How Can Lighting Design Enforce a Company’s Brand?
Originally published by USGBC Colorado, February 16, 2016
Jeff Bentley, LC
There are several ways that lighting can reinforce a company’s brand or Mission and Vision Statement.
Corporate branding has always been important and with the advent of color printing and color television, color joined the font and logo, among other aspects, as another portion of corporate branding. With traditional sources, it was possible to use color gels to closely mimic a company’s colors. These gels deteriorate over time and often weren’t easily accessed to replace the gels. LED’s increase a lighting designer’s opportunity to accurately replicate a company’s colors and when applied with tasteful reservation, color changing LED fixtures can be an additional element to announce a company’s branding.
The University of Wyoming Foundation is entrusted to raise, receive, and manage private gifts to maximize support for the University of Wyoming. The UW Foundation was doing this successfully in an older and what some considered outdated space. They realized that if they were going to recruit top research students, student athletes, professors, private and corporate donors, the first experience of the University of Wyoming needed to reflect the same status that a diploma from the University receives. This new structure would be the “Gateway” through which you enter the University of Wyoming.
Though an extreme example of branding, the University of Wyoming’s Marion H. Rochelle Gateway Building has the University’s colors, brown and gold, along with halo lit signage that includes the UW Seal and the bucking horse logo throughout. Additionally, there are custom wall sconce fixtures that have the bucking horse logo and large custom ceiling fixtures that are crafted to resemble the brown-eyed susan flower from which the University’s School Colors are derived. The signage and bucking horse sconces are blatant examples of adding branding to a space, but the hand crafted brown-eyed susan fixtures are a more subtle way of adding an element which holds significance to that brand.
As previously mentioned, the University’s colors are a very important part of the UW branding. This meant that the design team had to work together closely to accurately replicate the colors where lighting was used as the color source. The UW Foundation wanted the building’s exterior to have a nighttime presence with the ability to show support for the sports teams along with being able to add color to the building for various holidays. It became obvious early in the design that the gold color could not be accurately replicated with an off-the-shelf Red, Green, Blue (RGB) source fixture. The design team worked with the fixture manufacturer to get a fourth LED that was Amber in color added to the wall wash fixtures. This RGB+A fixture, along with DMX control allows the University to dial in the gold color that is reflected off of the building’s façade. As these fixtures are capable of producing many other colors too, they are also used in other combinations such as red, white, and blue to show support for the troops on Memorial Day.
In the building’s interior, the halo lighting behind the bucking horse logos makes them stand out from the wall, adding a three dimensional element to the logos. For the backlit translucent paneling, the gold color was once again an important element. The RGB+A fixture was one lighting fixture option, but due to the custom nature of this fixture and the large quantity that would be required, it was cost-prohibitive. Samples of the translucent paneling were provided to the lighting designer and mock-ups were performed. When a static white LED cove fixture was placed behind the paneling, it glowed gold. This solution was shown to the UW Foundation and they agreed that the gold color was acceptable. The design team worked together to develop a detail for the light box behind the translucent paneling as well as a way to remove the paneling to do maintenance on the fixtures when necessary. The design team worked with the construction team on the best mounting location for the fixtures to evenly illuminate the paneling.
This project is a great example of how bringing a lighting designer on board early can provide additional opportunities to reinforce a company’s brand with lighting elements. Successful collaboration amongst the design team, including the Architects, Interior Designers, Graphics Designers, and Engineers was paramount to the end results, but did not stop there. The construction team was integral in that they had to accurately interpret the designs and bring them to life to replicate the UW Foundation’s vision.