The Power of Great Design

>> Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I find great design exhilarating. When I see and experience inspiring design, like the Chrysler Building in New York, Frank Gehry’s magnificent museum in Bilbao that revived that city, or my lovely Michael Graves teapot, I am transformed.

I don’t have to add to the chorus of praise for the wonderful design of the iPod. And now I read that P&G, that behemoth of marketing, is taking an intensified interest in design given the pressures it faces in store. (Check out this week’s AdAge article for more.) With rising retail power and the increasingly influential green movement, it is becoming more and more difficult for even P&G to compete at retail.

So it is pulling out all the stops to come up with ideas that have big impact with”less space, less cost and less environmental impact”. A mighty task for a mighty company.

Working in pharma, there are frustrating constraints in designing packaging for our products. Consumers already have deeply ingrained and often negative feelings about taking medicines, and this tension is only heightened when the pills you need come in the iconic [in a bad way] generic brown plastic prescription bottle. Our healthcare should not be divorced from the rest of our experiences – yet clearly this has been a no-mans land for a long time.

Target has taken a big step in redesigning their packaging to make it easier to understand and use.

But I'd like to see creative designers tackle the problem of pill bottles with even more radical steps, consistent with the experiential nature of the people using medicine more than ever – the ever present Baby Boomers. If we’re able to package medicine in a way that reinforces the positive benefits of the products, I believe we’d have more accepting and adherent patients.

Until then, I’m hunkering down with my iPod and dreaming of going to Bilbao.

Hope this finds you well,

Marcia Gold
SVP, Strategic Planner


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