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Four tips for healthcare package design

1. Striking the right balance between opening a bottle and keeping it child-resistant: Nothing ignites the scorn of the elderly more than their difficulties with tamper-evident and childproof packaging. Many bottle closures call for pressing down hard or lining up elusive and often hard-to-see arrows. That can make them simultaneously childproof and elderly resistant. 2. Using larger type but not crowding the package: Legibility of packaging copy, especially on [healthcare] packaging, has always been an important issue. It continues to need greater attention. The ability—or inability—to read and comprehend information such as usage and dosage declarations, identification of active substances, warnings and counter-indications is critical for anyone, but especially the elderly. With FDA regulations requiring certain information, making these details readable is not an easy task. But it is often further complicated by the marketer's desire to use side and back panels for text to promote product benefits while keeping the mandatory copy size to its permissible minimum—often making it virtually illegible to seniors.

3. Using color and warning messages: Bullet points and red and bold type for warnings and "do not" copy often help call attention to important health information on panels. Without these, seniors with vision problems may miss caution information that may be buried among the dense mandatory copy.

4. A noteworthy package design: There is a package design development that I find absolutely brilliant: the prescription drug bottle recently introduced by Target (shown). It solves much of what has been ignored by most drug manufacturers and prescription services. It provides a large area for medical information and, by adding color bands, helps to differentiate prescriptions in households that have several prescription drug users. I wish more companies would have the courage and foresight to use this or similar solutions.

--By Herbert Meyers
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