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Mint-Y: Low contrast #198

clefebvre opened this Issue Mar 6, 2019 · 2 comments


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clefebvre commented Mar 6, 2019


A common complaint is that Mint-Y lacks contrast.


If we look at the anatomy of a typical window, we currently have 3 shades of grey for the background colors:


  1. Header background (titlebar/headerbar/menubar/toolbar): #D9D9D9
  2. Base background: #EDEDED
  3. Content background: #FFFFFF

And 5 shades of grey for the text and widgets on top:

image 9

  1. Titlebar buttons: #909090
  2. Titlebar window title: #454545
  3. Text in menubar, toolbar ($header_fg in theme): #454545
  4. Foreground colour ($fg_color in theme): #202020
  5. Text color ($text_color in theme): #303030

Comparison with other themes

A vast majority of themes use similar values for text and background.


As illustrated above both Ubuntu and Elementary use a colour lighter than #303030 on top of #FFFFFF.

It's also a very common trend online for websites to use something lighter than #202020.

#000000 can look quite hard on the eyes in comparison.

Suggestion 1 (Accepted)

The titlebar buttons look quite pale and can certainly be darkened. They're currently at #909090, compared to #454545 for the window title.

Decision: Buttons should be darkened.

Suggestion 2 (Rejected)

We could unify the 5 shades of grey used for text/foreground.

Before (5 shades of grey):

image 9

After (with everything set to #202020):

image 10

With suggestion 1 done as well (titlebar buttons darkened to #202020):

image 11


  • More contrast


  • Harder on the eyes
  • Windows look flat, with less prominent content and more prominent titlebar/toolbars than before
  • The toolbar/menubar now looks like it's part of the app, whereas the original effect was to make it feel like it was part of the header/title bar, a little less noticeable than the content itself and part of what you grab and which is common to all windows.


  • Content and titlebars should look slightly different so apps don't look too flat.
  • #202020 is quite hard on the eyes on top of #FFFFFF and doesn't work as well as #303030.
  • Menubar/Headerbar/Toolbar should remain the same as titlebar text, these components go together and this should remain less prominent than the content itself.

Suggestion 3

Experiment with different colors for the different elements, both backgrounds and foregrounds.

@clefebvre clefebvre changed the title Low contrast Mint-Y: Low contrast Mar 6, 2019


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clefebvre commented Mar 9, 2019

The following changes were implemented:

  • titlebar/menubar/headerbar/toolbars were darkened slightly from #454545 to #404040
  • minimize/maximize buttons were darkened when focused from #909090 to #404040
  • Mint 19.1 improvements missing in GTK2 were ported (for instance the text was still #4f4f4f, it is now #303030).
  • Table headers were #202020 for some reason, this was changed to be the same as the rest of the content (i.e. #303030) and consistent with GTK2

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clefebvre commented Mar 9, 2019


@clefebvre clefebvre closed this Mar 9, 2019

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