently launched whitepaper. Our 'In-Common' research and our 10 principles of Intergenerational Design feature heavily.

Sun Branding Solutions argue in a new whitepaper, 'Age Repackaged – How brands can benefit from (and learn from) an ageing population', that the packaging industry needs to evolve to meet the challenges of a changing demographic.

The whitepaper offers an insight into how brands and retailers can learn from the changing face of demoographics in the UK. It outlines key trends and looks at who’s doing well and where improvements could be made. From product development to pack structure and design, the whitepaper pulls together insights from key industry experts to show how designing for an ageing population can offer a better experience for all.

Three key pointers stand out in the report:
—Design should be for life, not age
—While needs may change, attitudes don’t
—Design should be inclusive, not exclusive

Research from The Age of No Retirement, who contribute to the report, found that people of all ages are more alike than different, and ‘age labels are in danger of holding business back’.

Our study of 2000 people from 18 to 99 showed:
— 83% of all those surveyed felt like they are not like everyone else in their age bracket
— 88% said that brands should focus on needs and interests rather than age
—83% want age-neutral and inclusive brands that are modern and relevant.

Guy Douglass, Creative Strategy Director for brand and packaging design agency Parker Williams, part of the Sun Branding Solutions group, stresses how design can make people’s lives better. Mira Showers wondered how to produce a shower that was easy for older people to use as taps can be difficult to turn on and off when you have arthritis. What they came up with is a shower that was easier for everyone to use. 'It was a light bulb moment for the product designers,' he says.

Designers developing the new Ford Focus back in 2000 wore age suits to feel what it was like to drive and get in and out of a car as an older person. As a result the car featured a higher driving position for better visibility, switches that were easy to reach, a spacious interior and boot and was easy to enter.

Waitrose has launched salad bags that have half and half feature where the bag is sealed down the middle aimed at single people of all ages.

"Older people don’t necessarily feel old. They definitely don’t want brands to make them feel old. And they don’t want to be talked down to. Getting it right will directly impact a business’ bottom line."

Sonia Whiteley-Guest, Group Commercial director, Sun Branding Solutions

Guy Douglass, Strategy Director, Parker Williams

Amazon frustration-free packaging™ has been around in the UK since 2008, and promises to be ‘easier to open, with an unwrapping time of 42 seconds compared with 11 minutes for the usual pack. This is still the exception not the norm. 

Nespresso have recently broken the mould though with a carton that opens like a flower making it easy to get the heavy machine out of the box and on to the counter. This small change can make a huge difference to the user experience and change.

"Inclusive design is so much more appropriate than exclusive design."

Guy Douglass, Strategy Director, Parker Williams

Sonia Whiteley-Guest, group commercial director of Sun Branding Solutions said, 'Older people don’t necessarily feel old. They definitely don’t want brands to make them feel old. And they don’t want to be talked down to. Getting it right will directly impact a business’ bottom line.'

Guy Douglass from Parker Williams added: 'Inclusive design is so much more appropriate than exclusive design.'

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You can read the full report here

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