A smart new blood-red pill bottle from Target stores is making drug-taking safer, and its sleek lines could push it into the ranks of design...

Share story

A smart new blood-red pill bottle from Target stores is making drug-taking safer, and its sleek lines could push it into the ranks of design icons like the Swatch watch and the Swiss Army knife.

The wedge-shaped bottles were rolled out at Target pharmacies nationwide during the last few weeks.

They are part of Target’s Clear Rx, a program aimed at making medication use safer.

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

The scarlet containers also could lure customers who scoop up Target’s eye-pleasing merchandise, whether it be teapots from designer Michael Graves or sheets from fashion mogul Isaac Mizrahi.

Target’s unconventional transparent red pill bottle rests on its cap and has flat sides, making reading easier.

It replaces the amber-colored cylindrical bottle that drugstores have used for years.

Colored plastic rings grip the neck of the bottle. Family members each choose a ring color to avoid taking another’s medicine.

A label features large, easy-to-read type that instructs how to use the pills and has clear warnings on possible side effects. No more squinting at hard-to-read information sheets.

And tucked into grooves in the back of the bottle is a patient-information card describing what the pills should look like and what to do if you miss a dose.

Deborah Adler, 29, a senior designer at the famed Milton Glaser Inc. design company in Manhattan, is the brain behind the bottle that she designed as a student project at the School of Visual Arts in New York. Adler fixed on the idea after her grandmother mistakenly took her grandfather’s pills.

After earning a master’s degree in fine arts in 2002, Adler approached Target with her design. The retailer snatched it up, paying her an undisclosed amount.

To help implement the design, Target hired industrial designer Klaus Rosburg, Adler said.

“At the end of the day, the responsibility falls on the consumer on how to take their medicine,” Adler says. “The only form of communication the medicine taker has is the bottle.”

Adler, who says she’s working on other designs for Target, also developed 25 warning symbols for the bottle that help people avoid misusing their pills.

Representatives of CVS and Walgreen’s said they are still using traditional pill bottles. However, Mike DeAngelis, a CVS spokesman, said the chain is looking at different options for its labels and bottles.

As for Adler, her Target bottle will be part of an October design exhibit planned for the Museum of Modern Art in New York.