Understanding Colour Rendering: The Basics and Importance

Colour rendering refers to a light source's ability to accurately reproduce objects' colours as they would appear under natural sunlight. It is an essential aspect of lighting design that significantly affects how we perceive the world around us. In this article, we'll explore the basics, including its importance, how it's measured, and how to choose the best lighting sources that provide high colour rendering.

What is Colour Rendering?

Colour rendering is a light source's ability to accurately reproduce objects' as they would appear under natural sunlight. This means that objects' should appear the same under artificial lighting as they would under sunlight. A light source's ability to render colours is measured by the Colour Rendering Index (CRI).

Why is Colour Rendering Important?

It is essential in various applications, including residential and commercial lighting, photography, and graphic design. In residential lighting, colour rendering is crucial because it affects our mood, productivity, and overall well-being. Poor rendering can make objects appear dull, washed out, or even distorted, leading to eye strain, headaches, and even depression. Good rendering is crucial in commercial lighting in enhancing product appearance, increasing sales, and creating an inviting atmosphere.

How is it Measured?

As mentioned, the CRI measures a light source's colour rendering ability. The CRI measures the power of a light source to reproduce the colours of a set of eight standard compared to natural sunlight. The CRI scale ranges from 0-100, with 100 being the highest possible score, indicating that the light source accurately reproduces all colours.

What is a Good CRI Score?

A CRI score of 80 or higher is generally considered good, while a score of 90 or above is excellent. However, a high CRI score only sometimes guarantees good rendering because it doesn't measure the colour accuracy of all equally. For instance, a light source with a high CRI score may perform well in reproducing some but poorly in others.

How to Choose the Best Lighting for High-Colour Rendering?

Choosing the best lighting source for high-colour rendering depends on the application and personal preference. Here are some factors to consider when choosing the best lighting:

Colour Temperature

Colour temperature refers to the appearance of light, ranging from warm (yellow/orange) to cool (white/blue). The colour temperature of a light source affects the colour appearance of objects, and different applications may require different colour temperatures.

Colour Rendering Index (CRI)

As mentioned earlier, the CRI measures a light source's ability, and a higher CRI score indicates better rendering.

Spectral Power Distribution (SPD)

SPD is a graph that shows how much light a source emits at each wavelength. A light source with a smooth and continuous SPD typically performs better in rendering than a source with a jagged SPD.

Applications of Colour Rendering

It has various applications in our daily lives, including:

Home Lighting

Good color rendering is essential in residential lighting because it affects our mood, productivity, and overall well-being. Choosing lighting sources with high CRI scores can make objects appear more vivid and colorful, creating a comfortable and inviting atmosphere.

Commercial Lighting

Good rendering is crucial in commercial LED lighting, particularly in retail stores, where it enhances product appearance, increases sales, and creates a welcoming atmosphere.


In conclusion, colour rendering plays a significant role in our daily lives, affecting how we perceive the world. Good rendering enhances our mood, productivity, and overall well-being, particularly in residential and commercial lighting applications. Choosing lighting sources with high CRI scores, smooth and continuous SPDs, and appropriate colour temperatures can help achieve high colour rendering. 

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