• 01.25.12

Pharmacy’s New Branding Cures The Design Blahs

Stockholm Design Lab gives the brand ID of a Swedish pharmacy chain a big old happy pill.

Here’s something we don’t see too often: a graphic identity scheme for a pharmacy that isn’t a) antiseptic and vaguely intimidating, b) stuck in 1985, or c) both. (Looking at you, Rite Aid.)


Instead, the Swedish pharmacy chain Vårdapoteket uses vivid jewel colors and cartoonish illustrations of the human body to create a lively look for the various bags, promotional signage, information leaflets, and wallpaper at its 24 stores.

The idea, according to designers Stockholm Design Lab (SDL), was to help the pharmacies “distinguish and contrast themselves from the often very clinical and barren environments that hospitals make out.” Vårdapoteket is unique among pharmacies in that it’s located solely in hospitals and care settings. So unlike the Rite Aids and Duane Reades of the world, which do double duty as grocery stores, Vårdapoteket caters largely to sick people.

Sick people have different needs from someone shopping for discount soup cans. Research has shown that positive environmental factors can reduce patients’ anxiety and even contribute to their overall well-being. SDL’s design, then, offers a small glimpse of cheer in an all-too-often stressful setting. Even if your pills are tough to swallow, the bag they come in won’t be.

[Images courtesy of Stockholm Design Lab]

About the author

Suzanne LaBarre is the editor of Co.Design. Previously, she was the online content director of Popular Science and has written for the New York Times, the New York Observer, Newsday, I.D.