What kind of lighting do you prefer?

I visited a warehouse recently. The presses inside were illuminated by natural light in the roof (clear corrugated plastic). However, the owner commented that he preferred electric lights for clarity of seeing his work. What kind of lighting do you prefer in your shop? Flourescent bulbs? Incandescent lights? Or natural light? and why?

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Love natural light, but it can be a little unreliable… :)

I switched to fluorescent “day” bulbs and it really helps everything stand out more. Also painting the shop in white, which helps throw the light into cramped spaces, like behind my presses.

I use cool white flourescent for the shop but when I want to take a close look at something I step over to the window - I love the look of natural light on cotton paper

Paper Stone Printing
Steve Nartowicz
P.O. Box 137
Chesterfield MA 01012


j archibald

I have a similar situation as you re: the natural lighting. Same type of sky light material. I no longer print when the natural light begins to wane.

I agree with Vrooooom that “day light” bulbs are well worth using and white walls and ceilings help a great deal with color work.

I remember a comment by Gabriel Rummonds though. He said most folks read by flourescent light, so print under flourescent light. I didn’t buy into that but there is a common sense ring to it.


Interesting. Comments from 5 printers, four of whom can not spell correctly the name of the light source they decry. We seem to have come a long way from the time when printers were scholars.


Oh No! The spell-check police followed me here!

As was once said ” a doctor burys his mistakes, a lawyer’s mistakes are in jail, but a printer’s errors will be read forever.”

Good thing the internet is only a working proof.

sorry to be such a pain, but shouldn’t it be:’a doctor buries etc.’ and not ‘burys’?

Working proof - I like it! :)

May I assume most printers have an electric light right over their press, for clarity of seeing the operation in progress? I am trying to plan a future, ideal printing room which is the basis for my question about which type of light people most prefer.

I’ve not responded cause i can’t spell incandescent or flourescent. i have 8’ flourescent lights around my shop and a 100 wt. light bulb where i’m working. I have drop lights all over my shop by my presses and over my ludlow. i like to hold things i’m printing up to a window, natural light is the best. Dick Goodwin ps Thomas what’s wrong with bury?

Hi j archibald et al.,

I prefer natural light not only because it’s better for assessing printed work, but also because, to me, it seems more beneficial to the psyche than artificial light. My studio has many windows, but the glass is UV so the color of the light indoors is not the same as outdoor light. Therefore I take things outdoors for a final check, especially to evaluate color.

In the past, as a watercolor artist, I used an Ott lamp when I needed to work in the evenings. This is a full-spectrum fluorescent lamp designed to simulate natural light (there are others, such as Verilux). I found this pleasant to work under and quite good for fine color work, which is to say, no surprises the next morning. These lamps, however, seem to be available only in their own fixtures, which are annoyingly pricey. I have to say, though, that they must be worth it, since I invariably gravitate toward them whenever I do any close work at night.


Daylight balance fluorescent tubes can be gotten for 4 foot shop lights, though they’re quite a bit more expensive (2-4x) than cool whites. Look for a color temperature of 5000k and a CRI (color rendering index) of 90 or above. (Some brands go as high as a CRI of 98.) These are the same sort of tubes that are used in color checking booths in big print houses. While I love natural light, it’s often impractical and the shop light/ daylight balance tubes system can provide the best bang for the buck. Remember that with this solution your printed piece will look warmer under incandescent lights and may change radically under some fluorescents — the point of using the 5000k tubes is to create a consistent full spectrum lighting environment.


according to the Oxford Dictionary of English:
Bury>verb (buries,burying, buried).
I bury
he buries

Some of us would kill the english language if it wern’t for a few guys like you to keep us in line. Really enjoy your posts, Dick G.

All this time I thought I was a bad speller - turns out I was just a bad typer!

5500K bulbs or similar or Daylight. I always walk outside (late afternoon preferably) to check pantones.

Hey Bob the Scholar

As long as we are being picky. According to the Chicago Manual of Style numerals under 100 are spelled out. “5” should be “five” (Nothing I can do about these improper quotation marks; ain’t my software. Discuss it with Briar.)

It’s an online discussion list, dude, who cares?


As Gerald points out this is an online discussion list so I hope nobody minds if I express my opinion on this matter.

I was under the impression that you used figures for numbers less than 10. Then again, I have never been to Chicago.


I also shy away from natural light because of the unsightly tan lines one can develop.