The Future of Designing Healthcare Brands

Published by

As we continue to see healthcare take on the lifestyle category, design has a crucial part to play in championing this shift and creating a new expression around health empowerment. 

Healthcare is becoming more of a lifestyle category than ever before. Although rates of illness are increasing, we have an increasingly positive and proactive attitude around managing our health.

Technology-led brands are enabling consumers to look after themselves in more ways, empowering individuals to take a more active role in their understanding of their health. From Fitbit to Jawbone; there are fitness and health trackers to suit specific needs whether it’s step counting, sleep tracking or heart rate monitoring. The future of healthcare is being driven by our ability and desire to gain much more control over, and understanding of, our individual health.

This shift towards patient empowerment means that we will expect to receive personalised care and medical treatment, resisting feeling like another number on the GP’s register. Healthcare decisions are personal and emotional decisions, therefore, they are influenced by a sense of trust, recognition and visual appeal. Going forward, over-the-counter pharmaceutical brands will need to realign their focus in order to build this emotional connection with their consumers. Moving from a functional, product-centric category to a customer and service-based one, pharmaceutical brands will succeed or fail based on how well they respond to the different individual needs of their consumers.

Design has a crucial part to play in championing this category shift and creating a new expression around health empowerment. The pharma design strategy continues to remain broadly traditional following a corporate and bland format. Choosing over-the-counter medication can, therefore, be a painful challenge when facing a dizzying kaleidoscope of blue and orange pill packs all claiming to have the same benefits. As well as packaging, a positive environment in-store with easy shelf navigation can have a hugely positive effect in helping reduce patient anxiety and even contributing to their overall wellbeing. In addition to over-the-counter pharma brands, there is a great opportunity for prescription medicines to use branding and design to communicate clearly in more personable ways.

As we continue to see healthcare take on the lifestyle category, pharmaceutical brands will need to take learnings from more aspirational consumer-led brands. How can design solve the challenges that come with this transition?

Packaging design must break away from the clinical aesthetics associated with medicine, and instead focus on positive wellbeing in a product-centric way that instills trust. Swedish pharmacy chain Vårdapoteket developed a fun and colourful visual identity that transformed pharmacies into bright, positive spaces in hospitals and care centres. The idea, according to designers Stockholm Design Lab (SDL), was to create “a welcoming oasis of calm amid the sterility of a healthcare facility.”

Brands need to eliminate one of the biggest pain points along the consumer purchase journey; trying to translate complex medical jargon on pack. Interactive packaging and NFC allows brands to be one step ahead, communicating relevant information simply and conveniently, as well as building powerful on-brand experiences. By gathering data as well as prior knowledge of the user’s preferences and routine patterns across connected devices, technology can automatically direct the consumer straight to the products relating to their specific wants and needs.

This is just the beginning. Wearable tech, personal data, and social platforms are creating a new dynamic between patients and their doctors, creating a more collaborative and responsive approach to healthcare focused on creating personalised outcomes. Through great design combined with evolving technology, we can transform the relationship we have with healthcare forever.  


More Design



Stop by the Brexit Halloween horror show

The countdown to Brexit is on and while MPs in Parliament continue to dither over the decision to leave the EU, for others the debacle is proving an opportunity to get creative. As the UK hurtles towards 31 October, Boris Johnson’s prospects...

Posted by: Creativepool Editorial


My London Design Festival 2019 highlights

One of the strange truths about working in the creative industry is how easy it is for your focus to narrow and shut out other people’s exciting projects. It’s a trap that leads to people becoming predictable and something I don’t...

Posted by: Rob Pratt


DixonBaxi ushers in new era for AC Milan with bold rebrand

European football giants AC Milan have launched a new club visual identity system, developed and designed by London-based brand agency DixonBaxi. The rebrand, which ties in with the start of the Serie A 2019/20 season marks the beginning of a brave...

Posted by: DixonBaxi