Color-Coded Bloodstream


(I had planned to post this first thing yesterday morning, but I had a doctor’s appointment so I am only now getting around to putting it up—one day later.)

An array of color-coded injectables, designed by Sophia McDonnell of Sophoula Design. Being an insulin-consumer, I’m always interested in vial packaging. (Even vial-shaped packaging.) And I like it when color, used for product differentiation, creates a “sum-is-greater-than-the-parts” visual display. (See: Rainbow Array Packaging.)

Assuming that the bottles above represent McDonnell’s entire color scheme, it’s also interesting to note that her 7-color system roughly correspond to Isaac Newton’s seven spectral colors.

TargetColorCode In pharmaceutical packaging, however, the whole point of color differentiation is purportedly safety. So I’m intrigued when the no-nonsense, serious business of color-coding is so attractively arranged in an aesthetically-pleasing order. Reminiscent of Deborah Adler’s much-celebrated design for Target Store’s ClearRx packaging. (On right and also featured in The Museum of Modern Art’s collection)

Still, color-coded injectables are really nothing out of the ordinary. It’s just that we don’t generally get to see them all lined up together in a row. As attractive as they are—these photos showing all of the available colors—it’s a display that only your pharmacist would ever be likely to see. Injectable drugs are not, as a rule, lined up for display in the over-the-counter section of your drug store.

But something else struck me during my appointment yesterday. Just as our doctors rely on color-coding to help differentiate between a variety of medicines that are injected into us—a similar color-code system is used to contain what they take out of us.

(Part 2, after the fold…) 

As a diabetic, I’m continually having blood drawn for hemoglobin A1C and a number other blood tests. Yesterday morning was no exception, but in this case I couldn’t help but notice how the racks of color-coded blood collection tubes tied right into the subject of this post.


(via: Zibo Yuehang Industrial & Trading Co., Ltd.)


Randy Ludacer
Beach Packaging Design

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