Track lighting has long been used as a creative tool to compose an attractive, exciting and inviting environment in all types of merchandising spaces. These spaces can range from department stores, supermarkets, designer outlets, specialty shops, clothing and jewelry stores to commercial showrooms and exhibition spaces for automobiles, furniture, consumer electronics and appliances. In the world of merchandising, appearance is everything. Visual appearance of a product or a space lies upon the characteristics of the lighting applied. Lighting for retail environments and commercial showrooms should not be considered just a functional necessity, it also undertakes the task to provide visual communication between the vendor and the consumer.
Track lighting is vital to accentuation of merchandise, which creates a focal point and brings out the best of a product. Accent lighting is the most important component of a layered lighting design in merchandising lighting applications. It establishes the importance, enhances the prominence and elevates the attributes of merchandise through the use of luminance contrast. Accent lighting aims concentrated beams of light at the center of the attraction to create a strong focal effect and heighten levels of attention. A 5:1 ratio of accent lighting to general illumination makes merchandise stand out and draws out the shape, texture, finish and color of merchandise. Strong contrasts, such as a 15:1 or 30:1 illuminance ratio, are used to bring out detail in dark merchandise or to create sparkle in jewelry and crystal. In addition to reinforcing design aesthetics and revealing the true character and quality of merchandise, the luminance contrast also creates a hierarchy of importance on the merchandising arena or selling floor.