Branding with light

Lighting can help define the look and feel of a brand, while enhancing the overall customer experience. Working closely with our clients we develop thoughtful light concepts that are visually engaging, using innovative lighting technology in order to showcase the values of a brand and create inspired lighting solutions.

In this edition, we ask our lighting innovators and respected clients share their insights on the role of lighting in enhancing customer experience and interiors across retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.

Dave Hughes, retail design manager at Fagerhult, gives his thoughts on how lighting can support physical branding by enhancing both the interiors of a space and the overall customer experience.

“Lighting is often used to improve the experience of those using a space, for example in retail or hospitality, or when connecting with a brand.

When it comes to showcasing a brand, lighting is like the icing on the cake; it defines the features of the space, both architectural and decorative.  

The many components of lighting can be mixed and matched to help define a brand’s look and feel, to create lasting impressions and memorable retail experiences. Colour temperature, brightness and contrast are probably the most important, followed by more suitable variations by using colour and controls to change the mood of a space over time.

Dynamic Light

Lighting can be used to emphasise architectural features, making them a decorative element. The main difference with purely decorative lighting would be the setting; commercial interiors often don’t want to incur additional costs for decorative elements.

Lighting highlights a space, but it is also used to show form, and if there is no detail often there is no light and shadow to create interest. In this case the light’s output must become the feature.

This is when innovative luminaires and advanced ways of using ordinary luminaires can create the interest required, effectively painting with light on a blank canvas.

Lighting enhances the customer experience in many ways. We can use light to lead customers through a store and to turn their attention to a particular element within it.

The mood of the space can be changed by the lighting, with subdued lighting creating a calming or cool environment, while bright spaces boost energy and alertness.

In terms of trends in retail lighting, it’s fair to say the Touch Mini range has been the backbone of the retail offer for some time, since the range of lighting outputs and optics provide many tools in a non-intrusive, simple design.

The miniaturisation of LED light engines has also massively increased the possibilities of showcasing architectural elements. Hidden light has always been the architect’s dream and LEDs have made this possible. Lighting controls are also becoming more popular, being used to change spaces over time and lower energy usage.”

Dan Swannack, Retail Sales and Marketing Director for Fagerhult, shares his experience on creating lighting solutions for retail environments.

“When working with our retail clients, its essential for our lighting solutions to capture the essence of the brand. To achieve this, it is important that the store concept characterises the lifestyle and aspiration of the customer, as well as the core product offer. The store concept and lighting solution must be intrinsically linked, sharing tonality, emphasis, and quality design to fully capture a brand. Using lighting controls, light can be manipulated to intensify the brand experience by altering the lit environment, encouraging a change in emotion or practical use of the space which can transport customers to another place or time.

We must also consider the interaction between lighting systems and users to ensure they represent the brand and the needs of the client. The right lighting solution becomes synonymous with the brand, effortlessly unified with the brands’ message

First impressions are key for physical retail, and nothing comes before the façade which gives customers the first taste of a brand. By visually expressing a brands’ ethos while highlighting key products, creative and strategic façade and window display lighting can have a memorable impact. The options and techniques available to retailers are almost endless, particularly with the availability of lighting controls and colour changing LED luminaries.

Sustainability is more than just a trend; it is fundamental to good store design. More recently, there has been a shift in customers’ expectation, who are now eager for the brands they buy from to clearly demonstrate a robust strategy on energy reduction. For example, in a fashion store, lighting consumes around 40% of the total energy use. This is a significant draw and therefore a primary area of focus when cutting carbon emissions. Replacing traditional luminaries with LED equivalents can deliver a reduction of 60+%.

We would always encourage a retailer to consider redesigning their lighting solution to meet the needs of their current store concept. In doing this, we can introduce more flexible solutions that can evolve with the displays as well as being energy efficient.”

Molton Brown

We worked on two projects which showcase how lighting products can make a difference to the experience of consumers.

We collaborated with design agency Dalziel & Pow and the new store concept team at Molton Brown to develop the lighting layout for a new concept store. The design idea was to put a contemporary twist on Molton Brown’s 1970’s heritage, complementing the mix of opulent materials used throughout the store.

Barbara Schweier, retail interior design manager, creative, Molton Brown Global, gives her thoughts on what makes lighting in retail settings so important.

“No one wants to buy food products if they are poorly lit with cold light. It can make or break a brand. Lighting creates a certain mood, atmosphere and feel which is an important communication tool from brand to customer and is part of a brand's identity.

Adjusting colour, temperature and features can be used to customise lighting needs according to the time of the day or to create different scenes when required.

Lighting is an important part of the customer experience as soon as you enter a store. It creates a scene however you want this to look like.

In terms of latest trends, matt black track lighting having some vintage, retro or sculptural elements and feature lighting made out of natural materials.”


Molton Brown Displays

Our retail team also worked with Shed Design to create the lighting scheme for Birdies, a new bar and crazy golf experience in Battersea, South London.

We worked closely with Shed to create a complementary lighting scheme that enhanced the design concept and crazy golf experience, using different elements including a pink neon lighting installation suspended above the bar area, featuring 60m of LED rope lighting

Dave Dalziel, interior architect and designer at Shed, offered his thoughts on the potential for lighting to create mood and heighten consumer experiences.

“Lighting can and does play a vital role in environmental brand experiences. It’s what people experience in terms of a physical space and journey. Design and feature lighting products that play up to a certain design style or schemes aesthetic are only enhanced further by a considerate lighting design approach working holistically.

Subject to how you use it, light can reflect a brand in many ways. Take our recent Birdies project. Without the lighting playing an integral part in the user’s journey the scheme just wouldn’t have worked or enhanced the overall experience as set out. Yes, a customer could have still played crazy golf, but not in the amplified or exaggerated colours, movement, dark into light, spot focus on features and neon colour changes that the set up provided. Birdies ‘the brand’ has an illuminance chaos that instantly stands it apart from the rest. It’s a key element to the experience and just as vital as the choice of materials in its design.


If done well and appropriately strategic lighting design can define a space and its use, particularly when combined with the right design approach, such as calm, relaxing spaces like an intimate dining experience or relaxing spa and treatment. Where a space is high octane and energetic, bright attractive and colourful lighting is needed to show off the product or make a statement.

The absence of light should never be underestimated too. We work on Meat Liquor restaurants where the lack of general lighting is often, if not always, the approach to create an experience aligned with the brand’s personality and offer. It all comes down to a strategic approach that’s right for the scheme and desired outcome of the user’s experience.

Birdies feature lighting

The adaptability and flexibility of lighting products is critical these days. Changing of spots, features, filters and adaptability to allow a client or customer experience to change throughout the day and into the evening or a specific scene desired. Programming systems, whether DALI or equivalent, are ideal in brand hospitality or retail spaces and can create a pace and energy to a space whether it be bar, restaurant, retail or home. 

The latest trends are seeing smarter units, discreet where possible, unless fittings are needed to enhance the interior or exposed light fittings are part of the intended interior scheme. And as designers we have a role to play in seeking out better performing products and materials with energy use in mind. This is where controls and timers to adjustment systems certainly are advantageous.”