Better Choices

In Search of the Brightest Colors

Words by Yang Shi
Still Life Photography by JG+SHI
Travel Photography by Celia Spenard-Ko


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Colors are the direct results of how objects reflect light. Wondrous as they are, our human eyes can only detect 0.0035 percent of the electromagnetic spectrum, which means there are millions of colors out there we cannot see. And, chances are, we might never see them.

Despite our limited scope, we experience colors in ways that define our lives and shape our world. Often, they make us notice all kinds of trivial things we wouldn’t see otherwise. The brown coffee ring tracing the back cover of our mother’s journal. Clouds catching the last red-orange rays of the setting sun before waning into the blue hour. The lushes of green protruding a deserted landscape. And the tiniest specks of yellow reflecting in a lover’s eyes before they fall asleep. 

Whether they allow us to reminisce or fall in love, colors can teach us about our environment and ourselves. From fashion, to design, to art and even, to gastronomy, they are underpinning aspects of our cultures and have the ability to unlock feelings outside of our lexicon. On a day-to-day basis, they dictate our choices and desires. We might never understand their complexity, but by incorporating them into the things we create, we will always discover something new.



Blue lagoon. Blue sky. Blue eyes. The color blue exudes magnetism and a cinematic quality that has invaded our collective imagination. Year after year, surveys have shown that blue is humanity’s most beloved shade.  Imbued with a sense of spirituality, it resides at the intersection of reality and dreams. The color blue is serene, stable and nostalgic—it inspires reflection for those who seek it.



Much like the earth itself, brown evokes a sense of strength and resilience. It brings to mind feelings of comfort, security and wholesomeness. The color brown is earnest, reliable and humble—it embraces and grounds us like home.



In its most primitive form, red is one of the oldest colors and carries ritual significance in near-every ceremonies worldwide. For the Ancient Greeks, it symbolizes super-human heroism. For the Chinese, love, joy, and good fortune. Layered with nuances, the color red is restless and fearless—it mesmerizes and pulses with infinite energy. 



Pink delights in its delicateness and charm. It softens traditional designs and perks up dim colors in a room. Sweet-natured, the color pink is tender, innocent and selfless—it whispers to the young hearts.



As the lightest hue in the spectrum, yellow illuminates the confines of our soul. It simultaneously feeds our mind and our body. The color yellow is welcoming, cheerful, and hopeful—it restores clarity of thought in moments of uncertainty.



Green is nature at its prime. As the union of blue and yellow, it captures the mental clarity of yellow and the emotional insight of blue. In its most verdant state, the color green promotes renewal, harmony and vitality—it possesses a generosity of spirit that allows us to grow.

About Yang Shi

Yang Shi is a Chinese Canadian writer, freelance creative director and half of the photo duo JG+SHI. With many years of experience in the fields of sustainable fashion and design, she enjoys exploring the overlooked poetry that underlies everyday life.

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