I read a fascinating article last weekend in Wired about placebos. The article describes how placebos seem to be getting more and more effective over the past decade. Why does this appeal to a graphic designer in Northern Colorado? As researchers work to understand placebos their studies are taking into account things that sound very much like design. For example, here are the results that they found when they tracked how the color of a placebo pill affected the patients results.

Pills that are yellow seem to have a bigger effect when treating depression.

When pills are red they seem to have a more stimulating effect.

Green pills reduce anxiety better than other colored placebos.

A white placebo works better than other placebos when used for antacids.

Isn’t that amazing? Essentially, the only thing that these patients are experiencing is the act of taking a colored pill and they are reporting relief from their symptoms! I find this fascinating because it is so easy to let color choices be an arbitrary decision. Even the most color-sensitive clients that I have worked with rarely think about how their color choice could directly impact their sales. Is the use of color in you logo, website and marketing materials hurting or helping your business?

Color is just one of many design decisions that go into creating a successful product. Many of these decisions that seem trivial or inconsequential directly affect your sales – for good or bad. Many companies make the mistake of designing a logo or website themselves without realizing the damage they are doing to themselves. A good designer is extremely sensitive to color and the effect that their designs will have on people. The “placebo effect” of design can impact your sales in very real ways. Give us a call and let us show you why good design is good medicine.

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