Stylish and economical lighting: professional secrets and practical tips from lighting designers
17.12.2018 10626

Stylish and economical lighting: professional secrets and practical tips from lighting designers

Today, no matter what we talk about, efficiency comes first. In matters related to the development and implementation of the store’s lighting concept, efficiency is especially important: here is the cost-effectiveness of lighting solutions and equipment, the effectiveness of lamps and the design of the sales area, shop windows, and the effect they have on passers-by and visitors. Experts believe that 60% of commercial success provides the correct lighting of the trading floor and shop windows. What are the trends in the world of light today, what lighting solutions are offered for fashion retailers by designers and manufacturers of lighting equipment, what professionals put into the concept of “lighting efficiency” - says Mikhail Gusmanov, an SR expert in the field of lighting. In this article, you will learn how to equip your store stylishly and at the same time economically, as well as get practical recommendations on how NOT to illuminate your store and its windows.

Mikhail Gusmanov Mikhail Gusmanov - Founder and CEO of NLT (New Light Technology), an expert in the field of LED lighting for retail.

The main trend in the field of lighting today is the transition from classic light sources, metal halide projectors to LED and, accordingly, from linear lamps on fluorescent tubes to LED lamps.

LED lights have become inexpensive, efficient, more compact. They heat up less, have a longer service life, produce less heat and ultraviolet radiation.

Due to this, shoes and leather goods are less affected by ultraviolet radiation and infrared radiation, which emit halogen light sources. That is why premium stores are trying to use LED lights today.

Retail Lighting Trends:

  • the transition is not just to LED lighting, but to high-quality light, optimized and selected for a specific type of store;

  • the use of warm light (3000K) with a high color rendering index (CRI 95 +);

  • the use of highly mobile track systems that allow you to quickly reconfigure the lighting, depending on the arrangement of furniture and the requirements of specialists in visual merchandising;

  • Transition to the basic warranty of 5 years (now - 2-3 of the year).

Effectively and effectively - different concepts

By the efficiency of LEDs, we mean how many lumens (quantity) of light we can get from one watt for energy consumption, and light efficiency is considered as an indicator in which a certain type of lamp is used correctly.

We give an example of inefficiency: in a shopping center with high ceilings, Downlight lamps are installed, but with a matte finish, and the angle of the light flux emitted by them is on the order of 120-160 °. Even if the lamp is powerful, the light flux from a height of 4-5 meters will reach the floor very little, and the functionality of this lamp will be implemented inefficiently.

Another example of inefficiency: instead of one 35-watt lamp, we install four 5-watt lamps on a store shelf, respectively, in the aggregate, this solution will be both more expensive and less efficient than when using one powerful lamp.

The same thing with the use of LED strip to highlight shoes on a shelf in the store. If we try to save money and take a tape less than 10-watt, then we won’t get anything except the decorative function, the goods will be in the dark and the functionality of this light fixture will be used extremely inefficiently.

How to equip your store stylishly and economically?

In order to make the lighting stylish, first of all, you need to understand what concept a particular store belongs to, in which segment it operates.

For mass-market segment stores, this will be an inexpensive light with a total luminous flux on the shelves of the order of 600-700 lux, while light temperatures will be shifted towards the neutral or cold spectrum. In a store with general lighting and an abundance of commercial equipment, which displays a lot of goods, where banners and billboards with the inscriptions “Discounts”, “Sale”, “Buy two pairs for the price of one” are installed on the trading floor, the light will be used to a greater extent for coverage of promotional materials.

If we are talking about a luxury or premium segment store (clothes, shoes, expensive bags), then the style and nature of lighting are shifted to accent, with a warm temperature that emphasizes the details of each particular product (for example, a bag mounted on the podium is highlighted), and thus , all customer attention will be attracted to one specific product.

Focusing on these data, lighting is designed and this or that equipment is laid. Based on the arrangement of commercial equipment, the budget is optimized, the installation height of the equipment, the angle of illumination, power, types of lighting devices are selected.

What are lighting designers?

Lighting designers are engaged in lighting designers, or lighting technicians, as they are also called. These are specialists who understand well how the space in the store is organized, what zones need to be illuminated and with what kind of light. They know how to choose the right equipment, use special programs, can calculate the class, power and angle of lighting equipment.

In most cases, employees who work in stores are specialists in related fields: merchandisers, designers, as a rule, they do not have sufficient knowledge of modern lighting equipment, and, therefore, cannot effectively design light in a store. Professional lighting designers involved in the development of lighting solutions perform a full range of work - from design and delivery to installation, configuration and warranty service.

However, in order to save money, quite often stores independently buy and install modern, cool lamps, but no one sets them up, doesn’t direct them to the goods. As a result, it turns out that it seems that a lot of lamps were bought, expensive and good, but the required level of illumination and quality of light were not observed in the store. Meanwhile, it is enough for the specialist to spend only 10-15 minutes to direct the light in the right direction, and the visual level of illumination in the store becomes the way it was originally designed.

Unfortunately, many retailers, again for the sake of economy, turn to online stores that sell low-cost light and cannot professionally select lighting. But with the help of unprofessionally selected light, it is impossible to solve commercial problems and make high-quality lighting in the store.

Practical recommendations on how it is NOT NECESSARY to cover your store and its windows, and how it IS NECESSARY:

In modern visual merchandising, the right light is 60% of the store’s commercial success. But it is important to know that the basis of the right light is not only the high illumination of the product, but also the selected color temperature, zoning, uniformity of illumination and other subtleties.

First of all, you should abandon the templates and take into account the individual specificity of your store when designing lighting. In large pavilions, general light is important with a slight difference between interior and accent lighting. As for the premium segment and highly specialized stores, here the level of general lighting is often reduced to 300-400 lux (lux), and the most important product groups stand out locally with a high level of illumination from 1500 lux.

Such techniques draw the attention of customers to new collections or special offers. Well-designed lighting can solve not only the problems of specific product groups, but also more global issues. For example, zonal light ranking helps to build a customer’s route in a store according to a merchandising project. Here you can work not only with the brightness of the light, but also with its spectral composition.

Mistakes in lighting stores

Track light


1. At high altitude they place lamps with a wide angle of illumination.

2. Many light fixtures of low power are placed on the busbar, trying to achieve high illumination.

3. The busbar is mounted far from the edge of the shelf (it should be no further than 1,2 m), the lamps do not provide high illumination from a long distance to the goods.

4. They use luminaires with low efficiency but increased current, which allows them to accelerate to a high luminous flux, but this leads to the fact that the luminaires quickly fail, the luminous flux degrades (decrease to 70% of the original) and color temperature (shift to purple , blue and green shades).

5. Cases from old MGL-luminaires are used, which are very bulky; they are not optimized for efficient heat removal from the crystal.

6. The ceiling is white, but they use a black busbar trunking and black luminaires, and vice versa: the ceiling is black, but the light body of the fixtures and a light busbar.

7. Improper placement of the busbar trunking in shop windows (improper lighting of mannequins), near mirrors (blindness of the buyer), in dressing areas (insufficient lighting), in entrance groups (zoning is not observed).

General flood light


1. Incorrectly selected color temperature (depending on the store segment).

2. Incorrectly selected power and luminous flux when using high (non-standard) ceilings - as a result, the store has insufficient lighting.

3. Improper use of light-scattering materials - the loss of luminous flux in this case can reach 50%.

4. Wrong lighting angles: too narrow give spots, too wide - insufficient illumination or uneven illumination.

5. Wrong arrangement of lamps in the trading floor.

Shelf lighting


As a rule, linear fixtures are used, with built-in LED rulers (tape).

1. LEDs with a low color rendering index (CRI 60-65) are used. Practice shows that 80% of the tape that can be bought on the Russian market have such low rates. The product on the shelf has one color, and when it is picked up and the product falls into the lighting zone with a general or accent light, with a good indicator, we get a completely different shade.

2. The light-diffusing screen introduces distortions in the color rendering index (the same effect as above).

3. A powerful tape is used without an aluminum channel, which effectively removes heat, as a result, the tape quickly degrades and fails.

4. A low-quality tape is used that degrades and goes into the violet or blue color range (“blue shops”).

5. LED strip is inexpensive and therefore has a low luminous flux, insufficient to illuminate the goods on the shelves.

This article was published in the 143 issue of the print version of the magazine.

Today, no matter what we talk about, efficiency comes first. In matters related to the development and implementation of the store lighting concept, efficiency is especially important: here and ...
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