Target ClearRxSM prescription system, 2004

Deborah Adler

Location: New York, New York
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From conception to prototype to nationally available product, the Target ClearRxSM prescription system exemplifies design’s potential to change people’s lives. The idea originated with Deborah Adler, an MFA student in graphic design at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. After her grandmother inadvertently took the wrong medication, Adler began reevaluating the standard prescription pill bottle. Her simple yet groundbreaking design caught the attention of Target, known for its philosophy, “Design for All.”

Adler initially focused on the graphics applied to standard pharmacy bottles. Observing that the cylindrical shape hindered the display of information, she developed a D-shaped container. Her design incorporated a logical hierarchy of information, with the most important information at the top, color-coding for each family member, and a slot to hold extra information about the medication.

Target paired Adler with industrial designer Klaus Rosburg, who developed the bottle’s shape. The final design incorporates a child-resistant cap to meet federal regulations and a cap-down orientation to permit a single label to cover more of the bottle’s surface and to allow the name of the medicine to be visible from the top and the sides. Adler, who now works in the office of Milton Glaser, also teamed up with the legendary graphic designer to create new warning icons that are more intuitive.

Launched in Target pharmacies nationwide in 2005, the ClearRx Prescription System includes pill and liquid containers, a measuring syringe, a completely overhauled labeling system, and an integrated patient information card.