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GOOD Design Daily: ClearRx Prescription Bottles, the Design of the Decade

Target's ClearRx prescription bottle design won the Design of the Decade award for its fresh, smart, and commonsense approach.

Your standard prescription bottle, with its amber-colored cylinder shape, tiny font, and plethora of text, has hardly changed since the postwar days when it was first introduced.

Child safety caps were introduced in the 1970s, but that was about it. It was not until Deborah Adler, a graphic designer in New York, designed a radically fresh, intelligent, and all-around practical prescription bottle, that good design finally found its way into pharmaceutical packaging.

Incorporating a D-shaped bottle design, which stands on its cap, ClearRx, hit Target shelves nationwide in 2005 and has since revolutionized the way millions of people see their prescriptions.

So it’s no surprise that the Industrial Designers Society of America honored ClearRx with its Design of the Decade award, which recognizes the positive impact design has on businesses and the community. The society’s judge panel unanimously agreed that the design was the most noteworthy yet:

There was complete alignment around the aesthetic, functional and societal benefits of the product. ClearRx is an elegant design solution helping millions of users, and Target is to be commended for helping to bring such a thoughtful, well designed solution to the marketplace.

Here are the key design aspects which make ClearRx a design for the decade:

  1. The bottle incorporates an easy-to-read label with the prescription’s name at the top, making it simple to find in any medicine drawer. Other information follows a hierarchy, with the dosage and intake instructions above less important info such as the expiration date and the doctor’s name.
  2. The flat surface and upside-down design creates more space for the prescription information, which is usually stapled to a paper bag and eventually thrown out.
  3. Color-coded bands make it easy to distinguish between prescriptions for different family members.
  4. Clear warning labels and graphics are easily distinguishable, with a large icon for each.
  5. A handy mini magnifying glass can be tucked behind the label, so small text becomes readable.
  6. Detailed side effects and a complete patient card are neatly hidden behind the bottle’s label.

The end results are a sensible product that helps promote health.

Photo (cc) by Flickr user bartificial

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