WHAT IS FLUORESCENT COLOR?
FLUORESCENT COLOR IS EVERYWHERE IN MIAMI
Have you ever noticed that some colors catch your eyes more than others? Have you ever found yourself drawn to a particular product on the store shelf, because the packing design screams “Over here! Look at me”? What about the highlighter yellow athletic shorts you work out in? The traffic cones in the construction zones on your morning commute?
Fluorescent color is everywhere, and odds are, you come across it in your everyday routine at least once a day. But what exactly is fluorescent color, and what makes it so special?
What Is Fluorescent Color?
‘Fluorescent’ refers to colors that absorb and reflect more light than conventional colors. Because of this, these pigments are brighter, bolder and better. Some people refer to fluorescent color as neon. We call it DayGlo®.
The color spectrum moves from invisible, low-energy infrared rays to high-energy ultraviolet rays. When looking at the color spectrum, the middle of the range represents the colors we actually see (the ‘visible light spectrum’). Normal colors absorb and re-emit a portion of the visible spectrum that matches its principal wavelength, while the remaining colors are absorbed and dissipated as heat.
Fluorescent colors use a larger amount of both the visible spectrum and the lower wavelengths compared to conventional colors (your traditional ROYGBIV colors). The difference between these two types of colors is that fluorescents absorb and convert light energy of the dominant wavelength, but also the wavelengths of ultraviolet rays and other colors lower in the visible spectrum.
Because of this combination, your eyes view fluorescent colors far more intensely as if they’re “glowing” in front of you. That extra glow you see is called ultraviolet (UV) light.
UV-Reactive Vs. Glow-in-the-Dark
Fluorescent colors are ultraviolet reactive and convert light to a dominant wavelength or color. Without a source of light (like a black light), the colors won’t be visible. As soon as you add an ultraviolet light source, the DayGlo pigments will appear to glow, while conventional colors remain dull and hardly visible in the dark. Remove the light, and the glow of the pigments will disappear before you.
These types of pigments are different than glow-in-the-dark colorants, also known as ‘phosphorescent.’ Phosphorescent pigments store the light source as energy and continue to emit a glow after the lights are turned off. The pigments remained charged for a short period of time, and will only start to glow again if they are reintroduced to artificial or natural light.
The DayGlo Difference
With our bright, fluorescent color palette, DayGlo Color Corp’s iconic neon colors are up to three times brighter than conventional colors and work across all mediums- from plastics and graphic arts to coatings and textiles. Ditching conventional colors could be what sets your products apart from the competition and helps build brand identity and recognition.
Bright conventional colors are able to reflect a maximum of 90% of a color present in the spectrum, but fluorescent colors can reflect anywhere from 200% to 300% of color.
THE FLUORESCENT COLOR THEORY
So how exactly does a fluorescent color fluoresce? It’s all about energy!
A fluorescent dye molecule begins at the lowest state of energy possible – the Ground State. When light shines on it, a photon of light is absorbed by the molecule. In effect, energy is absorbed. This excites the electrons inside the molecule to higher energy states – known as the Excited State. The excited electrons soon lose some of their energy to their surroundings, which prompts them to transition back to their unexcited state – the Ground State. In order to transition back, the electrons need to emit the photon of light absorbed.
This flash of light (the emission of the photon) is the fluorescence we see.
How do fluorescent colors behave differently?
Fluorescent colors use a larger amount of both the visible spectrum and the lower wavelengths compared to conventional colors. They not only absorb and convert light energy of the dominant wavelength but also the wavelengths of ultraviolet rays and other colors lower in the visible spectrum. As a result, your eye perceives a far more intense color.
Where a clean, bright conventional color is able to reflect a maximum of 90% of a color present in the spectrum, a fluorescent color can reflect as much as 200% to 300%.
THE MECHANISM OF COLOR
The color spectrum is much larger than we can perceive!
The range moves from invisible, low-energy infrared rays to high-energy ultraviolet rays. The ‘visible light spectrum,’ or the colors that we see, are actually in the middle of the range.
Normal color absorbs and re-emits a portion of the visible spectrum that matches its principal wavelength, while the remaining colors are absorbed and dissipated as heat. In this way, a regular orange color re-emits back to your eye just the narrow orange band of the visible light spectrum. Therefore, if there is little or no orange light around (such as early dawn or dusk) the orange surface would appear dark or even black.