An Open and Shut Case

Is it just me? Or are there others that have issues opening product packaging correctly? I have a tendency to open certain types of packaging instinctively. For example, I opened a package of Strawberry Newtons last week with total disregard to the instructions printed on the packaging. As soon as I opened it and sat the package down, I saw the message instructing me to “STOP! Open with the Pull Tab on Top.” Of course, at the time I was opening it, what I saw was this:

Newton Packaging

When I originally looked at the packaging (see photo of entire package below), what I thought I saw was a sticky tab (you know, those sticker-type strips that allow you to reseal packaging), so I didn’t think twice and started pulling apart the flap at the end. However, it was actually a pull-tab to open the package. In the end, I’m not sure it really mattered how I opened it. Either way I would have to put the entire package of Newtons in a plastic baggie to keep the contents fresh. If I had used the pull-tab to open the package, I wouldn’t have been able to access to the 4 corners of the inner container (or at least they would be a pain to get to). So, while I felt like a bit of a dunce for opening the package incorrectly, one positive is that I had access to every inch of the inner container by simply sliding it in and out of the outer packaging. (Sometimes it’s the little things in life).

Entire Package

Getting back to design (albeit utilitarian in nature), my blunder made me wonder, was this truly my fault due to oversight and/or instinct? Or is there a better way to design the packaging to communicate the instructions more clearly? I know the answer is yes. With a simple Google search, it turns out that the people at Nabisco think so, too. Where was this version of the package design when I purchased my package of Strawberry Newtons?

The Newtons episode brought to mind a couple of methods used to
open and close packaging that I think are great. First, the Lift ‘n’ Peel™ plastic tab that has been added to the top of round plastic/foil seals. These are awesome.

Lift 'n' Peel Tab

I hope whoever invented this made a fortune because this little piece of plastic makes opening pills, bottles of juice, spices, etc. so much easier. And it’s such a simple idea. I used to search for a sharp object or jam my thumb through the top of containers and then painstakingly peel away the seal. Now, all I have to do is flip-up that thin plastic tab and pull. The entire seal peels off in one smooth motion and in one piece. Love it.

My husband recently purchased some Snack Artist tortilla chips from our local grocery store. Unlike other bags of chips, this one had a resealable top. Again, seems like such a simple idea. Add a Ziploc®-type device to the top of a chip bag and viola! No more searching through drawers for Chip Clips or twisty ties.

What about you? Do you take pleasure in these small, yet impactful, packaging designs? What are some of your favorites?