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The importance of colour psychology on patient recruitment materials


At COUCH Health, we recently conducted a research project in collaboration with Lancaster University, exploring the impact of five key variables (copy, concept, colour psychology, headings and patient centricity) on the effectiveness of clinical study recruitment materials. Results to be released shortly. However, as a teaser we thought we’d create a mini blog-series – not only to showcase the results we found, but to emphasise why these variables are so important to consider when developing recruitment materials.


First up, is the psychology of colour.


The power of colour psychology

Colour is a powerful tool; just looking at different colours can influence the way we think, feel and behave. It’s known as colour psychology – different colours evoke different emotions. For example, warm red tones convey warmth, love and passion, whereas blue cool tones symbolise calm and serenity.


The psychology behind colour isn’t new to the marketing industry. Emotional marketing is a common technique – from creating good first impressions for a new business, to persuading a customer to buy their product.


But what about in healthcare? With recruitment and retention issues, could colour be used to improve the patient experience?


Considering colour in healthcare

The use of colour in healthcare settings should be carefully considered, due to its ability to influence our psychological and physiological reactions. This chart below shows the way different colours are believed to influence our mental health.


Colour in patient recruitment strategies

The same approach applies when designing patient recruitment strategies, as this could influence a patient’s decision to take part.


We’ve talked before about designing recruitment materials – with colour being one of the main factors to consider. It’s important that patient recruitment materials stand out – not only do you want to catch the reader’s attention, but you also need to evoke an emotion that will allow the reader to relate to the clinical research study, and ultimately make them want to take part.


Previous research has found posters that do not use eye-catching or engaging colours are often overlooked by the audience (Erren et al., 2007). Our research at COUCH Health was in line with this statement – participants believed that the poster that used eye-catching colours and bold images was the most effective.


The key take-away

Despite numerous research studies exploring the effects of colour in advertising, this topic is less researched in the healthcare industry. However, colour is one of the main factors that should be considered when creating materials for patient recruitment, due to its ability to evoke different emotions.


Keep an eye out for our next blog in this series to learn more about other variables to consider for patient recruitment materials.


References

1. Erren, T. C., & Bourne, P. E. (2007). Ten simple rules for a good poster presentation.

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