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Packaging Lessons From the One-handed World

By: Kelley Styring
Posted: July 10, 2012, from the August 2012 issue of GCI Magazine.
Hand holding a tube of red lipstick

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Design matters. Predictable and intuitive design becomes inherently easier to manipulate. Dispensing can be a design parameter, negating packaging. How can the package become the product? For example, the “one-handed stabilization and manipulation” platform identifies products that require one hand to do two different jobs: stabilize an item and manipulate it at the same time, such as opening a jar. In the one-handed world, a product like that is a failure for the consumer.

Another platform is “toothiness.” Despite the objections of dentists, many consumers use their teeth as a sort of third hand and this, when employed safely, also can be a beneficial tool.

Essentially, it’s all about facilitating usage. People are changing, and there are opportunities to increase usage, loyalty and sales. Those companies and brands that look ahead and change their designs with one-handedness in mind can win big.

Kelley Styring is an insatiably curious, fearless and passionate innovator. Her firm, InsightFarm, helps her clients discover new opportunities for growth through consumer insight. The Procter & Gamble and Frito-Lay market research veteran also is a marketing industry speaker and has authored several studies and books on consumer behavior and trends. For more information, go to