A gutsy rebrand puts pharmacy chain in the best of health


In 2010, the Swedish Government’s privatisation of state-run retail pharmacies included the sale of 24 outpatient pharmacies at hospitals and healthcare facilities. The purchaser, a pair of private equity firms, had a unique asset on their hands: a small chain of shops with, thanks to their locations, built-in credibility and an almost captive market.


While other newly-formed pharmacy chains did battle on the high street for customers’ trust, Vårdapoteket was able to make the most of its unique position and locations. To add value to the asset and win a return on their investment, the client partners were willing to be brave. They looked to SDL to create something special from their small pharmacy chain: a brand and a destination to remember.


Our strategy for the business and the brand was to offer customers, many of whom would be patients away from home, a welcoming oasis of calm amid the sterility of a healthcare facility. We introduced a broad, vibrant colour palette, softer lighting, clearer information, and bright, graphic wallpaper that celebrated the miracle of the human body – not with cheesy images of happy families but with forms inspired by anatomical and botanical illustrations.

Project partners:
Kari Moden
Urban Design Architects


Sure enough, Vårdapoteket won more than its share of column inches, not least for its wallpaper of technicolor internal organs – it took guts. Even we were surprised that the reception was overwhelmingly positive, from customers, patients, staff and the client. The brand’s impact on the pharmacy market was equally eye-catching: before its sale in 2013, Vårdapoteket had increased its sales by 30% and won four tenders for in-patient pharmacy services for county councils.


↓ Aramal by Josef Frank


Anatomical illustrations by Ryohei Kojima