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  • The colour panacea, why pill colours help our health

    Posted on June 27, 2017

    Imagine you’ve just burned your self, you really need soothing cream to take the pain away. So what colour is your imaginary cream? How good does it feel when it is white, no would it do the same job if it came out of the tube in red. Given the choice which soothing balm would you trust. You probably have a favourite choice even if it’s clinically proved that they both work just as well. If you don’t agree then offer the same choice to your scalded screaming child. Multiple trials, including many with placebos, others with active drugs, show that patients’ colour-effect associations can impact a drug’s actual effectiveness by measuring physical signs like heart rate and blood pressure. So even if it is just in our head if has an affect on the effect.

    Pharmaceutical companies are well aware of these often emotional associations and carry out extensive related research when developing new products or even re-branding old ones. Here are some of their findings. Apart from the incredibly successful drug Viagra, generally blue pills act best as sedatives. Red and orange are stimulants. Sunshine coloured yellows make the most effective antidepressants, while green reduces anxiety and white is used to sooth pain.  What would you think if you were prescribed black or grey pills? Brighter colours and even embossed brand names further strengthen these effects. A bright yellow pill with the name on its surface, for example, may have a stronger effect than a dull yellow pill without it. A novel way of measuring a brands strength.

     Cultural variances are often a reason why the same drug may appear quite different in separate countries. When researchers take the users culture into account things get a bit more complicated.  An odd finding is that, the sedative power of blue doesn’t work on Italian men. The scientists who discovered this anomaly assume it is due to the ‘Azzuri’ effect’ as Italy’s national football team play in striking Azzure blue so they associate the colour with passion and the drama of a football match, actually getting their adrenaline pumping. Also yellow’s connotations do change in Africa, where it’s associated with the better anti-malarial drugs, as eye whites can take on a yellow tinge when a person is suffering from this disease.  Hard to establish such things back in HQ in Basel, without input from the market.

    Colour also has more a really practical role in drug manufacturing. In light-sensitive products, tints can lend opacity, keeping active ingredients stable. Colour, together with shape, also aids drug recognition. This ensures that drugs aren’t mixed up during production or packaging, a nightmare scenario that would have terrible repercussions for patient safety as well as brand reputation and big Pharma pockets. And colour’s role in drug recognition is equally important at the patient level, preventing accidental overdose by helping patients on multiple drugs to recognise each one. This is most relevant to the elderly, who are often on multiple drugs and may be dealing with complications from eyesight degeneration or dementia. It’s also a bonus to healthcare workers, who have to give out lots of different drugs in a short space of time. Colours role here shouldn’t be taken lightly; at one time almost 5% of all UK’s hospital patients receive incorrect medication.

    Drug colours also are vital in identifying which drugs have been taken in an overdose situation. Then a mixture of healthcare professional and Police need to establish the type of drugs taken often from leftover packaging, unused pills or from relatives at the end of a phone. here is a handy drug identification guide used by UK Police.

    But colour-effect associations can also backfire. While a drug’s hue acts as a mental imprint, reminding people to take their medications, this also means that patients are also likely to stop their medication regimen if drug colours are changed. This is one of the reasons why drug manufacturers ferociously guard their designs and colours with patents, and generic companies try so hard to resemble them. They are just as keen to ‘copy’ as the actual makers of fake medicine.

    Drug packaging and the actual size of the medication is also important in giving users certain effect expectations.  But that’ s another story.

    Posted by Neale Gilhooley

    Further reading

    The Atlantic article  – The Power of Drug Colour (October 2014)

    Design Taxi article – Healing Power Of Colour  (July 17)

  • Will you be GDPR* compliant by 25 May 2018?

    Posted on June 15, 2017

    Image of the ICO information commissioners office websiteAlthough that is currently 9 months away, these things take time to put in place and test rigorously. If you need to to ask that means the *General Data Protection Regulation, the government has confirmed that the UK’s decision to leave the EU will not affect its implementation. The ICO (Information Commissioners Office) is committed to assisting businesses and public bodies to prepare to meet the requirements of the GDPR ahead of May 2018 and beyond.

    Who does the GDPR apply to? The GDPR applies to ‘controllers’ and ‘processors’. These definitions are broadly the same as under the DPA (Data Protection Act) ie the controller says how and why personal data is processed and the processor acts on the controller’s behalf. If you are subject to the DPA, it’s most likely that you will also be subject to the GDPR.

    As a controller, you are not relieved of your obligations where a processor is involved – the GDPR places further obligations on you to ensure your contracts with processors comply with the GDPR.

    As a processor, the GDPR places specific legal obligations on you; for example, you are required to maintain records of personal data and processing activities. You will have significantly more legal liability if you are responsible for a breach.  Do take particular note that these are new obligations for processors, a new  requirement under the GDPR.

    The GDPR applies to processing carried out by organisations operating within the EU. It also applies to organisations outside the EU that offer goods or services to individuals in the EU. And it will apply to the UK now and after Brexit.

    What data/information does the GDPR apply to?

    Personal data :  Like the DPA, the GDPR applies to ‘personal data’. However, the GDPR’s definition is more detailed and makes it clear that information such as an online identifier – eg an IP address – can be personal data. The more expansive definition provides for a wide range of personal identifiers to constitute personal data, reflecting changes in technology and the way organisations collect information about people.

    For most organisations, keeping HR records, customer lists, or contact details etc, the change to the definition should make little practical difference. You can assume that if you hold information that falls within the scope of the DPA, it will also fall within the scope of the GDPR.

    The GDPR applies to both automated personal data and to manual filing systems where personal data are accessible according to specific criteria. This is wider than the DPA’s definition and could include chronologically ordered sets of manual records containing personal data.

    Personal data that has been pseudonymised (taking database identifying fields and replacing them with artificial identifiers, or pseudonyms eg key-coded) can fall within the scope of the GDPR depending on how easy or difficult it is to attribute the pseudonym to a particular individual.

    Sensitive personal data: The GDPR refers to sensitive personal data as “special categories of personal data” (see Article 9). These categories are broadly the same as those in the DPA, but there are some minor changes. For example, the special categories specifically include genetic data, and biometric data where processed to uniquely identify an individual. Personal data relating to criminal convictions and offences are not included, but similar extra safeguards apply to its processing.

    More specifically the GDPR affects and includes the rights  for individuals:
    the right to be informed;
    the right of access;
    the right to rectification;
    the right to erasure;
    the right to restrict processing;
    the right to data portability;
    the right to object; and
    the right not to be subject to automated decision-making including profiling.

    Plus the right to data portability is new. It only applies:
    to personal data an individual has provided to a controller;
    where the processing is based on the individual’s consent or for the performance of a contract; and
    when processing is carried out by automated means.

    Posted by Neale Gilhooley with much of this information coming from these sources:

    ICO website for further reading

    ICO PDF titled Preparing for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): 12 steps to take now.


  • Complete website upgrade for Pioneer Contractors

    Posted on May 23, 2017

    In late 2010 Evolution worked with Hayley and Andy at Pioneer Contractors to build their first website along with a new logo and colour scheme. The website was launched early in 2011 and intended to be an first point of contact and easy to introduction to their business services which were initially mainly based around their core electrical service.

    Move forward to 2017 and technology and expectations advance, along with the introduction of new trades and services Pioneer Contractors realised they could put more into the website and certainly needed more out of  the website in terms of gaining enquiries and lead generation. The website needs to be the marketing arm of the company.

    screenshot of pioneer homepageThe diagnoses was to convert the website to a fully responsive WordPress site, along with introducing the new logo and adding more pages to effectively portray their full range of services to traditional desktop and also now to mobile and tablet users.  The new site has a scrolling image carousel and plenty of space to advertise their new building and refurbishment services. So the newly re-build site was launched and as we had installed Google Analytics on the original site we can benchmark progress and evaluate the site traffic better.

    “Evolution created a website that is far more modern, clearly showing our services and we have had great feedback from it. I also appreciated the time that Neale took in training me to use the WordPress site all provided as part of the original quotation. I would not hesitate to recommend Evolution Design and will continue to work with him in the future.” said Hayley Edwards of Pioneer Contractors.

    It does show the importance of taking time to introduce the benefits of a mobile friendly responsive WordPress website as a way of appealing to both to new and existing clients. We have also helped by giving a social media boost to try and bring in relevant traffic to the new site. Pioneer are particularly proud to have a large gallery and customer testimonials and reviews which they have worked hard to garner.  This will grow over time and also helps give customers real confidence when finding a contractor to work on your business or home. To view the new website and to find a quality contractor visit > Pioneer Contractors