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What Is Color Temperature?

A while back we posted a blog answering the question of what CRI (Color Rending Index) is. In that blog I talked a little bit about Color Temperature. Well today is the day that we will un-can the incredibly important topic of color temperature. So buckle up and let's get nerdy.

So what is color temperature? I'm glad you asked!

Color temperature is the description of a light sources warmth or coolness.

The Kelvin (K) scale is how we determine how warm or cool a light source is. The scale ranges from 1000K up to 10000K. The best way I can explain this is through experience - I am sure you have never made this mistake but I have.

It's a Wednesday night all you want to do is relax when you realize that the bulb in your downstairs lamp burned out again. You say to yourself - No biggie, I'll just run to the store grab a bulb and come right home. When you roll up to the lighting section at your preferred hardware store you realize there are about a million options with a bunch of different numbers on the front of the boxes. Overwhelmed by the selection you close your eyes grab a pack, checkout, and hurry home. You unpack the bulb take the old one our and put the new one in. Hardly containing your excitement you flip the switch just to see this appalling blue hue radiating from the fixture. It would be okay except the other bulb in the lamp is emitting an orange hue.

While the example above doesn't directly pertain to the live event industry it does show the importance of color temperature and how it's variance between two sources can clash and be a distraction. While in some cases we do want variance in lighting to help separate the background and the foreground in an intentional manner that is a pretty rare occurrence.

The other big thing about color temperature is it's impact on our moods as humans. Yes, you read that right. The color temperature of a light has a psychological impact on you, your congregation, your staff and so on. Choosing the right color temperature to effectively light and create an atmosphere that you want in a space all starts with lighting.

(Side Note - The reason that most fast food restaurants are wide bright and with floor to ceiling windows is because they want to trigger a psychological response of excitement and alertness in an effort to order more food. Whereas most buffets have less windows and aren't lit as well because they are trying to suppress your mood so you don't eat as much.)

At the end of the day color temperature is a personal preference and choice for your specific space and organization. My hope was that in this blog you are able to know what color temperature is and how it plays a huge role on how we as humans interact with each other in a specific space.

if you have any questions or need help figuring out what's right for your space don't hesitate to reach out. Our team is passionate about lighting. We know it is the one thing that can make break a space.


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