Lighting design: what is it?

lighting design

The purpose of light design – change, transformation of space or an object to give it volume, depth, originality, to create new visual images and influence on the mood and emotions of people. This is done with the help of lighting solutions, which include not only lamps, chandeliers, sconces and LED tapes, but also natural sunlight. 

The three components of lighting design


The primary task of lighting in a room is to make a person stay in it more comfortable. The light should have a positive effect on performance, to create the conditions for a good rest, not causing fatigue or tiredness. Light has to be easy to adapt to one’s needs, for example by reducing its intensity or changing the color temperature. 


All interior and exterior design elements should be visually appealing, complementing the design style of the room, emphasizing its strengths and masking its weaknesses. Depending on the room light should create a mood. For example, the living room has more light sources than the bedroom, as many people can be in this room at the same time. 

Energy Efficiency

Lighting solutions should not be excessive or use outdated technology that leads to overconsumption of electricity. Each type of activity (study, work, leisure, etc.) has its own lighting standards, which a lighting designer should always consider when designing. 

Lighting design is at the intersection of science, design and engineering design. Realize itself in this profession can be people with both technical and with a humanitarian mind. 

What lighting designers do

Development of the concept of a lighting system. This part of the work involves collecting detailed information about the facility (housing, restaurant, cafe, bar, office, shopping center, etc.), the customer’s wishes, setting goals and objectives of the project. Often at this stage is performed initial sketching – a rough visualization of the concept of light for approval by the customer. 

Lighting design. This is the main part of the work, which involves editing a draft of the building or room, taking into account the placement of lighting devices (and often creating a project from scratch). In addition, lighting calculations are made in the Dialux EVO program, one of the most popular in this area. Also at this stage equipment is selected with specific technical characteristics. 

Visualization. To represent the customer, they often make high quality realistic renderings – images of the future interior or exterior of the building, based on a previously made 3D model. Visualization is carried out with the help of specialized software – renderers, or graphics engines. This can be built into the 3D software or installed separately. Sometimes not only digital images are created for presentation to the client, but also printed albums, which can be carefully studied and saved for the future. 

Preparation of final documentation. At this stage, adjustments are made to the project, depending on the wishes of the customer, a full package of drawings and specifications of electrical appliances, as well as the final visualization, with which the final result will be checked with the finishing of the room. 

Author’s supervision or implementation. This is an optional stage of lighting design, which agencies offer as an additional service. Supervision – this is a control of the embodiment of the project. In the process, the lighting designer needs to interact with the client, architect and project implementers at all stages of implementation. There is not only the installation and testing of devices, but also the setting of light scenarios – the rules of intelligent use of lighting devices. In the systems “Smart House” light scenarios are adjusted and applied automatically by voice or manual commands. 

lighting design

What a lighting designer should know and be able to do

Create lighting concepts – know the features of light direction, the laws of composition, color theory, be able to zone space, place accents and make sketches to represent the concept, have an artistic taste and knowledge in the field of interior lighting styles 

Calculate illumination – be able to make technical calculations, understand the types of lighting fixtures and be able to select them, understand the optics and physics of light.

To work with documents – to be able to work in software for design of interiors and exteriors, to make sketch plans, make drawings, competently fit lighting into room plans, to make specifications, to prepare documents for builders. 

Work with 3D – be able to visualize the concept of lighting in an interior to present the result of the work to customers.

communicate with customers and contractors – be able to interview the client correctly, listen and hear him, discuss the project, set goals and objectives, perform designer supervision and follow the project.

Thus, it is a very interesting and multidimensional specialty, which allows you to show yourself from different sides.