Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Target turns pharmacy upside-down

…”@ Issue” is the magazine of the Corporate Design Foundation, lauding the best of industrial design.

…They took on Target’s new medicine bottle—the upside-down one.

…This is a changeup of the old amber pill bottle, with many built-in pluses for the elderly or medically uncertain.

…It was designed by Deborah Adler, as part of her master’s program at the School of Visual Arts.

…She was trying to come up with a project, when her father said her grandmother had accidentally taken her grandfather’s meds. They were on the same medication, but different doses.

…Adler took a look at the bottles and could see how this could happen.

…Hmmm, she looked at the standard bottle. The biggest type was the store’s logo. It had numbers all over it with no explanation.Warning stickers are stuck on top of each other sometimes. Sometimes these stickers are vertical.

…The labels also say weird things sometimes—like don’t take with a nitrate. What is a nitrate?

…The bottle was round—it’s hard to read on a curve.

…The info sheet was another horror—too many words on a line.

…She divided her new label into important on top, less important below. Warning labels go on the back. There is also a slot for a slimmed-down info sheet.

…People in the same household can get their own “color.” Grandma can be green, Grandpa yellow.

…Part of her assignment was to get the thing manufactured, so she learned about molds and costs.

…She also learned her idea was unique—and she got a patent.

…Amazingly, Target did not steal her idea and included her. The clear bottle changed to “Target red” instead of amber to protect light-sensitive medications.

…Along the way, she learned that men are more likely to make medication errors than women and less likely to read the info sheet (too much like asking directions?).

…Almost a third of adults never read that stuff when they get a prescription—10% say it’s incomprehensible. Another 14% say it’s overwhelming.

…She also helped create new icons for usage, such as an ID bracelet for people who should wear a warning that they take the drug or a crossed out wine glass to indicate not to drink on the medication.

…The one with a guy with arrows pointing at him, though, beat HA. Stay away from Native-Americans? That can’t be it.

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