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How does colour temperature affect lightboxes & graphic displays?
With LED lighting now mainstream in commercial and residential environments, most people know about the effect varying colour temperatures can create.
In essence, different colour temperatures change the appearance of light emitted from a diode. For example, when you’re using a lower colour temperature - usually around 3000k, the LED light gives off a ‘warm white’, which is tinged with hints of oranges and yellows. In contrast, ‘cool white’ LED light, which is around 7000k colour temperature, gives off a colour closer to blue.
Closely controlling colour temperature is something which lighting designers, in particular, have been considering in retail stores for many years, as a result of the psychological effects lighting can have on the consumer (see our blog here).
However, the same can’t be said for graphic displays. The majority of retailers use illuminated graphic displays throughout their stores, attracting attention to key products, areas and promotions. These often consist of an aluminium frame and a fabric graphic, that are backlit by LEDs.
Our philosophy is that the effect lighting has on the fabric graphic, should be viewed in the same way that light affects photography.
Traditionally, photographers adjust white balance to apply the correct colour temperature for any given image, compensating for any surrounding light that could have affected the picture. The example above shows how modifying white balance can restore a natural colour to an image.
The same effect can be seen in LED Lightboxes and the graphics that they’re illuminating. The LED lighting that sits behind the graphic can change the appeal of the image, and more importantly, can sometimes alter the appearance of products that are on display.
Take the dress below for example, which was taken from a recent campaign by Topshop. If the graphic was applied into a lightbox incorporating warm-coloured LEDs - around 3000K, the dress looks to be a cream/beige colour. Comparatively, placed into a lightbox with cold-coloured LEDs - around 7000K, the dress could be seen to have a blue tint.
Although there are variations in both the left & right images above, the middle image, which looks the most natural, would still require a custom colour temperature to match the tones in the graphic. The most important message we’d like to get across is that there is no one size fits all solution to colour temperature - each graphic needs to be treated individually for the best effect.
We’ve been producing LED Lightboxes specifically for application in retail for over a decade, as a result of our in-house manufacturing capabilities and LED Lighting expertise. We work with our clients to develop light boxes on an individual basis, specifying the correct variations of colour temperature, light output and much more depending on the environment the lightbox is being installed into.
Clients such as River Island and SuperDry rely on our expertise to illuminate their latest products and promotions, whilst maintaining the overall store image. As I’m sure you can imagine, illuminating a graphic in a SuperDry store is very different to illuminating one in River Island!