Green Potato Chips

Potato of the Sea

Just watched a Ted talk where the speaker believes our sense of artistic beauty results from a Darwinian adaption effect – and it got me thinking whether this applied to colors and more importantly, what about those green potato chips?

As kids, before knowing better, we used to search for those chips with green edges, prizing them as extra flavorful. Fortunately nobody turned green, but maybe this notion came from our natural appreciation for the color green.

The human eye has a higher sensitivity to green than to any other color. It’s the easiest on the eyes and soothing. Spend too much time in a grey city or a cold climate and then travel to a lush environment and notice how your eyes soak up the saturated green foliage. Green Christmas trees look extra welcoming during a snowy December.

Shades of green are usually up to some good. Not the florescent green of poorly maintained swimming pools but the desirable growth of plants. We have learned to trust green beans, peas, and paper money. Artists often mix their greens and so do chefs, but curiously, mixed green salads are not made of blues and yellows. Green is often used by designers to evoke trust, growth and nature. Pantone, the color matching authority, predicts this year’s new hue will be “honeysuckle,” which is a hot pink. I predict that its green complement is going to be more socially conscious and grab some limelight.

– So what do you think? What associations do you have with the color green?



  1. I just encountered a green potato chip this evening and was watching to see if anyone would take it. No one did ha ha. To me green evokes a feeling of calmness. I actually had green walls in my living room/kitchen for a long time and felt that area was the most relaxing part of the house. I have to believe that is why you see lush greenery and landscaping at a luxury resort or spa garden patio. When I think of calm and relaxing I imagine a garden view.

    “The human eye has a higher sensitivity to green than to any other color.” <- I didn't know that. I'm going to watch that TED talk. I'm such a TED fan. I love your writing and look forward to reading more.

    • davidbgoldstein says:

      Thanks for your comments Melinda!
      I avoided a moldy green orange today that was pretending to look like a lime. It seems that most people have a favorite room in their houses and green walls probably help.

      Our eyes sensitivity was not mentioned on this Ted talk. I leaped to that confusion but, technically, we are most sensitive to the green wavelength at 555 nm in daylight so green looks brightest. Here is a good chart:

      Anyway, I have been asked to give a Ted-style talk at an upcoming conference and was wondering, what if everyone put their their best ideas into a 20 minute talk to share with others.

      • It’s not easy being green out here…in so many ways–there’s very little recycling in BC, & it’s a desert climate. As I write, I’m looking out over a soft dollar-bill green sea, as it’s overcast today. (It’s usually blue. Since moving west, flying into or over bright spring-green landscapes (I used to call home), now seem shockingly excessive! Yet the lush green Balboa Park is one of our favorite places, we like to love to the mountains to smell evergreens, & we like to eat leafy green salads. I’ve heard CA natives say there’s too much green back East, So I wonder if people living in desert areas have a different sensitivity to green.

  2. good comments Carol!

    You are lucky to have a sea to look out at whether its blue or green.

    As I understand it, all people with normal color vision have a higher sensitivity to green. Perhaps going back east where there is more green is like walking out from a movie theater into the bright sunlight. People are very adaptive and I wonder what would happen after generations in the desert?
    David Goldstein recently posted..9 Things that Could HappenMy Profile

  3. I’m enjoying your blog. It’s not something to skim briefly, as you mix lots of ingredients together and they need simmering before the full flavor is appreciated! Looking forward to more.

  4. Hi David,

    Green is the color of gratitude. No it isn’t. I made that up so that I could thank Melinda for introducing me to you and your lovely blog. Her avatar has a bright green background that I’ve come to enjoy seeing wherever it appears on the web.

    I am so glad to have caught your writing at the beginning (as far as I could make out from the archives.) Your ideas are fresh, refreshing and sprinkled with the kind of wit that let’s me know your probably a fun person with whom to share a bag of potato chips.

    Green or otherwise.


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  5. Hi Mitch,

    You have a very good idea – I would be nice to have a color to symbolize gratitude – Thank you and Melinda for helping to spread the word about my writing and really appreciate your encouraging words.

    I’m glad you found my archives – being so new at this – I did not realize I had archives – I guess they contain the really old dust covered posts from last month.

    I would share a bag of chips with you anytime.

  6. I have a love-hate relationship with the colour green. I love it in nature, but I’m not overly fond of it in man-made pigments. The only two that I love are Viridian and a yellowy-lime (but it has to be a specific shade that I can only occasionally mix or find!)

    I’m one of the (possibly) rare people who don’t find green restful or calming. Some greens make me agitated, some greens dull my mind.
    Val recently posted..AgeMy Profile

    • Hi Val,
      I agree that natural greens are more pleasing than made-made pigments. I generally mix my own greens but sometimes use “sap green.” One of the great things about the world is that not everyone has the exact same appreciations, otherwise we would be all chasing the same bag of carrots.

  7. Green as the collective color of the spirit, it invokes rest and can cause the body to produce chemicals that are calming; however not all blues are serene and sedate. Electric or brilliant blues become dynamic and dramatic, an engaging color that expresses exhilaration.