Landor & Fitch reveals accessible toothbrush adaptors

Landor & Fitch has developed customised toothbrush add-ons for people with dexterity issues, while skipping five-year manufacturing lead times.

Landor & Fitch has designed a first-of-its-kind accessible oral care solution called {access}ories, comprising bespoke 3D-printed toothbrush add-ons for people with dexterity challenges.

Around 360 million people worldwide suffer with dexterity challenges, from arthritis and carpel tunnel to tremors, says Landor & Fitch product innovation design director Jack Holloway. When people who suffer with these conditions try to grasp a standard toothbrush – which are generally “very thin” – they experience pain, he adds. The {access}ories add-ons are compatible with both manual and electric toothbrushes and come in 114 variations.

Accessible design has been on Landor & Fitch’s radar for a while, according to its global chief innovation officer Luc Speisser. This project is part of an internal initiative, started in 2020, where everyone in the company was offered the chance to spend 10% of their working time on “innovation projects”, he says.

Following conversations with accessible design and disability experts in 2021, Holloway began research and found that people suffering with dexterity challenges were coming up with temporary “hacks” for toothbrushing. This included adding things like tennis balls and string to increase grip and make the toothbrush “more comfortable to hold”, he says.

“One size fits all does not work”

Early in the project, the studio assembled what Speisser calls a “Makers Lab” to help inform the design, comprised of ten people aged 19 to 67 with different dexterity challenges.

Participants could test early prototypes, speak to the studio’s strategists and interact with the technology that would later inform a dedicated {access}ories web platform, according to Speisser.

“Some individuals told me that they brush their teeth for a few minutes in the morning and then have to sit for half an hour because of the pain”, he says. The Makers Lab also made clear that “one size fits all does not work”, says Holloway, adding that each person in the lab preferred “a different handle fit” based on their conditions.

“Condense the diagnostic journey”

The digital user experience of the platform seeks to “condense the diagnostic journey” through several questions that help to identity what shape, width and texture will best suit the individual, says Holloway.

As Makers Lab participants indicated that certain household items fit comfortably in their hands, from hairbrushes and bars of soap to pears and cans, this was used as the first question on the web platform.

A multiple-choice answer of everyday items then informs the base shape of the add-on. Other questions include the hand spread diameter,which specifies the depth; texture preferences; whether they use a manual or electric toothbrush; and the type of disability they have. Ultimately, users have a choice of seven shapes, three width-diameters and four textures.

Holloway says the studio wanted to avoid anything “too complex” that required photographs and AR “to make it as inclusive as possible” for those who might not have smart phones. The platform is “consistently collecting stats and data”, so the studio can see what people opt for and receive feedback, Holloway explains.

An immediate solution

Holloway describes the design of {access}ories as “an iterative process” with continuous opportunities to “improve and refine”. He adds that is it difficult to implement change into “a production line that’s already been built”, which is why making add-ons rather than whole toothbrushes offers a more immediate solution.

“When you go into a standard product design process you’ve normally got two to five years in manufacturing,” says Holloway. Instead, Landor & Fitch wanted to design a process and product that could launch quickly, which is made possible through 3D printing.

{access}ories will be made to order to a chosen combination of the 114 options, without having to wait for moulds, testing and manufacturing. The product is made from a resin-based plastic that meets oral care product health requirements, according to Holloway.

Speisser adds that studio is already looking into “fully recyclable” materials that are compatible with health requirements.


Though they are not yet being sold, Speisser determines that the manufacturing cost for {access}ories is below £40. “Our objective is not to make tonnes of money”, he says, explaining that it “doesn’t make sense” to create an accessible product that is unaffordable for the average person. When production scales up, Speisser hopes that the retail price will drop to below cost of making.

He adds that Landor & Fitch has an arm which can “predict and measure” how viable a product is financially. The studio’s first estimation revealed that it could be a $650 million business opportunity, according to Speisser.

Beyond oral care

Despite only launching recently on Landor & Fitch’s socials, Speisser says the platform has already had a couple hundred users and interest from manufacturers and tech companies. Next steps will involve scaling up the solution and sharing it with Landor & Fitch and WPP clients as well as potential stakeholders outside of the company, such as 3D printing companies and retailers.

Speisser adds that Landor & Fitch are committed to taking the project forward even without external investment, as they do not want it to be a “launch and leave” initiative. “Oral care is one thing but this idea of {access}ories could go way beyond that and be life-changing for many people,” he adds.

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