Lightning in a Bottle

A much needed facelift for the prescription bottle, at a Target near you.

If you get your prescriptions filled at one of Target's 1,033 pharmacies, you've no doubt noticed that your pills are coming in a new bottle. The upside-down container has beautifully simple label typography, a color-coded ring that allows different family members to quickly identify their own bottles in the medicine cabinet, and flat sides so the label doesn't wrap around out of view. It's a quantum leap from the classic -- and classically hard to decipher -- amber Rx bottle.

The new design, called ClearRx Prescription System, is the brainchild of Deborah Adler (above), a 29-year-old graphic designer who came up with the idea in 2001, when her grandmother accidentally took another family member's medicine. By coincidence, Adler was looking for an MFA thesis project at the time. "Once you leave the pharmacy, the only form of communication you have is that bottle," she says. Adler approached Target, whose officials were so impressed that they acquired her patent rights and, after some tweaks, launched the design nationally in May. ClearRx has won customer acclaim, and debuts at New York's Museum of Modern Art this October. Sounds like a tough act to follow, no? "I try not to put that kind of pressure on myself," says Adler, who now works for design guru Milton Glaser, "because it'll just stifle my creativity."

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