What exactly is a lighting designer?

June, 2014

There is big a difference between a Lighting Designer and someone who installs lights. The designer is focused on creating a specific result for the client, whereas others are purely concerned about filling darkness.

This concept is often misunderstood. To put it another way, the designer is focused on creating a particular atmosphere that affects people's moods. For example, a designer will light up a shop window with the specific aim of attracting customers. The key is to use exactly the right colour temperature and focus the light uniquely on the products to make them as inviting as possible.

The interesting thing about this is that most people will not realise it is the lighting that is affecting their mood. It's the subtleness of it that is so important. If you walk down the Champ Elysee in Paris, the warmth of the lighting will be a big reason you are in a good mood. Similarly, the cooler and brighter lighting used in convenience stores is used to encourage shoppers to move briskly and not spend longer than necessary in the store.

The same principles work at home. If you want the ambience to be warm, you need the right colour temperature and the light focused in the right places. It's not about filling darkness, but creating a warm, welcoming feeling.

So next time you consider a lighting plan for work or home, think about what mood you want to create. A professional lighting design can go a long way to creating that for you, whether it be to sell more goods, increase worker productivity or create a cosy and warm environment at home.

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Lighting Council New Zealand
Illuminating Engineering Society of Australia and New Zealand
New Zealand Green Building Council
Standards New Zealand
Association of Lighting Designers
Pure Advantage - Green Growth for Greater Wealth
New Zealand Retail Interior Association
Canterbury Employers´ Chamber of Commerce