What Does the Lighting Have to Do with a Good Outdoor Advertisement?

Good Outdoor Advertisement

In retail science, it is long established that lighting is a key to break or make the store’s performance. In fact, bright lighting has been associated with energy, positiveness and honesty; often having a favorable impact on a store’s sales. According to Wikipedia, bright lighting triggers a higher level of engagement among customers, speeding up “the pace at which customers purchase products.”


But what about the lighting used in advertisements such as Billboard or outdoor advertising?


In digital outdoor advertising where giant LED screens are being used, the consideration for the brightness affecting road-users while creating an attractive vibrant display is measured differently than lighting and could include measures such as Nits and Footcandles. We will leave this topic for another day although there are many resources such as this.

As for billboards, from the Ultra International ‘s blog, it is the essence of the research that TPM Outdoor wish to share about the right type of lighting that we use for our billboards. Why do some billboards look more appealing than another? Could it be the design of the visual ad? Even using the same visual on two billboards with different color temperature, the visual on one is clear, crisp and true to color. The other, while still clear but because of the light source, the yellowish glow lends a cheap feeling to the billboard. This can be improved as simple as tweaking the lighting.

To quote the author, William Hall “Good lighting can’t overcome bad content, but it can certainly weaken good content.” Thus he points out two qualities that we need to consider in the lighting for our billboards which are color temperature (color temperature) and the Color Rendering Index (CRI).


The color temperature is defined as the “numerical measurement of its color appearance.” Color temperature is conventionally expressed in kelvins, using the symbol K, a unit of measure for absolute temperature. Color temperatures over 5000 K are called “cool colors” (bluish), while lower color temperatures (2700–3000 K) are called “warm colors” (yellowish).


Color Temperature Chart in Kelvins


Usually, it is easier to associate color temperatures over the spectrum, with real world items i.e. Candlelight, Sunlight, LCD monitor. It will be a mistake to assume that the higher the color temperature would mean that it is suitable for billboards. In fact, the recommended color temperatures of the metal halides or the LED lamps that we use are in the range of 5,500 -6,500 Kelvins.


The following is a great reference of LED lamps to the color temperature chart.


Kelvin Color Temperature Scale


As for CRI, this Color Rendering Index is less important than color temperature. The CRI refers to how closely light resembles the colors you would expect to see when viewing an object in sunlight, or color accuracy.


On a scale of 1 to 100, the higher the number, the closer that light source mimics natural lighting. Thus according to the author William Hall, scores of 90 are considered high CRI and are considered excellent. However, such a high score is unnecessary for billboard lighting thus billboard lights do not go above 80.


Budget Direct Insurance at PPC Night Photo
Budget Direct Insurance Billboard @ People’s Park Centre


TPM Outdoor also consider regular upgrading of the LED lights that we use over time of use; the rate of decline in brightness will cause the LED to be less bright. Other technical factors to choosing good billboard lighting will include the lumens, viewing angle and even the design of the lighting arms to project the lights from the billboard. This ensures a uniform forward throw of lighting distribution across the right length and height of the billboard.


Eskom Use Electricity Wisely Billboard Ad


Since we are on the topic of lighting, there was a brilliant billboard ad by a South African electric company created to get business and individuals to turn off unnecessary power usage.


Hence, the only time, when the outage of the billboard lighting IS THE POINT and boy does it drive home the point, since the billboard is illuminated only on the message portion. But as quoted by the post’s author “It is brilliant by night but confusing during the day I must say.”


As Perfect Media Outdoor (TPM) tells our clients – please focus on the visual ad and leave the technical of making your billboard great up to us.



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