No grey areas in the good use of colour

Strong colour on reception desks is often used to focus attention where it is needed and to guide people to where they need them


Nick Butcher and Dr Nick Hayward follow their last article – on the importance of a strong brand identity – with a look at colour and how this can become a powerful tool in helping to create a great healthcare user experience.

Many people find colour a scary subject. We all have our own likes and dislikes; many see it as subjective and difficult to use strongly without offending someone. 

Much research has been conducted on colour theory and there are some startling conclusions on how much colour can affect us both physiologically and emotionally. As designers, we can use these findings to great effect.

The psychological effects of colour can be immense. In 2009, blue lighting was fitted at the end of railway platforms in Tokyo in an aim to reduce the incidence of suicide. 

It was installed due to claims that blue lighting makes people calmer and less impulsive. As a result, suicide rates fell by 74% at the stations where the lighting had been installed .