Is green the colour of death at the newsstand?

No. At least not if you're swayed by facts rather than latter-day superstition.

Slate magazine's Julia Turner examines the old myth that a green cover equals low sales in the magazine market.

[S]ome retailers speculate that the fluorescent bulbs in stores cast a yellow light that washes out newsstand greens and gives them a feeble, bluish cast.

Hilarious.

In the feature Turner uncovers two significant things: firstly, green doesn't have any measurable negative impact on sales (nor a positive one, for that matter. Secondly, she puts forward a reasonable


Lynn Staley, assistant managing editor of Newsweek, put forth a more plausible theory: "Like brown, [green] can be tricky to control on press and either one can migrate in the baby poop direction if the printer isn't careful. It's a technical consideration, but it may explain an industry-wide allergy to the color."

Personally I'm willing to put the whole thing down to being nothing more than an absurd superstition. I remember reading some PR puff that Virigin had "discovered" that yellow was the absolute worst colour in the whole spectrum. At the time I was working at a women's glossy, the manager of which one day declared to me: "Yellow. The cover needs more yellow. People like that colour."

Those people, eh? They think a lot of things....