Scientists say more than half the brain is devoted to processing visual images and eighty percent of learning is based on visual input 1. Thanks to the 2002 discovery of a photoreceptor in the eye, scientists are better able to understand why the benefits of good lighting at work, taking into account both the visual effects and the biological effects are so important. Apart from the health and wellbeing advantages for the workers themselves, good lighting also leads to better work performance (speed), fewer errors and rejects, better safety, fewer accidents, and lower absenteeism 2. The overall effect of all this is better productivity.
Color is an inseparable part of our lives and is a part of everything we perceive. Color has a strong impact on our emotions and feelings (Hemphill, 1996; Lang, 1993; Mahnke, 1996). There is a direct connection between the brain and the body, and reactions to color take place independently of thought or deliberation (Birren 1989) 3. According to the Institute for Color Research, people make initial judgments about a product within 90 seconds of their first interaction with it, and between 62% and 90% of that assessment is based on color alone1. Choose poorly, and that initial assessment can be a harsh one 4.
In a market research project for the Wild Bean Café, owned by BP Gas, Dan Hill of Sensory Logic videotaped subjects as they walked through four proposed formats for the coffee shop. The goal was to analyze their positive and negative reactions to color, layout and flow of the space, as well as how much sensory input could be given without overwhelming the consumer. Hill's research showed that a space should not be crowded since "emotionally, you want to feel comfortable". One spatial matter is nonnegotiable: people don't like to feel trapped or hemmed in, Hill says. In one Wild Bean Café format that broke the visual flow with a barrier of goods, the subjects felt a sense of fear. "Fear overrides all other senses," Hill says 5.
1 Come to Your Senses, , Perspectives, 2008.
2 Lighting for Work: Visual and Biological Effects, , Philips, 2004.
3 Color in an Optimum Learning Environment, , International Center for Leadership in Education, 2008.
4 Dollars and Sense: The Impact of Multi-Sensory Marketing , 4inprint bluepaper, 2008.
5 Color Choices Matter, 4inprint bluepaper, 2008.