Home / Advanced (Thinking) / What are “Saccades” and why is it important to lighting design?

What are “Saccades” and why is it important to lighting design?

by | Apr 22, 2021

Your eyes absorb information by rapidly moving from point to point scanning the environment for information these rapid movements can be large or small and upto 4 or 5 per second and are known as Saccades. (actually an old French word for the “flick of a sail”)

Knowing what people will see first, second etc and where their eyes will rest the longest for information etc, we design the environment either knowing these elements are by design or a distraction from what we want people to see. As a lighting designer and understanding the “hierarchy of perception” means we know which elements the brain is attracted to in order…1) people 2) movement 3) brightness …thus “Light” to be directed to elements we want to accent.

The above image you can now appreciate is not graffiti of the famous George Seurat painting but the actual results of a study tracking the human eye as it absorbs information of the painting. What is not available from this image is the time taken to each saccade as the eye often also rests on elements more interesting than others for a while known as “Fixations”.

The greater the need for information and the most rapid frequency of “saccades” is directly correlated, thus in the built environment new places and need for orientation like a Airport needs to create signage from this knowledge…thus size, shape, font and contrast, whilst creating a feeling of re-assurance from the environment thus familiarity. Now you know why every airport can look the same and why every MacDonald’s does the same what we term Cognitive Mapping by design.

My courses help understand the role of Neurosciences, why and how we can predict people’s responses to an environment, then we can design accordingly, the role of light being so high in the “Hierarchy of Perception” shows why I believe so highly the role of light in a design.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Secret Lighting is a world leading creator of bespoke homes designed with light and intelligence.

For three decades, we have been redefining the integration of light into the very fabric of architecture, creating the innovative, beautiful and spectacular homes.

More Articles

Advanced thinking for lighting design

Build it Live – Bicester 11-12 June

Build it Live – Bicester 11-12 June

We are exhibiting for the first time at Bicester this coming weekend 11-12 June. We will be on stand C5 so it would be great if you could come and say hello. Please see the link for free tickets to the event. FREE ticket...

We are in the Blind Business

We are in the Blind Business

Control of daylight is an important part of a lighting design, planning for the slow transition from daylight to evening and (electric) lighting sets the first scene of a secret lighting design. Part of hiding and integrating the lighting can be to use the space...

Clocks go back this weekend – time to adjust your lights

Clocks go back this weekend – time to adjust your lights

These two things will allow you a more comfortable evening and better lighting. Windows, doors and roof lights change to big black mirrors as soon as it begins to get dark and you put indoor lights “on”.  To avoid this “mirror” effect for a while perhaps an extra hour...

Whether you’re a self-builder, project manager, architect, electrician or anything in between, get in touch and we’ll show you what we can do

Pin It on Pinterest