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1994 Edition, January 1, 1994

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Lighting Design Process

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Product Details:

  • Revision: 1994 Edition, January 1, 1994
  • Published Date: January 1994
  • Status: Not Active, See comments below
  • Document Language: English
  • Published By: Illuminating Engineering Society (IES)
  • Page Count: 20
  • ANSI Approved: No
  • DoD Adopted: No

Description / Abstract:


 Lighting design is the creative process for developing lighting solutions for the safe, productive, and enjoyable use of the built environment. In the past there has been an overwhelming emphasis on assuring that an appropriate gunfight of light is delivered to the task or work surface. Quality of light has been considered mainly in the limited sense of controlling direct glare from luminaries or reflected glare from surfaces and objects. However, lighting design extends far beyond these factors. Light is one of the tools used to shape our environment, visually and emotionally. Lighting design is a synthesis of light and shadow, color, form, space, rhythm, texture and proportion, achieved through an understanding of the technology necessary to produce these effects. Working with these elements is what distinguishes the work of the lighting designer from that of the artist, from whom the lighting designer draws inspiration, and from that of the engineer, from whom the designer learns practical problem-solving techniques.

Part of the appeal of designing with light is its illusive nature: its effect can be almost palpable and may be visually arresting, yet the rays of light themselves are usually invisible. When designers or users talk of "light," they often mean the effect of light on a surface or object: highlight and shadow, soft gradations of light, or the sharp definition that comes with focused point sources. Light reveals form: wall planes, three-dimensional space, architectural details, furnishings, sculpture, the branching structure of trees. Light can enhance or diminish elements of the built environment and also the natural environment.

Light profoundly affects our feelings of well being, awe and wonder, mood, comfort, and motivation. It influences how we perceive all the other elements. Light patterns evoke psychological responses such as "bright," "dim," "magic I, " "dull I I , " "mysterious , " "pleasant ," and "forbidding."