Light and Color
Understanding Light

Learn about the science and technology of visible light and the families of light sources from traditional light sources to LEDs and beyond. Explore the relationship between the color characteristics of light and how they affect the way we perceive the world around us.  


Light Affects Everyone
Of all the technological advances over the past century, nothing has completely altered our lives as much as light. Day and night, indoors and out, at home, in the work place, in stadiums, parks, hospitals and schools, on highways and at airports, light is fundamental to our modern lifestyle.  

Quantity and Quality:
Until fairly recently the technology of light was straightforward. Electric light was produced by incandescent lamps with very little concern for the quality or visual appearance of that light. Instead, light was considered primarily in terms of its quantity. The goal was simply to deliver adequate, properly directed light to perform the tasks associated with an environment. Sufficient light quantity is still a major requirement of any installation. Today, however, it is understood that the quality of that light can both enhance people’s ability to perform tasks and influence their emotional state.

Ongoing Technological Innovation:
Today’s technology has vastly increased the number of options. The ability to precisely control the quality as well as the quantity of light has led to the availability of light sources that can exert subtle but pervasive effects on the appearance of an environment. Advances in our understanding of the psychological impact that light and color have on a wide range of human emotions and activities, have made the intelligent use of these options increasingly important to the success of any installation.

Meeting the Information Needs of Lighting Professionals:
People in the industry who select sources and fixtures often lack the complete technical knowledge needed to make fully informed decisions about their use. Consulting engineers and electrical contractors understand the mechanics of electrical system design but may be unaware of the psychological importance of color and the impact that can have on it. Architects and interior designers may have only limited information about how the latest technology can achieve desired effects.