When I use, gotham-theme, it says that you can get the 256 colors by (setq gotham-tty-extended-palette t) but I do not feel any difference between activating one and the other with only 16 colors; I think that I have activated the 256 color because with list-colors-display and list-faces-display I have many colors,

gotham 16

gotham 256

It seems that with lush theme is more colorful

enter image description here

So my question is: it is well activated gotham theme with 256 colors, and how can I make my code more colorful?


  • 1
    You're clearly not in the terminal, so no 256 color palette for you...
    – wasamasa
    Jun 17, 2016 at 6:35
  • So it means that I have more colors, and it is well configured?
    – anquegi
    Jun 17, 2016 at 6:44
  • Yes. I'll post a more elaborate answer soonish.
    – wasamasa
    Jun 17, 2016 at 7:02

1 Answer 1


gotham-theme is my port of a Vim theme. In the Vim world there's three different kinds of color palettes used for themes:

  1. The original palette with an arbitrary amount of colors with the shades as the designer of the theme picked them. This one will only work correctly in a GUI instance (or if you're extra lucky and have 24-bit color support in both your editor and your terminal, in the terminal, too).
  2. A user-set 16 color palette in the terminal. This requires that the theme itself restricts itself to at most 16 colors and that it emits the correct ANSI color escapes that map to the user's terminal configuration. In other words, while this allows the theme to look very close or identical to the first option, it requires the user to have configured their terminal for that theme specifically.
  3. The default 256 color palette in the terminal. This obviously requires a terminal and that the user hasn't tampered with colors beyond the first 16 in its config. The theme will emit ANSI color escapes that approximate the real colors used in the theme. This kind of thing may go more or less well, depending on whether the approximation is automatic (like done for GUI-only themes when used in the terminal) or has been tweaked by the author (like with gotham-theme). It is possible to forego the approximation entirely by designing a theme using the default 256 color palette, see zenburn and punpun-theme for examples.

I've made the second option default for terminals as it makes the theme look better with all prerequisites met. In case they're not and you're willing to pick option 3, it is available with the customization option gotham-tty-extended-palette. Apparently it's a misleading name, so I'm considering to change it to something more obvious...

Therefore, if you're in the GUI, option 1 applies and you don't need to worry about color fidelity. The theme will look just as the designer intended it to do. Therefore I'm afraid you'll either have to look for a more colorful theme or tweak it yourself with M-x customize-face.

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