Target Prescription Vials Win Design of the Decade

Target's breakthrough prescription system won high accolades from industrial designers.

Photo by Bart Szyszka on flickr

Target was recently awarded Design of the Decade by the Industrial Designers Society of America for its ClearRx prescription system. The chain pharmacy's uniquely shaped vials are an "elegant design solution helping millions of users," said contest judge Charles L. Jones, chief design officer for Masco Corporation.

Since their introduction to the market 5 years ago, the distinct bottles have become a Target hallmark. “We’re thrilled to be honored with this award because great design is a part of our DNA at Target,” said Keri Jones, senior vice president of the health & beauty division at Target.

Designer Deborah Adler developed the vials while studying for her master’s degree at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. The idea to redesign prescription containers occurred to her after her grandparents accidentally swapped medications. The drugs were the same, but the dosage was not—a distinction made murky by the nearly identical medication labels affixed to the cylindrical bottles.

"That’s when I decided, 'Hey, maybe I'll redesign the prescription bottle for my thesis.' And that's what I did, and after I did that I brought it to Target," Adler said in an interview. After exhaustively researching the intricacies of medication error and adherence, she came up with her prototype: a wide, D-shaped bottle with a broad flat face. When she presented it to Target, Adler said her first concern was working with Target's pharmacists to ensure the design was feasible.

That collaboration is reflected in the final product. The vials feature a combination of personalized colored rings and clear, thorough labeling. Liquid medications come with an oral syringe for precise dispensing. An attached patient info card provides critical details; tucked behind it, a label magnifier to ensure readability.

“We brought this same belief of improving people’s lives through great design to Target Pharmacy in a meaningful way with the introduction of ClearRx,” said Jones.

For other articles in this issue, see:

  • Travel Season Promises High Volume, Stress for Pharmacists
  • PharmD Student Reinvents Hepatitis Dosing
  • Medicare Part D Price War Breeds $2 Generics