Neon lights use the noble gas neon and other gases to produce lights of different colours. Neon Lights are widely used in commercial establishments especially in retail shops to attract customers. Neon lights are used as neon signs and as a tool of visual merchandising in retail shops. Neon illumination is produced by passing electricity through a mixture of neon and other gases present inside a tube.
Neon signs are glass tubes which are bent in the shape of letters or designs. Mixture of neon and other gases such as argon are filled in the tube. The tube emits light when electric current is passed through the gas mixture present inside it. The electric current is passed with the help of electrodes attached at each end of the tube which is connected to a high voltage electrical power. A plethora of phosphorescent materials which emit light are coated on the inside of the glass tube. These materials along with the gases produce light of over 50 different colours. Special colour effects are produced by adding helium, krypton or xenon gas to the mixture.
Neon tubing is made of soft lead glass which can be easily bent to any shape to create Custom Neon Signs. The diameter of the tubes for making indoor signs is 8-11mm while the diameter of the tubes used for making outdoor signs, channel letters or large indoor signs vary between 12mm and 13mm. The brightness of the neon sign is inversely proportional to the brightness. This means larger the diameter, less is the brightness.
Some of the advantages of using neon signs/neon lights in retail stores are as follows.
• Neon signs can be easily moulded into any desired shape and design. In fact, neon signs can also be customised to create business logos. Illuminated business logo makes for excellent optics.
• Neon signs provide high visibility to the retail shop. This is because neon signs are colourful and highly luminous. The brilliantly lighted signs are sure to attract the attention of the customers. Neon signs are especially useful for new retail stores to make them stand out among other shops in the area.
• Coloured neon signs particularly appear beautiful at night. High visibility at night further helps in attracting customers to the retail shop.
• Neon signs have no filament and use electricity to simply activate the mixture of neon and other noble gases. Thus, there is no wastage of electricity. As a result, a neon sign saves about 50-60% of electricity as compared to other light sources. Neon is an abundant gas, therefore, neon signage is also not expensive.
• Neon signs have a long life span of ten to twelve years unlike conventional signs which last for only a few months.
• Neon signs can be operated even on high voltage without any problem.
• Neon signs can be setup swiftly by the installers. They can be used both inside as well as outside the retail store.
• Neon signs enhance the brand awareness of the retail store among people.
Neon lights for visual merchandising
Visual merchandising refers to lighting up the displayed products to enhance their appeal to the customers. Neon lights are widely used improve the overall look of the products on display in the retail store. Since the neon lights are available in a multitude of colours, a variety of coloured light can be used for lighting up different products. For example, a red dress can be illuminated with pinkish light, a warm coloured light can be used to illuminate the face of a mannequin for a natural effect, etc. Lighting is very important in visual merchandising and neon lights are one of the best choices.
Neon light vs Fluorescent light
The principal gas present in the gas mixture inside a neon tube is neon gas. On the other hand, in fluorescent lights, the mixture of gas inside the tube does not have neon gas. The principal of lighting, however, is the same in both neon and fluorescent lights.
The gases in neon lights produce light in the visible region of the spectrum. On the other hand, light produced by gases in fluorescent lights is ultraviolet light which is not in the visible spectrum. The phosphor coating in the inner portion of the fluorescent bulbs absorb the UV light and produce visible light.
Neon lights utilise high voltage but less current to activate the gases and produce light. Fluorescent lights, on the other hand, use more electrical current to produce light.
Neon lights produce a plethora of colours such as red, blue, green and other colours depending upon the type of gas such as argon, xenon, krypton and other gases mixed with neon. On the other hand, fluorescent lights produce only different shades of white coloured light which does not make them much suitable for signs and displays.