See the World in Vibrant Color with The Rainbow Atlas

Updated: a day ago

500 of the world's most colorful places


The color and creativity concept


For the last year, I’ve been doing research to verify what I KNOW is true: 

“Color makes me more creative.”

Surprisingly, I’ve found lots of articles about how colors affect moods. Blues and greens are cool colors, calming and tranquil. Green is natural and soothing, possibly because of how the color itself is processed. It’s focused directly on your retina, so your eye muscles don’t have to work as hard. Blues are associated with the water and the sky and can promote serenity and peace. 


Yellows and oranges can stimulate appetite. Reds can increase blood pressure, adrenaline, and anger. 


But so far, I can’t find much that supports my theory that seeing lots of color stimulates the imagination. Some research exists that suggests there’s a link between viewing art and an increase in creativity, but those studies are not focused on my “color concept.” The science of creativity is an emerging field, and research on what makes us creative is just getting started. I’m positive that this kind of research is coming, and my theory will be validated.


(And if you know of any existing research on color and creativity, I’d love it if you would pass it along!) 


Consider how you feel when you go to a gallery or museum. Doesn’t seeing all those paintings do something to your mind? Doesn’t your brain start whirring and revving? Have you ever gone to a shop filled with colorful items and left thinking about developing a new project? Why is it that photography wows us? 


Because of the colors. 


The Rainbow Atlas by Taylor Fuller


Imagine my delight when I saw an announcement of The Rainbow Atlas: A Guide to the World’s 500 Most Colorful Places. Taylor Fuller is credited as the main author, and six other travel and photography writers contribute to make this book an absolutely stunning tour of the globe’s most glowing, graphic, eye-popping vistas.


Filled with glorious colors and vibrant pictures, this book is my new favorite eye-candy. (It’s not that I don’t still love you, Brilliant Maps for Curious Minds, but “Rainbow Atlas” is bigger and newer!)


Almost 400 pages long, and every page packed with pictures, The Rainbow Atlas divides the globe into eight sections by longitude. Travel through any of them, and the world and all its peoples will shock and awe you with the variety of colors in both natural and created settings.


Festivals and flowers. Architecture and art. Coasts and craigs. Glaciers, grottoes, water, walls, and natural wonders.


The Rainbow Atlas will wow you.


Exotic travel from the comfort of home


Not just a photography book, The Rainbow Atlas is also a traveler’s dream, listing extraordinary places and sites to visit.


While I don’t have the money to travel extensively, I am there in my mind, imagining what the air feels like. Sniffing like a hound to get the scents. Wiggling my toes against the sand or scraping them on stones or stomping them in fur-lined boots against the icy cold of snow. Humming the old Disney song,

“Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon Or asked the grinning bobcat why he grinned Can you sing with all the voices of the mountains Can you paint with all the colors of the wind Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?”

(Sometimes I even change the words to “Can you write with all the colors of the wind?”)


Several of the photos literally took my breath away. Like Photo #362: Siberia’s hypnotic lake. In it, the Blue Geyser Lake of Altai, Russia sits, the deepest teal I’ve ever seen, surrounded by mountains dusted with glittering snow, evergreen trees of giant proportions, and deciduous trees illuminating the background with glowing golden leaves.



New-found knowledge of a cool kind of party


Tulip fields of Holland in full bloom. The amethyst and teal solidified into the Marble Caves of Patagonia, Chile. A fire-glow sunset over Florence, Italy. Brilliant Victorian bathhouses on St. James Beach in Cape Town, South Africa.


So much beauty in the world to astound and inspire us.


Flipping through The Rainbow Atlas, I found a new way to celebrate. In Phagwah, Guyana, every spring there’s a Festival of Colors. Everyone dresses in white and carries a water gun filled with colored powders, called “abeer.” They happily shoot each other, marking each other with the bright hues. Sounds like a wonderful end to the dull, dreary, Midwestern winters if you ask me. (If you come to one of my parties, don’t be surprised if we do something a little different and throw our colors to the wind.)


Kickstart your creativity


Whether or not there’s research to back me up, I’m telling you: Color will kickstart your creativity! An entire spectrum exists. Contemplate the lush and living color around you, and you’ll get ideas. The Rainbow Atlas can help by transporting you to a world you might not otherwise know, the real one full of wonders and the untapped territories of your mind.


If you like finding book back-stories, discovering new "reads," or getting honest responses to both novels and nonfiction works, read more on Book Talk.



Buy The Rainbow Atlas: A Guide to the World's 500 Most Colorful Places at Bookshop.org.



Melissa Gouty follows her personal “Live a Colorful Life” guidelines:

  • Always carry a colorful umbrella instead of a boring black one. (Like the neon-green, “Merde! Il Pleut” umbrella, a gift from her friend, Martha.)

  • Promenade your personality by wearing colors and prints.

  • Paint your walls something other than gray.


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