Summer is winding down and the busy fall trade show season is heating up — and so is the importance of event lighting.
“Having just attended EXPO 2017 in Astana, Kazakhstan, I can say that lighting — in all its forms — is an undeniable trend in experiential design, encompassing everything from mood-enhancing, color-shifting illumination to immersive AV installations and interactive projection,” says Travis Stanton, editor of Exhibitor Magazine.
Expect to see more of these event-lighting features at this fall’s trade shows.
There is a reason so many trade show exhibits use these lights that clip or mount to the tops of booth walls, panels or shelves. They’re a brilliant choice for lighting up almost anything. Arm lights have been used for decades, so what’s new and different?
Because traditional halogen-based arm lights are wasteful, requiring more power and putting out extra heat that can make a booth feel warm, exhibitors are switching to LED-based arm lights. It seems like a subtle shift, but it’s an important one for several reasons.
First, LED arm lights are a money- and power-saving option. They’re far more energy efficient and last longer than halogen or incandescent bulbs, but they still deliver bright illumination, saving exhibitors on the electricity needed in their booth. Many LED arm lights also have an option to run them off of a high-powered battery. More portability and easier setup mean more of them will be used in and around booths.
As Stanton says, “lighting is a key design element that can enhance the attendee experience.” And lighting design often includes light bars in and around an exhibit.
These light powerhouses might not be directly visible but they’re an important element. Like lightboxes seen at malls, airports or subway stations, rigid light bars are placed inside all kinds of exhibit signage, graphics and logos to make them shine brighter.
But until recently, most light bars used traditional fluorescent tubes. These emit light in every direction, making them less than ideal for exhibitors because it’s harder to control where the light shines. Fluorescent light bars are also more expensive and have a well-known environmental impact.
LED light bars provide directional light. This makes them an increasingly popular choice on the show floor because exhibitors can precisely control where the light shines. The long life of LED light bars also means they don’t have to be changed as often. That makes them perfect for illuminating hard-to-reach spaces like high-hanging signs or logos, all while minimizing greenhouse gas emissions.
Wave strips are another event lighting feature on the rise. These are identical to extremely popular and versatile LED light strips — except they’re flexible in all directions. LED light strips are only flexible in a straight up-and-down motion.
Before wave strips, applying LED light strips to curves and angles meant time-consuming cutting, and adding connectors or re-soldering. Wave lights are printed on flexible boards so they can be twisted and turned at any angle, making it significantly easier and faster to add lighting to complex designs, or shapes or logos with lots of angles or corners.
Wave lights are a time-saving option for exhibitors to add backlighting in their booths. And without the need to cut, connect or re-solder, wave lights are an ideal lighting choice for exhibitors who want to keep setup time and costs to a minimum.
With the ease of use and flexibility of these products, high-impact event lighting is accessible and affordable for any exhibitor — and that’s why you’ll be seeing more of them in the coming months. After all, as Stanton says, “in the context of experiential design, effective lighting is about more than illumination. It’s about attracting the eye, directing attention, setting the scene, fostering an ambiance, enhancing the experience and putting your products and services in the best possible light.”
Get more advice from industry experts on other ways to improve your event lighting by downloading our free Event Lighting e-book.
HitLights delivers LED lighting solutions for event exhibits, displays, signs, theater and film productions, and manufacturing. CEO Bin Yu formed the company through the Louisiana State University Business Incubator Program in 2010. Since then HitLights has grown to become a major player the LED industry. Customers come to HitLights for quality products, helpful customer service and creative solutions.