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Healthcare package design shortcomings

Package branding and design expert Richard Gerstman isn't shy when it comes to citing what he believes are mistakes in the packaging of pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products. His three primary objections are: 1. Overpackaging. This is the big challenge! My guess is that approximately 75% of drug products use cartons over their primary packaging. Understandably, the cartons allow more room for brand identification and information. But the cartons may not be necessary. I think the challenge for the future should be to use a single primary package in a way that both identification and information can function. Through the years, many products have shed their overwraps and flourished. Listerine is a good example. 2. Most nutraceutical and many drug packages are too cluttered. This is especially true with weight-loss products. Promotional copy is usually unnecessary. I've seen "trusted for guaranteed relief," "twice as fast as...," "clinically proven...," and other unnecessary statements. The clutter on the package contributes to confusion and detracts from strong brand identity at retail.

3. Lack of brand personality. Although these products should usually look serious and efficacious, there's no reason why most brands have to look alike. For several reasons, one of my favorite packages is [Procter & Gamble's] Prilosec OTC (shown). The color scheme is unique. The purple background, with touches of cool blue and warm red, separate it from other products in the category. Brand identification through the large white logo makes it easy to find. Minimal copy elements keep the package uncluttered. Prilosec's graphic elements and color usage give it a distinctive and confident personality, while conveying quality to the user.

--By Richard Gerstman
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