Information Systems

Let there be light!

Various fluorescents for a showcase
Written by Nadja Hansmann

Light attracts attention and that is crucial for disseminating promotional messages. Psychologists say that contrast, the interaction of light and dark, is decisive for the perception. After all, one should neither be dazzled nor have something worth seeing left in the dark. How light acts on us and what light sources emanate which light is a science of its own.

In practice, similar aspects based on the most commonly used technologies will play a role again and again: fluorescent tubes are relatively cheap to buy and consume much less electricity than incandescent and halogen lamps. Therefore, they are still used in mostly large-scale shopping areas. However, those who do not want to put their customers under constant stress due to the artificially acting neon light with its high UV content should use “warm-emitting” illuminants. Under a colour temperature of 3,300 Kelvin, however, there is an acute danger of falling asleep. Some tubes promise a colour temperature of at least 5,300 Kelvin and thus produce a daylight-like effect. Defective fluorescent tubes always leave an unfavourable impression and should be replaced immediately.

Energy-saving lamps are also used extensively, which in principle are miniaturised fluorescent tubes. The continuous colour spectrum of incandescent lamps is missing in energy-saving lamps and their larger relatives. Due to their discontinuous spectrum even almost white appearing energy-saving lamps produce colour distortions. Here, the incandescent lamp with a maximum colour rendering index (Ra) of 100 is still the benchmark. Due to their poor energy efficiency, however, they are meanwhile hardly produced in the EU, if at all.

Halogen lamps consume significantly less energy than incandescent lamps with the same luminous efficacy and can achieve a similar colour rendering index (up to 95 Ra). However, they are also considerably more expensive and are therefore less likely to be used for large-area installation. Anyone who values a presentation of their goods that is as true to colour as possible can hardly avoid deploying special and more expensive fluorescent tubes, halogen spotlights and LEDs.

Uniform illumination in showcases through deployment of LEDs

Uniform illumination in showcases through deployment of LEDs

LEDs are the latest trend in lighting technology. The variant-rich semiconductor elements produce the highest amount of light in terms of the energy used yet, so far, are less suitable for the diffuse illumination of everything and everyone. Their strength lies in the extremely small design and the precise light output. Individual aspects such as individual goods or decorative objects can thus be emphasised precisely and with acceptable colour rendering values of up to 97 Ra and even a contingent colour change in the RGB spectrum is possible. Laid out serially, one can also realise planar light sources. Critical points are the heat build-up of the LED chips, which increases with their performance, and the interaction with the electronics which is necessary for their control. It is therefore better to forego LED in shop windows which are exposed to direct sunlight.

These technical questions are already solved for prefabricated, self-luminous advertising media. Here is always the right intensity and a colour temperature appropriate to the purpose. Textile light frames can thus easily and accurately light up any desired motif. Textile light frames are always a visual highlight, whether hanging on the wall or from the ceiling, as a room divider or sound insulation. Displays, light boxes and columns are suitable for different applications, e.g. as signposts, poster pillars, info points or as a decorative frame on the wall. Thanks to the integrated lighting with fluorescent tubes or LEDs, colours are always displayed to their best advantage. The same applies to self-illuminating showcases and vitrines. If the visually exciting contrast to the illuminated environment is given, nothing stands in the way of the impressive effect of luminous advertising media.

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