Breaking Out of the Creative Ghetto

By Guy Mastrion (@gmastrion)

I had a chat with a fellow creative type over the holidays and he said something that really rubbed me the wrong way. Basically, he bemoaned the conservative design of most Pharma packaging and websites but resigned himself to the fact that this was inevitable since Pharma was a “Creative Ghetto”.

As a design professional who has worked in the Pharma space for many years, I couldn’t be more offended. In fact, I think that a statement like that illustrates a real ignorance of the principles behind great design. Design (and it’s partner – creativity) are ultimately about finding solutions to problems. Whether that problem is a functional one (e.g. child proof caps) or an intellectual one (e.g. reinforcing branding), no product is inevitably confined to an “Idea ghetto”. In fact, when you start with assets that lend themselves less easily to creative interpretation (say frozen peas vs. a big-budget movie), top designers should be more attracted to the challenge. Starting with such basic materials gives us freedom to really shoot for the moon and stretch the limits of our talent.

Do we have a lot examples that show how innovative Pharma creatives can be? We definitely don’t have as many as I would like. So I’m throwing out a challenge to my fellow Creative Directors. Let’s make this the year of great Pharma design.

After all, if packaged goods design can go from this …

poland spring

… to this …

ogo water… and this …

Evian mountain… and even this …


Then surely we can find some interesting ways to rethink this …

pill_bottleTarget has already proven that good design and Pharma products are not mutually exclusive …

Target Pill Bottle

What say you fellow creatives? Are you up for the challenge?



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  1. Pingback: Creative Pharma Packaging Design: Where Is It Needed? | Pharma Marketer