Technical Info: Colour Rendition

A light source’s ability to show colour is characterised by two different aspects. Colour rendering, shown as a rating from 0 to 100 on the Colour Rendering Index (CRI), describes how a light source makes the colour of an object appear to human eyes and how well subtle variations in colour shades are revealed.

The higher the CRI rating is, the better its colour rendering ability. In layman’s terms this means……. will the object you are looking at be the same colour when you look at it in natural light. This is why the produce you buy in store sometimes looks much less desirable or fresh when you get it home. Colour Rendition is a way of measuring how accurately a given light source will represent colour.
The number is shown next to the initials CRI (Colour Rendering Index). Lights sources such as LED, halogen, fluorescent and HID will have different abilities to reflect colour as will different manufacturers. Early LED lights had very low CRI but this has improved greatly in recent times. However, there are still companies supplying LEDs, particularly industrial lights, with a distinct green tinge.  LED is becoming dominant in retail and commercial lighting fields
The chart below should only be seen as an approximate guide in selecting CRI.

Knowledge Centre

The sections below may allow you to understand some basic lighting concepts and cover the basics in allowing you to select products. IES files are available on request.

Colour Rendering Index
Ra Application or Use
90 and Over Galleries, art exhibitions, safety applications or anywhere safety is important
70-90 Commercial, residential, retail, hospitality
60-80 Waiting rooms, commercial, light industrial, offices and educational
40-70 Warehouse, light and heavy industrial, workshops where colour is not a
safety issue
20-50 External, security
Where colour matching is linked to safety or is vital in a given application then light sources should be tested and verified in place.

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