Retail Lighting

Retail lighting has only three functions as far as I can tell:

  • to entice customers into the selling environment
  • to make sure the “stuff” looks good and encourages customers to buy as much as possible
  • to ensure customers / visitors enjoy their experience so much that they tell someone else about it and they do the sa

So we use lighting to directly address peoples senses and emotions and to create “brand” identities.  

This type of creative lighting has been boosted in recent years with the development of LEDs as they bring a wealth of colour variations, brightness and versatility that allows designers to go to the max.

Now I am not a Designer and have no pretensions to be one.  I don’t get called upon to design shop fronts for major high street retailers – more’s the pity I often think ‘cos some of their shop windows are rubbish – but every now and then a brave soul allows me to put on my creative thinking hat and introduce something a little bit different into their retail business.  

Step forward Peter Wilson of Mackenzie & Cruickshank and most recently Richard Sainsbury of Sainsbury’s Furniture & Carpets in Aberdeen – you have my eternal gratitude for your bravery and commitment.

So for what it is worth here are some of my thoughts on Retail Lighting.

First thing to consider is CRI – Colour Rendering Index – a numerical measure of how true a light source illuminates a coloured object compared with a set of “ideal” or standardised colours. CRI is expressed in terms of 0-100 where 100 is true to nature.  Colour is massively important especially when it comes to lighting – ‘cos we can radically change the appearance of the illuminated products in both positive and negative ways – witness the furore when it was revealed that butchers routinely bathed their meat products in red light to make them look more appetising.

So no tricks like that from me but I am a believer in “daylight” – approximately colour 85 so 85% true to natural daylight if you like.  It’s a contentious choice because this colour light contains lots of blue and so can be very stark, cold, call it what you will, and so is often best married with some Cool White (colour 63 or so) to create contrast and soften the harshness somewhat.

Second thing to consider is the balance between ambient or general background illumination and accent and display lighting – again the use of LEDs has changed the way we do things because displays can be so much more dynamic when your light sources come on instantly at full brightness and colour changing is easily built into the fitting design.

Third major area is price – easy for me to recommend loads of sexy lighting systems but if they cost an arm and a leg they will never pay for themselves so I am always talking to suppliers about keen pricing and opportunities to supply my clients direct for maximum savings.

If any of this makes sense to you give me a call or drop me an email – lets get talking.