Dezeen Magazine

Self Expiring packaging by Gautam and Kanupriya Goel

Self Expiring packaging by Kanupriya and Gautam Goel

This packaging for medicines changes over time to clearly show when its contents are no longer safe to use.

The proposal by designer Kanupriya Goel and biologist Gautam Goel addresses the problems of expiration dates wearing off, labels not being printed in a universal language, or text that's too small to read.

The designers decided to tackle this issue after seeing their grandparents struggling to find and read expiration dates on different medications, but also believe their proposal could help in third world countries where the concept of medicines expiring is less well understood.

dezeen_Self Expiring packaging by Kanupriya and Gautam Goel_2

The packages and labels comprise several layers of a diffusible material, with information about the contents printed on the top layer and warning symbols hidden on the bottom.

Over a predetermined period, the ink on the lower layer bleeds through the material until it covers the surface with symbols that were chosen as universally recognised symbols of danger.

dezeen_Self Expiring packaging by Kanupriya and Gautam Goel_3

The timed process begins immediately when the medicine is packaged and is tamper-proof, reducing the likelihood of expired medicines being resold illegally.

Other intelligent pharmaceutical packaging projects on Dezeen include medicine packets named after symptoms rather than ingredients and a kit for distributing medicines to remote locations that's shaped to squeeze in the gaps between Coca-Cola bottles.

See more stories about packaging »

Here's some more information from the designers:

Self Expiring

Self Expiring is a packaging material for medicinal products that visually 'self expires' over a fixed period of time. This packaging will graphically display a 'not fit for consumption' message using universally accepted danger signs in regional languages. This solution will prevent illegal sales of expired medicines and fatalities arising from their consumption.

Consumption of expired medications can lead to prolonged illness, increased healthcare costs, and life-threatening situations. The current solution of imprinting the expiration date on medicinal packaging is ineffective for multiple reasons including non-universal choice of language (such as English), small and unreadable font type, and loss of information with usage or wear and tear. All of these issues can collectively lead to accidental consumption of expired medicines.

The proposed solution uses a packaging material that will visually 'self expire' over a designated time period. The packaging is composed of two layers of information: the foreground, which contains the medicine label, and the background, which carries a hidden expiration message. These are separated by multiple sheets of diffusible material through which the ink from the hidden message will seep through as time passes. This timing sequence will be initiated from the very point of packaging of the medication itself. It will prevent retailers from illegally selling expired medications for personal gains.

The choice of colour(s) and the design of the expiration pattern include universally accepted signs of danger. The ability of the packaging to alert a user visually takes a significant burden off the users. With this solution, the users would not have to struggle with reading fine print in a language they do not understand, or search for a printed expiration date around the packaging with limited visual capabilities and/or dexterity. This solution will prove to be more efficient and widely understood by the illiterate to prevent accidents and fatalities arising from the consumption of expired medicines.