Introduction to the 'standard-themes' for Emacs

The standard-themes are a pair of light and dark themes for GNU Emacs. They emulate the out-of-the-box looks of Emacs (which technically do NOT constitute a theme) while bringing to them thematic consistency, customizability, and extensibility. In practice, the Standard themes take the default style of the font-lock and Org faces, complement it with a wider colour palette, address some inconsistencies, and apply established semantic patterns across all interfaces.


The first picture is the default set of faces. The second is standard-light with some user options enabled. The third is standard-dark.

Sample of Emacs without a theme

standard-light theme sample

standard-dark theme sample

Why a new theme?

Emacs does not have a default theme. It has a collection of basic faces. As such, different package authors add their own styles to address their specific requirements, at times resulting in an inconsistent experience.

A theme lets us bring together thousands of faces and treat them systematically. For example, to make headings in Org and Markdown look the same, or to ensure predictable colouration between the various buffers/components that form part of a user’s email workflow (make notmuch.el and message.el feel like they belong together).

We can thus retain the character of the original style, while giving users something familiar and usable.


I made the changes to elpa.git though it may take some time for the package to become available.