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Kathryn Henderson / Major Project 2 /


This brief was set by RSA in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKiline. The brief was to ‘design a medical device or product for carrying medicine whose portability promotes compliance and enhances the life of the patient.’ RSA. I started the brief by sketching down any ideas or starting points about medicine and devices in general that sprung to mind. I did this to help me try and identify a starting point and a direction I may take to answer the brief.


I broke down the brief so I could understand the two terms used in the title, mobile and medicine. By doing this I was able to expand on different directions and defernitions opening up different ways to develop the brief.



I started to collect medicine boxes to begin developing the project. I wanted to research on the past and present medical devices and products to create an idea of the kind of device or medical product that could be designing to enhance compliance in taking medicine and by this I needed to analyse different products and devices that had already been designed.


Through analysing the medical packaging it became clear of the regular characteristics of the packaging. All the packaging had the weight of the medicine, expiry date, batch number, the company who makes the medicine, how many tablets in the pack, the name of the medication and also some had braille upon them. I also realised that the packaging is very clincal, simple and used colours almost as an identifcation of each packet

Damien Hirst


The painting opposite is by Damien Hirst and it communicates the variety of pills and tablets that are available. It also makes me aware of how many people actually take medicine on a daily basis and that taking medicine effects everyone at different stages of life. I wanted to research into past and present uses of medicine which follow on the next few pages.


I visited Medicine MAn at the Wellcome Collecton to look at past uses of medicine and any devices that could be inspirational to what I device or product I may design. I was suprised at the collection and the variety of different medical products. For example early editions of glass eyes and a headache band to relieve headaches.

Also at the Wellcome collection I visited Medicine Now, a more present representation of medicine and medical problems. I took lots of pictures of the anti-malaria drugs as they had all different labels and graphics on them which I thought was not as clinical looking as some of the medical packaging I had recently been collecting.I think it is important that medicine looks simple, clinical and hygienic due to what its use is and for people to trust that it will help them.


I went to the science museum to also look at there collections of past medicine and medical devices for inspiration. I really likes the simplicity of the pensacaine packaging using very few colours in a block arrangement.



Mostly everyone is or will be effected by needing to take medicine at a stage of their life. I want to try and identify a user to focus and design my medical product for. With so many medical conditions and diagnoises I would liek my final outcome to be useful to other people not just my focus user.


These are some patient leaflets that I collected to give me inspiration for the type of user or problem I could focus upon.

This is one of the peatient leaflets about contraception choices. I thought it was interesting as the leaflet is divided into two sections of methods with no user failure and methods with user failure. Some methods rely on the user to remember and comply in taking certain medicines or using certain medical devices. I think this could be an interesting focus. Also most contraceptives are mobile for people to go about their daily lives without thinking about what medicine they need to be taking however these are the options which do not depend on the user to remember.

I devised a questionnaire to send out to people to fill in so I could understand more about habits and behaviour in relation to taking medicine. I also needed to establish an area where medicine needed to be mobile as some people build it into their daily routines whilst at home.




This investigation turned out really successful in looking at what daily objects people carry with them. I catergorised them into similar objects to see the array of different objects. They ranged from keys, pens, makeup, jewellery, mobiles, cards, hair brushes and loose change. It was also interesting to find that alot of people also carry their medicine with them on a daily basis. However the medicine seemed to appear as either inhalers or pill blister packs without the medicine information or original box. The blister packs were found to be just existing as part of the daily inventory of someones bag without a real place or protection from lose or damage.

I went to interview a doctor as I felt I had a few questions about medicine and how far I could push certain ideas and if they were visiable. I also found myself a bit out of depth with the subject of no scientific knowledge therefore I wanted to interview one of my local doctors for their input. The main thing that came out of the interview was my own realisation that if I was to come up with some amazing cure for cancer (for example) that was really expensive to make the NHS in the UK wouldn’t take the idea on, due to the expense. That is why in the USA they have more user interactive medical devices that cost more. Therefore I decided to keep in mind the fact of a cheap to produce product that the NHS would be more likely to make availabel to everyone in the UK.


I visited the Charmed Life exhibition at The Wellcome Collection. It was really inspirtional to the work I was doing on this project to do with everyday objects that people carry. The exhibition was about amulets and lucky charms that people used to cary in the 16th century around London some of them were really fascinating. Some amulets were carried in belief against illness and diseases such as the moles feet shown above which were carried as a cure for cramp. This perspective made me think if objects could be seen as cures or a new found belief in medicine.


Taken from the SVA manual

So it appeared that my direction was in objects that people carry and how this could compare in being able to make medicine more mobile through the relationships people have with certain objects they already carry with them on a daily basis. I collected a few peoples keys for a starting point. I photocopied them and realised that the key fobs, keyrings and mini rewards cards could be an oppurtunity of a way somehow to help people remember to take their medicine.


These are a few ideas I have had through the development of the project that I scribbled down in my notebook. The idea development was mostly ways of how everyday objects that people carry could be morphed with medicine such as hiding medicine within objects.




As I was searching for ideas within my development and process I realised that my final outcome was defernitly to be functional. But also with a perspective of a brand for people to believe in as it is medicine. Also the final outcome went into the realms of jewellery of the user looking after such object and for the outcome to look appealing in a simple and clinical way.




I looked to my questionnaires I had sent out at the start of the project for inspiration to find a user to focus upon. Through the questionnaires I relised that most elder people tended to have built their pill taking into their daily routines as a way to remember to take their medicine but also this was done at home and therefore the need for medicine to be mobile wasnt that much of a problem.


The questionnaire on the previous page inspired an idea to morph some paracetamol to a card shape for easy carrying as the person said they kept some paracetamol in the car for emergencies. So the idea was that you could have an emergency supply stored in your wallet at all times. However this wouldnt be successful if you forgot to refill it.


From this questionnaire I found my focus of young females not always knowing if they will be at home or not to take their medicine therefore there is the need for medicine to be mobile.This particular user is taking a contraceptive pill which they have to remember to take with them if they are going to not be at home. And this can be a big problem if medicine such as this is not taken regularly.


I collected these packets from a few female girls I know that have a tendancy of leaving their contraceptive medicine at home when they go out. Some girls even have a number of pill packets running at one time in different places where they normally stay the night etc. Due to them knowing they may forget their pills.

From my collection of pill packets I catergorised them in size order. I realised at how big some pill packets really are and how inpractical they are to be carried round everyday especially when they are prown to damage and lose floating in a bag.


THE SOLUTION I returned to the idea of the card as an everyday object but instead of paracetamol, use a medicine people have to take everyday and that they might not always be at home when they need to take it. I looked at the contraceptive pill due to knowing alot of friends that forget to take it on a regular basis due to not having it with them all the time which is a serious issue relating to certain consequences. I looked at the relationship between the cards shape and the pill blister pack and that by making the pill pack length a couple of inches smaller it became a much more convenient object giving the ability to store it safely in your purse for when you needed it.

I created the card to have similar language and communication that people were used to with medicine such as the clean, simple and clinical design aswell as the way the pills were laid out and how you used it. I kept the days of the week on the blister pack as it enables the user to keep track on the pills they have taken and when. It has very simple information on it, the name of the medicine, the main ingredients, the instruction on how to take the medicine and how long for and the QR code gives the ability to look up the information leaflet using your mobile device. For the complex instructions for certain situations when the medicine may not take effect.


The pill card is more sustainable as there is no need for the box as all the information is present on the card itself. The fact it is a card shape enables it to fit into a purse conveniently. It is cheap to produce as its made out of plastic which all generic cards are made from. It is also more sturdy than original pill blister packs. The chosen colour links to the femininity of the product but the same card function and convenience could be used for other medicines and these could all be colour coded for the type of medicine. By keeping the same medicine language and communication but changing the form and function of the card shape has enabled the pill pack to be more convenient and smaller to enable to be carried as an everyday object such as a bank card and help people to remember to carry their medicine and comply in being able to take it when they need to, whether they are at a friends house or at work.


These images show the user interaction with the card and how easy it is the use and also that the card has been designed to have the same visual communication people are used to with other medicine.


Keep your MobilMed card in your wallet and never forget your medication again.

Keep your MobilMed card in your wallet and never forget your medication again.

Keep your MobilMed card in your wallet and never forget your medication again.

I created these medicine bags to explain how to use the card but also it would be the alternative packaging you would recieve instead of a box in a bag from the pharmacist it would just be the cards and information leaflet in the bag. The colours of the bags match up with that of the corresponding card.

USER INTERACTION This shows the back of the bags and the user instructions of where to store your card and how to use it. There is also a sticker prompt of the instruction as the user would open the bag.

On the bottom of the bags is where the pharmacist can place the patient information like with other generic forms of medicine. It is on the bottom of the bag as some chemists tend to stack medicine on the side to see what medicine is for what patient quicker.


This is the final prototype with just a slight change of the QR code for the mobile patient leaflet now being palced on the back of the card.

Other varieties of medicine that could be applied to the same design. I have also intentionally made the pills colourful as an idea that when you drop a pill you are able to find it easier.

This shows how the QR code works on the back of the card. It is there for the user to be able to access the patient leaflet on the go using their mobile device instead of remembering to carry the leaflet aswell.


MOBILE MEDICINE Major Project 2 Kathryn Henderson BA (Hons) Graphic Product Innovation 2011-2012 07837135350

Mobile Medicine  

This was a set brief from RSA to look at medicine and to improve the portability and mobility of medicine. I focused on the range of objects...

Mobile Medicine  

This was a set brief from RSA to look at medicine and to improve the portability and mobility of medicine. I focused on the range of objects...