Wow, another blog about display lighting you say.

How can there be any more info about lighting to be interested in?

Well, stay with me and I’ll take you on a journey of facts figures and fascination to give you an insight on another level into the world of lighting design and installation that not many people realise exists.

We all get that display lighting is important right?  Right! 

Not only do we need to consider how much light is hitting the items in question, as described in the previous blog, we also have to give consideration to the quality of light that is being used - not all light sources are the same you know.

Light quality can be summed up as ‘brightness combined with true colour representation’, the second of which is measured according to Colour Rendering Index (CRI).

The best way I can think of to describe CRI in relation to a light source is as follows: Imagine a fresh, juicy orange sat on a white shelf.  Now imagine an old-fashion fluorescent light fitting switched on and placed next to the orange.

The light would illuminate the orange really well, but the colour of the orange would be “bleached”, the fluorescent light would give the orange a yellow glow.   It would be lit, but it wouldn’t appear as ‘orangey’ as it should.  An old style fluorescent fitting has a poor CRI so it doesn’t light up the orange accurately.  (The colour of the tube used would also have a bearing on how the orange looks but that is a topic for another article.)

Using light sources with a high CRI will light the orange brightly and accurately, in a way that doesn’t change the colour or how the colour looks. The colour should “POP” and be as accurate as possible.

Recently, advances in LED lighting technology have helped LED to redefine lighting accuracy and allow items to look natural and bright in order for them to “jump” off the shelf and catch the eye of a potential customer.  But beware, you do need to consider CRI when designing display installations, even with LEDs.

We were recently called in by a client to see if we could help with an unusual problem.   A brand had a feature wall behind the display shelving that was light up with LED tape. The wall was painted a dusky pink, but for some reason it didn’t look pink.   The wall had been re-painted a number of times to no avail before we were asked to have a look.

We tried out different LED strips to see which worked best.    It soon became apparent that we could quickly improve the situation.   We replaced the existing LED tape for a different tape that was the same colour but with an improved CRI.

Once all the new lighting was installed, the feature wall was the required dusky pink - no more painting needed - well, at least not for the time being.

CRI completely made the difference, and it was a pleasure to see the concept designer’s original vision finally come true.