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The Power of Color

by David Gerson, Director of Marketing


Humans have evolved over thousands of years to relate meaning to various colors in nature. Green is often associated with health and new growth, representing things such as leaves on trees or freshly grown grass on our lawns. Similarly, red and yellow are traditionally viewed as a warning — whether it be on a wasp or a fire ant. It is nature’s way of saying STOP or proceed with caution.

Innovative designers are constantly trying to leverage color to communicate wayfinding, infuse energy or simply to elevate a space from drab to dramatic. This recognition of the various meanings color implies happens almost instantaneously. Additionally, words alone can be challenging to decipher quickly for the elderly, people in transit or if someone is illiterate or suffers from dyslexia.

A collage of escalators of various colors

Elevators and escalators can be transformed with unique placements of accent lighting, paint or contrasting materials. Often this is purely for safety and traffic flow, but the results can be extraordinary.

On escalators, lighting at the balustrade (side panel under the handrails) and skirt band (adjacent and above the steps) can completely transform a space as a featured design element. Although often used for decorative purposes, additional lighting on the steps is always helpful from a safety perspective. Additionally, colored comb lighting (on the bottom at the entrance and exit) is extremely helpful for traffic flow management and wayfinding.

An orange escalator

Truss lighting and clear panels underneath the balustrade add another unexpected and exciting design element. High-powered LED lights showcase inner workings of an escalator, and the glow provides another source of drama and interest in the built environment.

A side view of an orange escalator

Elevators can also add color, create drama and set the mood in a space. Whether it's to soothe and calm or excite and add energy, you can transport some both physically and mentally to completely different place and state of mind.

Just as nature has infused color, texture and meaning to everything in our environment, it’s important to remember the impact these choices can make. Beyond basic safety requirements, lighting, paint and other materials can significantly transform those critical pieces of infrastructure into captivating design elements that add value above and beyond their functional purpose.

A purple elevator with its doors open