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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)

  • 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

    (updated 15 March 2018) This client is undergoing a phase of restructuring, more news to follow.

  • National consumer advertising campaign for SELECT

    Posted on May 10, 2017

    Evolution has just launched a second advertising campaign for SELECT the trade association for the electrical contracting industry in Scotland.  As a follow up to last year’s national radio campaign, where we create 3 radio commercials to support their new safety campaign broadcast across Scotland, now adding more media to the mix. Radio, Railways station Posters and also national and regional press adverts.

    SELECT have continued advertising with the main commercial radio network of Scottish stations from big city stations Radio Clyde and Radio Forth to Moray Firth RadioNorthsoundRadio BordersTay FM, and WestSound and West FM to deliver the message in a catchy 20” commercial designed to be a factual safety message with out being alarmist, ending with the line visit to encourage potential customers to make contact with a SELECT contractor via their search function of member firms.  You can hear the commercial here. The schedule was mixed and included some peak drive time slots.

    New to the media mix this year is the addition of Scottish national and regional press using adverts targeting consumers, of which businesses and householders made up the key audiences, with largely the same issues. Using big bold half page colour adverts depicting the real safety issues that unqualified electricians can leave householders with, we demonstrate the values and benefit of using fully qualified, professionally trained Electrical operatives, especially SELECT member firms.









    The list of publications that gave us the best media efficiency in covering the nation was quite large, the full schedule included these titles:

    1. Scottish Daily Mail
    2. Aberdeen Press & Journal series
    3. Dundee Courier series
    4. Southern Reporter
    5. Hawick News
    6. Selkirk Advertiser
    7. Berwickshire News
    8. Berwick Advertiser
    9. Peeblesshire News
    10. Borders Telegraph
    11. Ross-shire Journal
    12. John O Groat Journal
    13. Inverness Courier


    In most editions we secured excellent position being early right hand pages, so very prominent and for many the first time they will have seen an advert for SELECT.

    The other addition to the media mix was the inclusion of outdoor advertising, with posters at 4 of the busiest Scottish Railway Stations each with very high footfall figures; SELECT chose to use 4 sheet poster sites at; Tweeddale, Stirling, Kirkcaldy and also Glasgow Central. The creative had to do a different job but we kept the core concept just made it more direct and impactful. We took a mixture of regular sites and for Glasgow Central we chose a backlit site.

    Posters sites at railway stations


    Anecdotal evidence indicates that these sites have been quite visible and successful in boosting awareness as well as a much better understanding of exactly what SELECT and their member firms can offer.

    Posted by Neale Gilhooley