Reasonable Performance

purp, an Emacs theme of few colors

December 12, 2018

A few years ago, I asked on Reddit whether anyone had recommendations for a theme that used only a few colors. I found that too many colors—what many refer to as a Christmas tree—was not helping me understand code better, but in fact was distracting me. I also thought that turning off syntax highlighting entirely was too radical a solution. I wanted a theme that would just highlight a few, well-chosen elements. Unfortunately, most of the minimal themes that I found were monochrome, which is not what I was looking for.

So I began working on a theme of few colors that I’ve been using and tweaking for a while now. I’ve finally decided to make it available on Github and publish it to MELPA. You can install purp by invoking the command M-x package-install RET purp-theme. A light version called purp-light is also included in the package.

I have not gone and modified the color of every face in every mode, just the ones that I encountered daily in my work. In programming modes, you’ll see the following colors:

The colors for function definitions and comments makes them easy to find and the color for strings helps to spot an un-escaped double quote.

I hope you like purp, there’s a lot of work left to be done, including how to not have it activate as soon as it’s installed, which is a really bad first impression.