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Why is there no Standard for LED Lighting?

Retail store with bright lighting

Datacolor Ebook: Fundamentals of Color

By Ken Butts, Global Key Account Team Manager

The theme for the 2019 AATCC International Conference was “innovating today for a challenging tomorrow.” Some of the most influential names in the textile industry gathered in Fort Worth, Texas to discuss these challenges, many of which are already being faced today.

On day two of the conference, Roland L.Connelly Sr. of RoLyn Group Color Consultants compared LED lighting adopted by retailers to LED lighting standards from CIE.

For the past three years, the retail apparel industry has been anticipating the final list of standard light sources from CIE. Having these standards for light cabinets and software is essential for consistent results across a global supply chain.

There was a hint of progress in December 2018, when CIE came out with a list of 9 LEDs. Roland surveyed seven retail apparel companies to find out what LED sources they had implemented in their stores, and whether or not they agreed with one from the CIE list —knowing that the companies need to communicate those CIE selections to their supply chain for consistency.  

The result? Only three of the seven companies had retail light sources that matched closely enough to a CIE source to feel confident in specifying that light source for color control software and light booths.

We know that different light sources can have a dramatic impact on the way we see color. And after all the work that’s been done around LED standards, there’s still a lot of variability in lamps being used. Using inconsistent light sources during the garment development process can quickly lead to issues like a matching set coordinating in-store but not at home, or the shade of green a color team agreed upon for the season looking entirely different in stores.

Implementing a new light source can have a significant impact on quality and brand perception—but choosing the right light source to use across your supply chain can be challenging without an experienced and knowledgeable partner to guide you through the process.

Without LED standards in place, retailers can’t assume that the LED they’re using in-store can depend on one of these nine CIE light sources. But our team can help you figure out where your company stands with light sources and help you navigate the path towards consistent lighting and consistent, accurate color.

To learn more about our textile industry solutions go to datacolor.com/textile.

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