Brand experience & emotional connection through light

A few years ago Nulty conducted an independent study on how lighting design can create an emotional connection between a user and retail environments. We already know that light can help aid the functionality of a space for tasks, wayfinding and highlighting key objects, while at the same time telling the user a story. However, light is also a fundamental design element that evokes connections and engagement between a user and their surroundings, ultimately helping to create a positive experience. This makes lighting a very influential tool.

During our research we identified that environments that encourage self reflection, such as changing rooms, restaurants and cosmetic counters, make people immediately more emotionally connected to the space and self-aware. Therefore, creating an emotional connection with the product and environment, through lighting as a response tool, is key to building a relationship between users and their surroundings.

Lighting research and technologies have previously looked at the built environment in response to interior design, but what about lighting the human factor within retail design? With the current trend towards human centric lighting in education, hospitality and commercial projects, we’re still seeing limited human centric consideration within retail design.

People ultimately want to look and feel good. Research has shown us that up to 80% of sales’ decisions can be made in the changing room, and we know that most cubicles are illuminated by artificial light. Lighting in this instance should be honest, but more importantly it should make people look and feel good. If the lighting is unflattering a customer is more likely to leave with a negative experience of the brand and the store.

Today’s consumers demand more from their shopping experience, and the right lighting helps meet these needs by creating an ambiance that’s engaging and forms an introduction to a brand’s story. With the physical store now competing more and more with the online marketplace, retailers need to go that extra mile to attract people into their stores. Consumers are now expecting the three-dimensional environment to be engaging and experiential, and want to be immersed in a brand from the moment they walk into a store. And it’s a well-designed lighting scheme that can help achieve this, encouraging dwell time, which will ultimately increase sales.

If you’re based in Mexico City and interested in the topic of retail lighting, Paul Nulty and I will be talking at the ELA Expo Lighting America conference TODAY! Our time slot is 17:00 – 17:45 hrs.