Unified colors of TUIs

September 28, 2022

The other day I got tired of my terminal color scheme (Nord) which makes no distinction between dark and light colors, except for white and black variants, and I was looking for a prettier color scheme that could be used in a light or dark theme as well. Indeed, I used to use a light theme for all my command-line tools, including Vim (see, e.g., the screenshot at the end of this post) until I switched to the Nord palette. However, when I’m tired, or at night, I prefer a dark theme. And, well, sometimes I happened to miss my good old light theme. So I devised yet another theme for my terminal, and then for Neovim.

Here is what I finally decided to stand by for the next few weeks:


This palette was grabbed from the homepage of, and the white/dark variants are based on the Nord palette and personal taste. I don’t know its name, though.

The other reason I designed a new color theme for the terminal is that I wanted it to be useful for Neovim too. As I said, I have two main colorscheme, which are automatically set up based on the value of background. This is done with an autocommand that looks like this:

function! misc#set_theme() abort
  if &background ==# 'dark'
    colorscheme nord
    colorscheme light


augroup colortheme
  autocmd OptionSet background call misc#set_theme()
augroup END

The advantage is that this is all managed by Vim itself, as discussed in a related post. I have an extra apocryptic command in my init.lua file to handle possible Tmux glitches:

-- HACK: work around bad detection of background in Tmux (no OSC11 support)
if $TERM ==# "tmux-256color"
  lua vim.loop.fs_write(2, "\27Ptmux;\27\27]11;?\7\27\\", -1, nil)

Later, I wrote a shell script that allows me to switch my color theme on the go. Since I now use Alacritty which has a hot reload capabilitites this works quite well. Alacritty is really great, but I am better talking about Alacritty in a another post. That’s how I manage to use two colorschemes in my terminal and Neovim.

Those two colorschemes, which are based on modified versions of Nord and Vimbones from the zenbones plugin, are great for daily use, but they are not consistent one each other. And I’m too lazy to find a good fit for a common color palettes. Less is better, most of the time, so I rewrote from a scratch a single colortheme, as I did three years ago for Vim. It tooks me less than an hour to get a working theme for both color themes (light and dark): no color, except for constant and stuff I want to be aware of (warning or error message, bad spelling, etc.). Again, I take advantage of Alacritty’s handling multiple fonts to highlight keywords or comments with medium or semi-bolded typefaces. It’s all good!


♪ Morcheeba • Trigger Hippie

See Also

» On choosing your colorscheme » Little shell scripts are amazing » One Week With Ubuntu » Debugging in Vim » Quick Bash script templates