Herbal Essences products.

Herbal Essences is embarking on a new inclusivity initiative meant to help people with visual impairment.

The Procter & Gamble-owned hair-care brand has unveiled today a new bottle design for all of its shampoos and conditioners that will make it easier for people with little to no vision to differentiate between these products. Shampoo bottles will be marked with straight lines and conditioner bottles will be marked with circles.

P&G decided to embark on this initiative after being approached by Sumaira Latif, P&G special consultant for inclusive design, who has visual impairment.

“I’ve tried to lead a normal life and be like everyone else, making sure I look good and can be as normal as possible,” she said. “I couldn’t tell the difference between my shampoo and conditioner bottles, so I had to think of creative ways, like put elastic bands around them, and I always came up with ways to overcome these things, but it was always an extra investment.”

Three years ago, Latif helped start The People with Disabilities Network at P&G, which helps support employees with disabilities and also raises awareness company-wide of different issues. Through this network, Latif had the opportunity to present her idea for more inclusive packaging to senior leadership, who worked closely with her for the design and implementation for Herbal Essences’ products.

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“This is something that has the potential to eliminate a problem that millions of people experience every day,” Latif said. “If this works, the idea is that it won’t just be Herbal Essences, but it will be on every brand and we want all brands to follow.”

While multiple ideas were in consideration, like changing the bottle shape, adding stickers or using Braille, P&G decided on the tactile design because it was cost-effective and was a straightforward signage that can be easily understood by customers and implemented for other brands or products.

“The design wasn’t going to be a decoration, but a communication,” she continued. “The ultimate mission is to touch and improve people’s lives. The mission of Herbal Essences is it’s the little things that make life easier every day and this is an example of that.”

The bottle design will be rolling out to all of the brand’s mass market retailers in North America starting in January 2019. P&G plans to see how the new initiative performs with Herbal Essences consumers and has plans to expand the initiative to other products and brands within the company’s portfolio.

The brand’s retailers have already shown interest in the new packaging design.

“Our retail partners have responded very positively to this more inclusive packaging and have applauded the brand for our commitment to making our products more accessible to more people,” said Lynn Hicks, North America brand manager of Herbal Essences. “Together we’re excited to see the consumer reaction to the new packaging and hope more brands will follow our lead.”

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