I was working on a logo this past week when I saw that Photoshop still includes an option to show ‘only Web Colors’. Since most image content these days gets seen via the Web, it’s a good idea to make sure your color scheme is Web-safe, right?
Having worked on Internet-enabled computers in one form or another since the mid 90′s, I remember Web-safe colors pretty well. Because many CRT displays supported only 256 colors, There was a list of what colors you as a designer could use on Web sites without fear of someone not seeing your design as it was intended. For those of you with time on your hands and an insatiable interest in reading about these kinds of thing, Wiki has quite a few details.
Wiki also mentions, however, something that I guess I should have known anyway: the days of Web-safe colors are pretty much numbered. My iPhone, for example, supports 24-bit color. That’s 16.7 million colors! So then why are we still worrying about Web-safe colors? Or more to the point, why was I worrying about Web-safe colors? And… wait, why is Photoshop still including the option? I know that there are still reasons to support low color level display methods (primarily for accessibility), but I seriously doubt there are enough 256-color CRT displays out there to bother limiting our Web content. Except of course all those amber and green screen displays at auto repair places at least!