Can something as superficial as the colour of a pill influence a drug’s perceived efficacy in the same way that appetite can be swayed by the hue of the food on our plates? Well, research into colour psychology, or chromology, has shown that colour does indeed have the power to affect our emotions, alter our moods, and influence our behaviours. These effects may vary from person to person, and are subject to factors such as age, gender, and cultural upbringing. But one thing is for certain – there is more to colour than meets the eye.
Colour has only been a part of medication since the 1960’s; the earliest forms of oral medicine emerged in ancient Egypt, and for the next 5,000 years all pills were circular and white, until advances in technology allowed them to be made in a limited range of colours. With the introduction of ‘softgel’ technology in 1975, a wider range of colours became available. Today, tablets can be coated in a wide range of hues and gel caps tinted to any of 80,000 colour combinations. It will come as no surprise to learn that colour makes absolutely no difference to the efficacy of any medicine, but it can benefit both consumers and pharmaceutical companies in a variety of functional ways.
This infographic from Cartridge People looks at how colour impacts our perception of medication, as well as other elements of our everyday lives.