A Photoshop Feature for One Tenth of All Males

I don’t know if I have ever mentioned this on the blog before but I, like so many others, suffer from an affliction called color blindness.  The truth is, it’s not really blindness, it’s more like a deficiency.  It used to be that when people would ask what colors look like to me, I would have to try and explain how I see things that look completely normal to most but can be difficult for me, like a green traffic light that just looks like a white light.  Now, with Photoshop CS4, I can just show them.  You see, Adobe has placed two new proof options in CS4 so that designers and illustrators can test their images to see if they are going to appeal to everyone, including those of us with a color deficiencies.  I, for one, applaud Adobe for recognizing those of us with this problem and giving Photoshop users the tools for optimizing their images.  Believe it or not, some colors are indistinguishable to some color blind people so if you have a blue and a purple together or maybe a yellow and a green, they might just appear as one color to some of the population.

A. Original image. B. Color-blind proof. C. Optimized design.

A. Original image. B. Color-blind proof. C. Optimized design.

So why should you care if I can or can’t see something that you make?  Well, if your message is important, you are trying to sell me something, or want to get my attention then you should know whether or not I can see your image.  This goes for illustrations, web designs, and printed media.  About 1 in 10 males in the U.S. have some form of colorblindness.  There are several different types and no one has exactly the same level or degree of deficiency but the majority of have trouble with reds and greens due to a problem with the rods and cones that allow us to see colors.  Only about .5% of all women suffer from color blindness.  So if you are designing for the masses, do a favor for about 10% of your male audience and check your design using the new Photoshop CS4 Color Blind profiles.  You’ll certainly have my appreciation.

If you would like to know more about designing for the color blind, check out this article at CreativePro.com.  If you would like to learn a little more about color blindness, check out this great post called 50 Facts about Color Blindness (be sure to read #4).


Thanks to my buddy Mike who let me thumb through his copy of Adobe Photoshop CS4: Up to Speed by Ben Wilmore where I first saw the information about the proof setups for color blindness.


  1. so if you use the proof setting out a color photo is that how you would see it? do you see the world in those shades of blue and yellow?

  2. Thanks for the links… I’m also color blind, but like you, it’s more like a weakness. I didn’t know until I was in college.

    Looking forward to checking out the resources you mentioned.

  3. I had never even thought of how a photographer could operate if he/she were color blind… Another big plus in my book goes to Adobe for bridging the gap and providing tools for everyone.

  4. I’m in the same boat. Colors that are too similar blend together for me.

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