Have you ever designed a graphics project, an interior, applied cosmetic or dressed yourself under one lighting condition and everything looked perfectly fine? But when you looked at the same colors in a different lighting environment they looked horrible?
Allow me to shed a little light on the subject. Rest assured you weren’t suffering from a temporary case of color blindness. You were most likely experiencing a color and light phenomenon, called Metamerism. This phenomenon happens when colors or materials appear to coordinate or match under one lighting condition but not in another. This is due to different light energies when combined with different color components or pigments.
Color Rendering Index (CRI) and the Effect of Light
CRI (Color Rendering Index) is the measure of the degree of color shift of an object when illuminated by a light source. The higher the CRI number the better visual perception of colors in an environment. The CRI measurement ranges from 0 to 100. Natural, outdoors CRI is 100. Your better par 30 LED flood light will render 92 CRI, where your better soft white and day light, 50 W, fluorescent light will render 82 CRI.
When it comes to Color, Choose Your Light Source Carefully
When selecting colors it’s imperative that you consider the light source, in which the design will ultimately be seen in. If your design is intended for interiors, select the colors indoors under its actual lighting. Likewise, if your design or color scheme is going to live outside in natural light, don’t make your final color selection inside. Natural daylight (morning, noon, sunset and the time of year) fluorescent, incandescent and LED affect colors differently.
Color & Lighting Conditions
Fluorescent lighting has rapidly replaced incandescent, saving consumers a bundle on their utility bills. The lighting industry has been making great strides in improving the quality of fluorescent lighting, but they’re not all are created equal. So when purchasing fluorescents, do your home work get a better lamp with a higher Color Rendering Index.
LED (Light Emitting Diodes) are lighting the way of the future. Everyone’s on the cut cost-cutting and saving the planet band wagon. While it’s important to use our resources wisely, it’s equally important that good-quality lighting isn’t sacrificed in the process. LEDs have a longer life span than and fluorescents, emit more light per watt, show truer colors and are better for our health. But here’s the catch. To replace your standard light bulb, with an LED will put a dent in your wallet about $69.00. On the up side, you won’t have to replace it for years.
The Effects of Light & Color on Your Bottom Line
I was recently a keynote speaker in Helsinki, for a group of food manufacturers and food package designers. Prior to my color and light presentation, I had the pleasure of meeting some of the key leaders of Finland’s food manufacturing and packaging industry. I discovered that the majority of the businesses were wrestling with one common challenge….color and light. While their product’s food quality and package designs were perfectly fine, the lighting in the grocery stores where their products were on display was not. For example cold cuts and other meat packing were bathed in poor-quality fluorescent lights, which made the food look spoiled, consequently they were losing sales. There is now a dialogue between the food manufacturing, packaging designers and grocery stores to improve this problem.
Interior & Exterior Design: Light Affects the Perception of Color
Here’s my number one “Must Do” prior to creating any interior design project. Evaluate the lighting! If it’s of poor quality or a low CRI (and it generally is) I change it before making the final color selection. I’m so passionate about this that it’s written into in my contract, that the client uses the specified lighting. I never intended to get into the light bulb selling business. But the reality is poor lighting combined with Metamerism will kill beautiful designs.
Many professional lighting stores have areas with various test lamps set up, where you can evaluate your colors and finishes.
For interiors, don’t just lay the intended finishes, such as carpet, cabinets, fabric and paint on the floor. View them in their intended position; colors look different vertically and horizontally. The same goes for exteriors and be sure to select exterior colors outside.
Live with the colors for a few days; view them at different times of the day before making your final decision.
Color, Light & Your Health
Quality lighting not only helps increase sales, beautifies the colors in our interiors, it improves our health. Lighting with a higher Color Rendering Index makes us feel better and look healthier.
There are countless clinical studies showing that poor-quality lighting (primarily fluorescent) adversely affects our health.
Over-illumination or poorly designed spectral composition of light can cause headaches, stress, fatigue, anxiety, depression and difficulty consecrating. If that’s all not bad enough, poor lighting can even cause a decrease in sexual function.
The next time you’re out shopping for light bulbs, choose wisely because lighting affects every aspect of your colorful life.
Color Turners- turns the art of color into profit. Denise Turner is a high-energy, result-oriented marketing expert and colorist, who guides businesses and manufactures to grasp the importance of color to achieve greater success. She helps them, turn their knowledge into increased sales and customer satisfaction.