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March 22, 2019

If you think lighting design is simple, think again. Lighting design has become a creative extension of architectural design. According to the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD), knowledge of physics, optics, electricity, ergonomics, business, codes, environmental issues, construction, vision, and the art of design are all essential to creating great lighting solutions.

Today’s lighting professionals must be knowledgeable across these foundational areas plus they need to know about the latest LED and controls technologies, the Internet of Things (IoT), human centric lighting, and so much more. Good, solid architectural lighting design requires this background knowledge. Great lighting design requires all of this plus an artistic creative vision.

Architectural lighting design is both an art and a science. The technical and scientific side addresses codes, standards and regulations. The creative, artistic side addresses aesthetics and enhancing the human experience. A good lighting designer with multi-disciplinary knowledge can bridge the gap between these very different sides of the design process.

Measuring the value of a lighting designer

Commercial lighting design starts with a simple question: what is the intent? There are many ways a lighting designer can enhance a commercial project and/or reduce costs, including:

[BF/IT]1. Aesthetics[BF/IT]

[BF/IT]2. Function and the human factor[BF/IT]

[BF/IT]3. Sustainability[BF/IT]

[BF/IT]4. Budgetary/Cost[BF/IT]

Selecting a lighting designer

There is no standard path toward becoming a commercial lighting designer. The title is used by a range of professionals in the lighting industry including electrical contractors, electrical distributors and architectural designers with varying backgrounds and qualification levels. However, independent professional lighting consultants with the below credentials or educational backgrounds are one point of reference for your search:

Photo: Mathematics exhibit at the Winton Gallery in London, U.K. lighting design by Arup. Photo by Giulio Antonutto-Foi. The project earned an IALD 2018 Award of Merit;  www.iald.org/IALD/media/Media-Library/IALD International Lighting Design Awards/2018/MERIT-Mathematics-Gallery.pdf