Good retail store lighting accentuates featured displays by using the best color, intensity, suitability and dramatic effects. Display lighting makes products and specialty items pop out from their surroundings and draw in the attention of customers. Special items can be featured in window displays, counters, showcases and shelves.
Contrast is the Most Important Feature of Display Lighting
Research has proven that the most eye-catching displays are those that heighten customer attention using accent lighting that intensifies the featured items. This allows those items to be distinguished from the surrounding ambient or general lighting. The contrast lighting should also improve the perception of the display and its attractiveness, which varies depending on the target market’s age and gender. Males, females, the youth market and seniors are all influenced by slightly different lighting and color preferences:
- Males – blue tones.
- Females – soft pastels, coral, pink, pale purple.
- The youth market – bright lights, colored mood lights, drama.
- The senior market – soft, warm, white lights.
In general, accent lights should be narrowing beams and 10 to 20 times brighter than the surrounding light.
Color is Another Big Influence in Display Appeal
The use of color – both color appearance or temperature (CCT) and color rendering or ability to represent the true color (CTI) – is another strong influence on the appeal of featured displays. Keep in mind that general lighting must enable customers to assess and examine products and make purchase decisions, and accent lighting must work in conjunction with the general lighting to draw attention to, and highlight the features of, specific products.
Color temperature is measured in Kelvin (K) degrees – 3,000K is warm white, 3,4000K is neutral white, 4,600K is cool white. Warm white conveys comfort, safety, and intimacy; 3,000K to 3,500K works well for gold jewelry. Cool white emphasizes the sparkle of jewelry and fine glassware, and the shine of metal; aim for 6.500K or higher. Natural white and daylight with color renderings (CRI) of around 100 are best for examining color and texture of most products.
For color choices ranging from the two extremes of red and blue – red is best for capturing attention, blue is best for visual appeal, and white is best for seeing and assessing products. For example, red hued light enhances the appearance of vegetables; cool blue tones make foods like yogurt appear more appetizing. Lumens measure the density of light falling on surfaces (lux) and light levels of 1000lux are great for catching attention.
Product Displays Benefit by Specific Lighting Choices
- Window displays – accent lights and pinpoint lights should be 10 to 20 times greater than the background lighting, which can be dramatic up lights or down lights.
- Showcase displays – light sources should be from the top and back to avoid shadows, and intensity should be about 30 foot candles (fc).
- Shelves below eye level should be well lighted with wide area background lights.
- Up lights are great for creating dramatic effects, and eerie shadows.
- Narrow-beamed down lights help create contrast between a product and its surroundings.
To accent any display, depending on the space and location, there are endless choices of light emitting diode (LED) recessed lights, strip lighting, rope lighting, cove lighting, drop lights, clear glass, frosted glass, wall lamps and spot lights.
Clever retail store lighting can draw the eye, highlight displays, enhance the appearance of featured products and increase sales.
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