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    Layers of eye candy:

    Creating captivating retail displays using embedded lighting


    In the face of ever-more compelling online experiences, brick-and-mortar retail brands must create more commanding and memorable experiences for their customers. Embedded lighting – the fusion of LED lighting into architectural surfaces and retail displays – provides creative new tools to attract foot traffic, create brand impressions, and drive sales.


    Embedded lighting allows designers to create layers of visual richness in retail displays, mixing patterns of light and using integrated shelf lighting and digtial media systems to steer the discovery, guidance, and exploration of the merchandise. 

    The background layer: attraction

    The background layer acts as an eye-catching canvas to demand attention and  pull guests to the merchandise display. Embedding creative optical effects, where every point of light is digitally controlled, allows for mesmerizing dynamic animations to bring these surfaces to life. Depending on the space available, the background layer can incorporate luminous animations that span an entire wall surface and attract attention from a distance – this is the critical “long shot” that might pull passers-by into a store or stand out amongst a clutter of different retail shops. 
    luminous patterns shoe store

    The foreground layer: get close

    Once attention is gained, the focus needs to shift to the merchandise. As a guest physically moves closer to the retail display, the background layer recedes from focus due to its scale, composition and light levels. 


    Instead of relying on traditional spotlighting from the ceiling, modern retail design places the light close to the merchandise, to draw the viewer’s focus naturally to the object at hand. With the proliferation of ultra-thin LED strip lighting with smooth, uniform output, it has now become common to integrate lighting even in “impossibly” thin shelves.  The shelf itself can be a glowing surface, with the merchandise sitting on top of (or in front of, or underneath) splendidly bright surfaces.  Either way, the merchandise is significantly brighter in appearance than the larger background, and at close range, fills the viewer’s frame of vision. As a result, customers just want to reach out and touch the merchandise.


    The Middle Layer: Digitally Augmented Guidance

    When a shopper is attracted towards a retail display, they may need a layer of wayfinding or product guidance to find the exact product they seek – visual guidance abstractly layered between the long view and the up-close detail view. This creates opportunity to add a digital “barker” to hook and guide customers. Such digital content may be incorporated in a digital screen, a projected “augmented reality” overlay, or something more advanced, like an interactive experience that senses a person’s presence, location, or touch to trigger content scenarios. With all three layers digitally controlled – the background, foreground and the digital overlay – the entire display can be scripted to create an engaging guest flow from far to near.


    Layers of emotion


    In order to attract and keep customers, brands need to create emotional, memorable experiences at the point of purchase that compete effectively with the best digital experiences.  Creative new optical effects are possible with embedded lighting, giving brands new tools to augment their presentation. For example  a previous post, detailed how  the Philips Luminous Patterns product line was designed to engage specific emotions, such as romance, tranquility, or dynamic action. Brands can make a statement to their customers via a tangible, visceral experience that is difficult or impossible to replicate via online channels. To find out more about how Luminous Patterns is changing retail design, click here.