A better daily pill storage system
Pill storage boxes
Color-coding by dosage time.
Problem: round ineffricient on shelf.
• Glaser bottle
• Disgust at fitting in cabinet
• Older and more pills
• Minimal footprint.
• Minimal info - just what time of day, dosage, and name of drug.
• Consistent system.
• See at a glance.
• Square plastic boxes
• Square spice jars, label on top, exhibit
Components of pill jars
• square bottles - frustration with round bottles in cabinet explored plastic storage boxes Container Store.
• Art exhibit - no need to hide them see them all at once see you to glance which are low.
• Label design, color-coded bands, text treatment
1. Original, visual distinctions, color-coding, placement on bottle
Text: centered, FLRR, U&lc; later: centered, all caps regular, then bold.
2. Move label to top to see remaining pills. thinner bands.
3. linear left to right, instead of top to bottom, capsule/pill shape, seperate text from image.
Bands - primary focus (med name not even importyant - just fill weekly with am/pm), but need to know name to know which to refill
1. Color-coded thick bands at bottom of box.
2. Thin bands at top to see when running out.
3. Linear row with pill capsule shape.
4. Thick bands at top.
Add Debra/Milton Glaser/Target concept (EDIT TO JUST INFLUENCE)
The standard amber pill bottle has remained virtually unchanged since it was first used in ther late 1940s/early 50s. (A child-safety cap was added in the 1970s.) Graphic designer Deborah Adler created the ClearRx prescription-packaging system.
The drugstore prescription bottle, it occurred to Adler, is not just unattractive, it's actually dangerous. According to a recent poll conducted for Target, 60 percent of prescription-drug users have taken medication incorrectly.
The Industry Standard
Branding trumps all.
The first and largest piece of type on a label is often the drugstore's logo and address - not the name of the drug and instructions on how to take it, which should be given priority.
Numerals are often printed without explanation. The number 10 floating in empty space, for example, could be read as ten pills or "take ten times a day."
Poor color combinations.
Color-coded warning stickers - like those that say take with food, for example - don't contrast strongly enough with either bottles or text. Black type set against a navy background is hard to decipher. An orange sticker can hardly be read against an orange bottle.
Curved shape is hard to read.
Existing pill bottles have no flat surfaces and are too narrow for an entire label to be visible at once. In order for all pertinent information to be observed, the bottle must be rotated.
The FDA requires a separate information sheet to be included with all medication. The long lines of tightly spaced type mean it's usually discarded unread.
Function over form.
Adler's initial sketches had an antique apothecary design. She eventually realized that this approach sacrificed clarity for aesthetics. "People want to know the name of the drug first," she says, "then how they should take it. But it's never presented that way."
To avoid confusion, the label on each family member's medication was given a different color. This concept was later modified owing to the expense of supplying pharmacies with color printers.
A Conde Nast security badge that develops a large red X after 24 hours gave Adler the idea to add a similar marker to the label. A version that works over months, not hours, will be ready in 2006.
Shaping the bottle.
After rejecting triangles and squares as too extreme, Adler decided on a D-shape - a wider front and a flat back would be easier to read. It was abandoned owing to the time required to certify the unusual semi-circle cap for child safety.
Full medication details are normally stapled to a paper bag - and thrown away. Adler created grooves on the bottle that would hold a paper card with text set in columns. This plan was altered when the shape changed.
In case the type was too small to read, Adler included a thin magnifying lens. It's still under consideration.
Instructions on when to take medication originally peeked over the top of the bottle. But doctors don't pinpoint time so precisely, and pharmacists don't want to be held responsible for such specific directions.
The ClearRx system Adler designed for Target includes bottles for pills and liquids and a measuring syringe. Here's the pill bottle that hits shelves in May.
• Easy ID The name of the drug is printed on the top of the bottle, so it's visible if kept in a drawer.
• Code red The red bottle is a universal symbol for caution.
• Information hierarchy Adler divided the label into primary and secondary positions, separated by a horizontal line. The most important information (drug name, dosage, intake instructions) is placed above the line, and less important data (quantity, expiration date, doctor's name) is positioned below.
• Upside down to save paper. Klaus Rosburg, a Brooklyn-based industrial designer hired by Target, came up with an upside-down version that stands on its cap, so that the label can be wrapped around the top. Every piece of paper in the package adds up to one eight-and-a-half-by-fourteen-inch perforated sheet, which eliminates waste and makes life easier for pharmacists.
• Green is for Grandma. Adler and Rosburg developed a system of six colored rubber rings that attach to the neck of the bottle. Family members choose their own identifying shade, so medications in a shared bathroom will never get mixed up.
• An info card that's hard to lose. A card with more detailed information on a drug (common uses, side effects) is now tucked behind the label. A separate, expanded patient-education sheet, designed by Adler, comes with three holes so it can be saved in a binder for reference.
• Take "daily" Adler avoided using the word once on the label, since it means eleven in Spanish.
• Clear warnings. Adler decided that many of the existing warning symbols stuck on pill bottles don't make much sense - the sign for "take on an empty stomach," for instance, looked like a gas tank to her - so together with graphic designer Milton Glaser, for whom she now works, she revamped the 25 most important.
Pill box system with visual reminders
One of the lifestyle changes one makes upon aging is that the pile of pills taken each day grows to the point of needing some weekly or monthly pill boxes. I take about 10 pills each day - 3 in the morning and the rest with dinner. Soon after I began this new routine, I wished for a service from a drug company in which the customer would submit all pills taken with frequency and dosage. For OTC (over-the-counter) drugs like vitamins, minerals, and supplements; the customer could check items and mg quantities online. The company would then assemble the pill. For prescription drugs, the doctor could submit the prescriptions online. The prescription and OTC components could be mixed together or there could be two separate pills. The pills could be color coded: yellow = morning, blue = evening. The drug company would then formulate a single pill (or 2) with all of the necessary ingredients, and ship them. The customer would have to renew each month - allowing/requiring the customer and the doctor to keep ingredients current (it could simply be an email reply ‘No change'). But, I suspect there are too many regulations and drug ownerships to make the idea feasible.
In late 2017, I ran across the system below, an automated compliance strip packaging system, which packages all of a person's prescription and nonprescription medications together in perforated pouches for each time of the day - in sequential order, and each package individually labeled. On Saturday morning you'd tear off the 8a package containing all the necessary pills.
"This system increases compliance, decreases trips to the pharmacy and increases the likelihood that you are getting all the medications you need for the month," Pharmacist Scott Evans said.
• It eliminates having to go sort through 10 or 12 bottles while filling a med planner each week.
• It takes the guesswork out of which tablet goes where.
• The medications are synchronized so they can all be refilled at the same time each month.
• The packaging makes for easier traveling - each package meets all labeling requirements and one has to pack only the amount for the time traveling.
Another option for the same concept.
Google Pill Pack - tried, transition period wastes pills. Lose control at local pharmacy
Jim's pill box system
Below is the system I currently use to organize and simplify which pills to take at which time of the day. I wanted to make it better than just conveying what day to take. I rearranged the daily boxes in the holder tray so that their position communicated visual clues for the status of the pills - taken already or not yet taken. When the tray is positioned on the shelf, the sightline shows the full box with the label facing dead-on to the viewer, the half full position moves the label away at an angle, and the empty position places the label in a tough to see horizontal position.
Concept: rotate the boxes within the base to convey different statuses of the contents. Visual reminders of pills taken so far that day.
• Monday morning: All boxes full, labels facing user.
• Friday morning: Mon-Thurs boxes empty, Friday-Sunday boxes full.
• Friday afternoon: Mon-Thurs boxes empty, Friday morning pills taken - box rotated halfway up to show half empty.
• Saturday morning: Friday box empty, box rotated up all the way, label away from user.
• Sunday night: All boxes empty.