Aug 26, 2020

Pass Me the Big Crayon Box — When Thirteen Colors are Better than Three

Category: Illumination
Vivid real-world (or otherworldly) color light transforms spaces unlike any other change. It makes historic buildings more regal, walkways more interesting and stage acts more enticing.

Vivid real-world (or otherworldly) color light transforms spaces unlike any other change. It makes historic buildings more regal, walkways more interesting and stage acts more enticing.

When you were young and learning to draw, were you one of the tikes who kept reaching into the crayon box to pull out the next color, working it onto a white page to see how it looked, blending and playing colors off one another or pressing hard then soft to see different effects? It is the same with LED lighting today. More options are better. In defining every color of the rainbow, like different flavors of ice cream, designers want more color choices to create more opportunities for great satiation.

Vivid real-world (or otherworldly) color light transforms spaces unlike any other change. It makes historic buildings more regal, walkways more interesting and stage acts more enticing. Our vast color palette of thirteen colors spans from violet to far red and everything in between. The specific colors matter too, because while red, green and blue combinations do an excellent job of portraying tomato red, kelly green and basic blue, it takes the elements of far red to get to velvety red, violet to do deep purple and amber to make a good jewel gold. And one might think that one amber color is enough. But in addition to a monochromatic amber we created a phosphor converted amber emitter that delivers the highest efficiency in cost sensitive applications such as color-changing bulbs. By combining white with various colors, designers get the full pastel family including pinks, powder blues and pale yellows.

Green is one of the most efficient LEDs. We built on this foundation when creating mint and lime, which provide excellent options when it comes to producing warm white light. For instance, color mixing red-orange and specific bins of mint can produce 2200K or 2700K warm whites, which are particularly popular for restaurants and other relaxing settings. The lime color was instrumental in rolling out the first generation of Hue bulbs. By combining red-orange with lime and royal blue, the Hue bulbs do a better job of capturing rich reds, warm orange and golds.

Another important factor in evaluating color LEDs is color accuracy. In other words, what you see is what you get. And just as critical as achieving a precise color with one batch of LEDs is the fixture-to-fixture color matching. By designing colors to illuminate the precise color at the actual temperature inside fixtures, we get color reproducibility that is unmatched.

Engineers at Lumileds design for flawless presentation. Throwing the right color where it is wanted and not where it isn’t often goes back to the design of the tiny LED itself. For instance, we manufacture all thirteen LED colors – and a spectrum of white emitters — to have the same focal height. When multiple LEDs of different colors are assembled in a fixture, rather than having different optics for each color, the secondary optic can be shared widely, reducing manufacturing cost.

Another feature that reduces lamp cost is the identical polarity on all color LED lines. When the positive and negative terminals are consistently located in the same spot on every emitter, board designs (PCB) can be processed faster with no need for redesigns.

Color is casting a new light on everything from vast skyscrapers to party rooms. Color lighting increases the appeal, interest and comfort of any space. The same concept that drove crayon makers to enlarge their box of colors inspires us to deliver an ever expanding palette of LEDs so designers can illuminate spaces wherever and however they like and to our delight.