Anyone looking for retail lighting solutions should not only study interior design, but also they should take some time to study how lighting works in other ways, including:
Lighting in Film
If you get a chance, watch Orson Welles’ classic noir film The Third Man. The black and white film’s use of light is simply stunning. Although the film’s director credit goes to Carol Reed, many believe that Welles’ had a heavy influence on the film’s look and tone. Scenes are filmed in almost overwhelming darkness, with light being used in the background to create a halo around a silhouetted figure, or you will see an actor cast in white light entering a solid black backdrop. The result: you’re never distracted, you’re always looking exactly where the film wants you to look.
If you’re at a loss for how to light your store, here’s an idea: watch some classic films and pay close attention to how the director uses light to guide the viewer. Consider also the following options for retail lighting solutions:
Light Attracts More Attention than Darkness
The eye is more attracted to lighter tones than to dark. Your customers will always look at a brightly lit poster with a lot of white space before they look at a darker poster tucked away in the corner. In other words, if you’re holding a sale and need to get rid of a certain product or products fast to make room for a new shipment, put them and the sale sign under bright lights.
Don’t Go Overboard with Lighting
A bright environment is vital, but you don’t need to flood every corner of the store with light. When everything is brightly lit, the customer doesn’t know where to look. Keep an even lighting tone throughout the store, and save the bright lights for where you want your customers to be spending more of their time.
Take Backlighting into Consideration
Backlighting is a trick that film directors and photographers use to create a halo of light around a subject. This trick is used in retail, as well. Jewelers place lights behind sale items, vendors display cases for food and so on, all while frequently using backlighting.
Not all stores make this possible; you probably don’t want to stick a lamp behind the display rack of a dress shop, but you’d be surprised how common this trick is, from putting a light behind a display pie at a bakery to backlighting rare items in a sports memorabilia shop.
In short: use light to subtly suggest to your customers where you’d like them to go and what you’d like to look at, and dim the lights where their attention isn’t needed.
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