I am using the color-theme package to manage the colors in Emacs 24.3.1. I used the command color-theme-select to try different color themes until I found one that I liked. In this case I found the Hober theme. Then I put the following code into my .emacs file to automatically load the color theme when I start up emacs.

(require 'color-theme)
(setq color-theme-is-global t)
(set-frame-font "lucidatypewriter-9")

However, when I reload emacs, the color theme is significantly darker than what I saw before. Why are the two approaches to selecting the color theme yielding different results?

The following are pictures of the two cases.

If I select via color-theme-select:

If I select via <code>color-theme-select</code>:

If I select via color-theme-hober and the other code mentioned above:

If I select via <code>color-theme-hober</code> and the other code mentioned above:

  • It looks like you're using emacs -nw and the difference is between the normal and bright colors of your terminal emulator.
    – wasamasa
    Commented Dec 15, 2014 at 21:01
  • You are correct. I am connected via ssh using SecureCRT with the emulator xterm. The difference does appear to be between normal and bright colors for the ANSI color set. I still do not understand, however, why one command results in the bold/bright colors and one results in the normal colors. Commented Dec 15, 2014 at 22:14

1 Answer 1


color-theme is an old third-party package which is no longer required since Emacs version 24.1, which comes with built-in support for color themes. In fact loading color-theme is going to mess up the built-in support.

So don't load color-theme and only use themes which are compatible with the built-in theme functionality. The new themes are named NAME-theme while the old ones which can no longer be used usually are named color-theme-NAME.

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