Opening grips

 

Is the packaging being opened like the producer intended? Opening strategy is relevant because it tells you something about the end user’s perception of the packaging construction. If a packaging is opened differently to what the producer intended it can imply loss of functionality and a packaging developed as being easy to open can appear just the opposite. The opening strategy thus has great significance regarding how much force a person needs to open a packaging. The different types of grip being used in an opening situation are of great importance for how much force one is able to apply. Below we have illustrated 10 of the most frequently used grips for opening a packaging.

 

Understand the opening strategy

Most types of packaging are constructed according to the same general principles and therefore most end users will not give much thought to how they should handle the actual packaging. The strategy chosen depends on previous experience and general strength in arms, hands and fingers. The size of fingers and hands also play a role in the end user’s choice of opening strategy. An understanding of opening strategies is an important tool in packaging design. This knowledge can be obtained by end user studies and observations where the end user’s opening strategy is documented e.g. via video observations

 

Influence the opening strategy

The opening strategy can be influenced by using special graphics making it clearer how the packaging is meant to be opened – see graphics and choice of colour. The packaging design also greatly influences the kind of grip and the choice of opening strategy and thus also the critical force needed by the end user to open the packaging.

 

Examples of grips used depending on screw cap diameter

When opening a screw cap the most frequently used grips are: ball grip, box grip, side grip, mass grip and pole grip (regular as stated in Taylor and Schwartz’ classification or reverse with the ring finger instead of the index finger). The choice of grip depends on the screw cap diameter (see graph on the right). For opening a yoghurt container and bags where the design is quite different the opening strategy – and thereby the kind of grip – will also be different (see Yoxalls’ extended grip classification on the right).

Opening grips

 

Opening strategies 

The diameter influences which grip is chosen: Percentage using each opening grip depending on the screw cap diameter (click the picture for a larger version).  (Packag. Technol. Sci. 2007; 20: 217–229)

 

 

__________________________________________________

 

 

 

Taylor and Schwartz’ grip classification (click on the picture for a larger version).  (Packag. Technol. Sci. 2007; 20: 217–229)

 

 

__________________________________________________

 

 

 

Yoxalls´ extended grip classification (click on the picture for a larger version)  (Packag. Technol. Sci. 2007; 20: 217–229)