Diffractive optical elements (DOEs) are often used in pattern formation for display purposes. Constructing these images from two or more colors greatly enhances their visual effect. To achieve this with DOEs is not simple, as they are inherently wavelength specific. We discuss an algorithm for designing quantized elements that produce distinct intensity patterns in the far field for two wavelengths. The benefits of applying bias phase to the dual-wavelength problem are investigated. The difference between the best and the worst choice of bias phase is shown to produce a variation of up to 2% in the efficiency. The mean square error can vary by up to a factor of 2 between the best and the worst case. It is also critically important to understand how the values of the two wavelengths affect the result. We present an analysis of how choosing different pairs of wavelengths in the design process affects the quality of our results. © 2006 Optical Society of America.