Target Redesigns Pill Bottle

Target has redesigned their prescription pill bottles for Target pharmacies. The redesign was done by a graduate student named Deborah Adler who took on the redesign as a thesis project and had it snapped up by Target. While redesigning a pill bottle may seem somewhat insignificant I see this as a really great moment for Good Design.

Clear Information is Good Medicine

The labels on the new bottles are easier to read at a glance when they are on a counter or in a medicine cabinet. This makes it easier to tell bottles apart when you have a family of five who are all sick at once or an elderly grandmother who has to take 14 pills a day. Additionally, Ms. Adler has created bottles with a colored ring around the cap that allows each member of the family to color code their medicine bottles.
New Target Pill Bottle

  1. Prominent Medicine Name for easy identification
  2. Red bottle is Target’s color
  3. Most important information is most prominent
  4. Minimal paper used for labels
  5. Color coded bands around cap
  6. Information card that is on the bottle rather than thrown away in a bag
  7. Clearly worded labels

The medical world is rife with examples of poor presentation of information leading to deadly mistakes. Engaging visual designers to design understandable and informative labels and packaging can reduce physician, pharmacist, and patient errors when dealing with medication.

After looking at this I am appalled by the sticker laden, cluttered pill bottle I received at Rite Aid today. The pharmacist was helpful and the pills seem to the the right ones, but the labeling is nowhere near as clear as Target’s new system. It is clear that there is a real functional value in changing the design.

Attractive Packaging

The new bottles are also more aesthetically pleasing than current pill bottles. Target as a company is working hard to make the little details of everyday life more attractive and pleasant. They are trying to ingrain good design in the mundane fabric of our daily lives. That makes each of our small worlds a little bit nicer to inhabit. It would be nice to see other companies actively working with good designers to combine form and function in their products.

The only downside to the new design… I’m sure that some old lady will not think to turn it over before opening, spilling all of her pills on the floor, slipping on them, and breaking a hip. “How was I supposed to know I could turn it over?”

The photo above and other information can be found at New York Metro’s website.

Kevin Hall
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