Take a look. The color of the apples range from a rich red to a dark fuchsia. Which apple looks more appetizing? Why? It all depends on the light!
The color rendering of objects exhibits how well the shades are perceived by the human eye. The Color Rendering Index (CRI) scales from 0 to 100 percent; the more accurate the color appears, the closer the CRI moves to 100 percent. For example, have you ever looked at yourself in a hotel bathroom mirror and thought, “Wow, my skin tone looks different.” More than likely, you were a victim of poor CRI. Light sources such as high-pressure sodium or white fluorescents can sometimes produce less than 50 CRI. On the spectrum, the way our brain identifies these colors can not only affect our mood but our recognition of “good quality” in foods and the susceptibility to find retails products appealing to our eyes. Example A is the apples. The far left apple looks the most appealing; it has a CRI of 97 percent, near perfect. It is most true to the actual hue. The apple on the far right only renders a CRI of 70 percent.
Also, take for instance the picture of the blue/black vs. white/gold dress that went viral in 2015.
CBS News explained, “Different light sources throw off light of different colors. Sunlight is very yellow. Shade casts a bluish hue. This changes the color of light reflecting off an object and into your eye. But the reason we don't see the color of a flower differently in sunlight versus shade versus under an incandescent or fluorescent lamp is that our brain takes account of the illumination changes and adjusts our perception accordingly.”
To conclude, the higher the color rendering index, the better its color rendering capability. Fluorescent lights are considered quite poor in CRI as they have a score of 70. A CRI index that is higher than 80 is considered to be an ideal lighting solution. For that reason, LED downlights and other LED bulbs are the best replacements for incandescent bulbs, considering that most LEDs have a CRI above 80.
Color rendering influences our decisions on a daily basis.
Now you know!