Lots of time and creative energy are spent on improving condoms, but when it comes to the foil packaging, improvements have been limited to graphics. Benjamin Pawle, a London based designer, has redesigned the packaging to make unwrapping one a snap.
Pawle’s design is based on a simple snapping motion to break the wrapper. A double layer system (outer foil and inner plastic) protects the condom from the force of the motion. The inner plastic also helps push the condom out.
The one-handed condom wrapper is part of a research project that studied the everyday challenges hemiplegics face from childhood through sexual maturity. Hemiplegia results in semi-paralysis, caused by damage to the brain. Pawle’s work involved extensive user interviews and research to find those situations that caused moments of indignity. Opening a condom is always an awkward moment. For someone who has use of only one hand, the act can be embarrassing and another loss of dignity.
Although Pawle’s designs were meant for people with hemiplegia, they make everyday behavior and motion easier for anyone. As Sam Dunne writes for Core77,
“The easy open condom wrapper was, in fact, one outcome of a lengthy user research project at the Glasgow School of Art, exploring the difficulties faced by [semi-paralyzed] hemiplegics and is, perhaps, an archetypal example of how insights gleaned from the experiences of ‘extreme users’ can inform innovation for the mass market.”