New Packaging Design Guidelines Target Chronic Pain

A collaboration between the Arthritis Foundation and Target provides designers and engineers with a resource for developing easy-to-use packaging.

Kassandra Kania, Freelance Writer

June 9, 2024

2 Min Read
Steve Prezant / The Image Bank via Getty Images

At a Glance

  • Two of six guidelines have been released, with both focusing on rigid packaging.
  • Guidelines identify common issues and offer recommendations for improvements.

For the millions of people who suffer from arthritis, handling and opening medications can be a difficult and painful task. To improve accessibility for people with arthritis who suffer from mobility limitations, the Arthritis Foundation has partnered with Target to produce ease-of-use guidelines aimed at helping packaging engineers and designers in the requirements definition and design development stage.

The first two guidelines, released in May, focus on rigid packaging. Four additional guides are in development and will cover the household goods categories.


The Bottles and Bases guide covers bottles with and without handles, tubs, fiber composite cans, jars, and aluminum cans. For each container type, the guide details common transporting, opening, and dispensing issues and offers potential solutions. For example, people with arthritis may have difficulty removing an inner seal. Recommendations include limiting the amount of force required to remove the seal to 3 pounds or less; providing an adequate grasp point for the removal of the inner seal; and ensuring the grasp point has a sufficient coefficient of friction.


Similarly, the guide titled Components offers detailed descriptions, population input, and potential solutions for pumps and trigger sprayers, as well as flip top, disc top, twist off, and spray cap closures. Considerations for packaging designers and engineers include user fatigue after prolonged use, excessive grip span, and pressure across finger joints. Recommendation highlights include a comfortable grasp area, easy-open lids, low dispense force, and easy-to-remove seals or caps.

Stamp of approval.

The partnership is supported by the Arthritis Foundation’s Ease of Use Certification program, which recognizes products and packaging that have been tested, approved, and certified as easy to use for people who live with arthritis and chronic pain. Each product and package considered for the Ease of Use program is first independently tested by the Intuitive Design Applied Research Institute (IDARI). Upon receiving a favorable review, they are eligible to license the Ease of Use Certified seal.

Target is funding the research and contributing to the illustrations, photographs, and graphic design of the guides.

About the Author(s)

Kassandra Kania

Freelance Writer

Kassandra Kania is a freelance writer based in Charlotte, NC. She has written extensively about healthcare packaging for a variety of publications.

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