I'm using ivy which defines two faces that can highlight matches, ivy-current-match and ivy-highlight-face. It's possible that both can be applied to one match.

I've noticed that in some cases the ivy-current-match background color (which is the most important one) does not show up when it's on something that has ivy-highlight-face as well.

For other color combinations, an entirely new background color is invented when they are combined, usually something darker than the ivy-highlight-face.

Is there some sort of color blending going on?

These are with these faces:

'(ivy-current-match ((t (:background "#00AF00"))))
'(ivy-highlight-face ((t (:background "#AF0000"))))

Here is the original issue I reported to ivy: https://github.com/abo-abo/swiper/issues/995

And a repro from emacs -Q:

(require 'package)

(add-to-list 'package-archives '("melpa" . "http://melpa.org/packages/"))

(package-install 'ivy)
(package-install 'counsel)
(package-install 'monokai-theme)
(require 'ivy)
(load-theme 'monokai)

(ivy-mode 1)

 '(ivy-highlight-face ((t (:background "#383b31")))))

Then M-x counsel-describe-variable

  • I would give abo-abo a little more than just one day before turning to the Emacs community to fix something that the original poster has already asked the author to look into on Github. It's not like abo-abo has been missing in action for months or years ...
    – lawlist
    May 11, 2017 at 6:09
  • I didn't realize I was stepping on his toes by doing so. I'm actually imagining that this is an emacs "feature" that I'm just not aware of and the fix would be in my config/customization rather than in ivy. I apologize if I offended, I was only trying to help by getting more info. May 11, 2017 at 14:39
  • @lawlist Why? The question could just be for Aaron's (and others') education. May 11, 2017 at 17:58
  • 1
    @TianxiangXiong -- at the very least, abo-abo should be made aware of this thread so he can make better use of his time in deciding how to deal with this issue. It is akin to asking the same question in multiple venues (e.g., on stackoverflow, reddit, and this forum) -- people start spinning their wheels in multiple places without knowing they are potentially wasting their time, and unaware of what the other people are doing.
    – lawlist
    May 11, 2017 at 19:17
  • 1
    @lawlist I added a link to the issue. May 12, 2017 at 14:41

1 Answer 1


It turns out that this is specific to ivy.

Ivy uses the colir library to blend backgrounds when adding multiple faces to text.

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