ClearRx: Reinventing the Design of Pill Bottles


It all started with a strong dose of common sense.

Deborah Adler, a master’s candidate at the School of Visual Arts (SVA), took inspiration from the story of her grandmother when she mistook his husband’s medication for her own. Her grandmother misread the name “Herman” as to her own name “Helen”. Aside from their first names which start with the same two letters and dosage strength, the bottles looked identical.

This started her to question the current design of pill bottles today. Adler identified several problems with the existing pill bottle designs: Why are there so many different styles of labels used? Why did information about drug provider so often trump of information about the drug itself? Why was the type so tiny? Why were so many factors unwittingly conspiring to increase the risk associated with taking prescribed drugs?

Old Pill Bottles

Old Labels

The Solution

With the help of Target, Deborah took her previous design to a new step forward. The design was an endless collaboration of different individuals. Target also hired Klaus Rosburg to develop the final shape. The new design make it a point that information is presented clearly and in an intuitive hierarchy.

ClearRX System

A Closer Look

Cautions Can be seen at a Glance
Cautions can also be seen at a glance, this flat and wide face of the bottle can provide an ample room for cautionary information. It also increases retention because it removes the need to read the label by turning the bottle in a circular manner.

New Clear Label

Patient Info Card
A clear and simplified patient info card makes all vital information easy to read. The patient info card also slips at the back of the pill bottle. A top label makes it sure you find your medicine quickly in your drawer. 

Patient Info Card


Know Whose Medicine is Whose
Personalized color rings makes it easier to know whose medicine is whose to prevent medicine mix-ups.

Personalized Color Rings

Dispense Liquids Precisely
An oral syringe lets you measure and dispense medicine with accuracy but without the mess.

Dispensing Liquids

Magnify the Label
A handy magnifier fits right behind the patient info card—and it’s free.



Since the launch of ClearRx in 2005, Target’s pharmacy business has experienced double-digit sales increases. And because the new design is so effective and indeed made a lot of “common sense” it has become the Design of the Decade.

All credits and images belongs to Deborah Adler Design & Target

Matt Vera is a registered nurse with a bachelor of science in nursing since 2009 and is currently working as a full-time writer and editor for Nurseslabs. During his time as a student, he knows how frustrating it is to cram on difficult nursing topics. Finding help online is nearly impossible. His situation drove his passion for helping student nurses by creating content and lectures that are easy to digest. Knowing how valuable nurses are in delivering quality healthcare but limited in number, he wants to educate and inspire nursing students. As a nurse educator since 2010, his goal in Nurseslabs is to simplify the learning process, break down complicated topics, help motivate learners, and look for unique ways of assisting students in mastering core nursing concepts effectively.

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