I still remember one of my high school teachers lecturing us about the "web safe colors". A set of 216-256 colors that you should confine your designs to use, and nothing else besides them. Last I knew, Photoshop still has the "web safe" yield icon1 on it's color picker.

Are web safe colors still a concern? Outside of the obvious application (accessibility, legacy software versions, etc.), how much consideration should I give to limiting my color choice for my general audience?

1Or was it the cube? I never remember.

1 Answer 1


No, they're not. Fewer than 1% of Internet users are now on the 8-bit displays that made them necessary.

  • This was seriously born out of 8-bit displays? I don't think I've even used an 8-bit display since I've done web work, to the best of my knowledge anyway... edit I guess the math does add up, that 8-bit = 256 colors with some reserved = 216 "safe". Really? Yuck.
    – VxJasonxV
    Commented Feb 24, 2011 at 7:25
  • I do remember the times when people had 256 colors in their desktop unless they were be "tech savy" and set "hi color", 16bits... in '96 it happened yet in quite some computers.
    – S.gfx
    Commented Feb 24, 2011 at 8:56
  • 2
    Yes, it really derives from 8-bit displays, which were very common in the 1990s. See the Wikipedia article for more details: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_colors#Web-safe_colors
    – Mike Scott
    Commented Feb 24, 2011 at 9:29
  • Hey don't forget the Green Screen Monitors :-) not sure how well Web Safe would have gone with them - I guess just 216 safe shades of Green... nice!!
    – Rob
    Commented Feb 24, 2011 at 11:47
  • 1
    some things really should just be scrubbed from collective memory, web safe colors is one of them. Google reveals that FAR too many people (pretend to?) care about this non-issue.
    – Drew
    Commented Mar 3, 2011 at 7:35

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