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The Perfect Prescription

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Step 3
The Solution
The ClearRx system Adler designed for Target includes bottles for pills and liquids and a measuring syringe. Here’s the pill bottle that hits shelves in May.

(1) Easy I.D.
The name of the drug is printed on the top of the bottle, so it’s visible if kept in a drawer.

(2) Code red.
The red color of the bottle is Target’s signature— and a universal symbol for caution.

(3) Information hierarchy.
Adler divided the label into primary and secondary positions, separated by a horizontal line. The most important information (drug name, dosage, intake instructions) is placed above the line, and less important data (quantity, expiration date, doctor’s name) is positioned below.

(4) Upside down to save paper.
Klaus Rosburg, a Brooklyn-based industrial designer hired by Target, came up with an upside-down version that stands on its cap, so that the label can be wrapped around the top. Every piece of paper in the package adds up to one eight-and-a-half-by-fourteen-inch perforated sheet, which eliminates waste and makes life easier for pharmacists.

(5) Green is for Grandma.
Adler and Rosburg developed a system of six colored rubber rings that attach to the neck of the bottle. Family members choose their own identifying shade, so medications in a shared bathroom will never get mixed up.

(6) An info card that’s hard to lose.
A card with more detailed information on a drug (common uses, side effects) is now tucked behind the label. A separate, expanded patient-education sheet, designed by Adler, comes with three holes so it can be saved in a binder for reference.

(7) Take “daily.”
Adler avoided using the word once on the label, since it means eleven in Spanish.

(8) Clear warnings.
Adler decided that many of the existing warning symbols stuck on pill bottles don’t make much sense—the sign for “take on an empty stomach,” for instance, looked like a gas tank to her—so together with graphic designer Milton Glaser, for whom she now works, she revamped the 25 most important.


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