Breaking Out of the Ghetto


By Sven Larsen (@zemoga)

It may come as no surprise to many who read this blog that in the design world, Pharma work is often seen as the “red headed stepchild”. Pharma and (to a lesser degree Finance) are seen as unfriendly to creativity because of the strict regulatory environments both fields operate under and the nature of the core business (many designers got in to design to stay as far away from math and science as they could). We’ve written before about this perception and how many in our industry play in to those misconceptions. Is it possible to change the negative image Pharma has among design types? is it even worth trying?

For those who answered no to the above questions, there’s some interesting news that came out of the Mozilla Foundation (makers of Firefox and a Zemoga client) last week. Mashable reports that Aza Raskin, the Foundations renowned Creative Director is leaving to found his own company. And what is one of the most gifted designers in the digital space choosing to work on? A healthcare startup called Massive Health.

What’s Raskin’s motivation for joining us here in the “design ghetto” of Healthcare and Pharma. Here’s what he has to say about it on his blog:

“Each of us has a unique ability. I want to use mine¢‚Ǩ”the knowledge to make products which are disruptively easier and more enjoyable to use¢‚Ǩ”to change peoples lives. Life-changing not in the sense of a new social website or better email, but in making peoples lives materially better by helping them get and stay healthy. Anyone thats been sick, overweight, or had to deal with a doctor knows that health is a field in dire need of humane design.

Given the recent Pew research that indicates searching for Healthcare info is one of the top three things all age groups use the Internet for, he couldn’t have picked a better time.

Here at Pixels and Pills we’ve often said that the industry needs a design guru to show others what can be accomplished. Someone respected enough to make people stand up and pay attention to Pharma and Healthcare work and show that there’s more to our industry than blue and white logos and little brown bottles. Raskin may be just the guy to do it.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on Massive Health and how they impact on the industry. And we’re happy to see another champion added to the group of us fighting for humane design in the healthcare industry.

Let’s all do our part to make sure 2011 ends up being the year that Pharma breaks out of the ghetto once and for all.




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