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Experts offer insights on healthcare packaging design (sidebar)

Three healthcare packaging shortcomings

Richard Gerstman isn’t shy when it comes to citing what he believes are mistakes in the packaging of pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products. Here he expresses his three objections:

1. Overpackaging. This is the big challenge! My guess is that approximately 75 percent 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 using 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. And I believe many more products in the nutraceutical and drug categories can be merchandised through their primary package.

2. Most nutraceutical and many drug packages are too cluttered. This is especially true with weight loss products, which often remind me of the old medicine that “cures everything.” Additionally, 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. Using distinctive color, logos, and simple graphic elements can contribute to a memorable brand personality. Prilosec’s graphic elements and color usage give it a distinctive and confident personality, while conveying quality to the user.”

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