Color Themes and defaults

Great work on the new color theme tools. I switched over the KiCad Default (read-only) right away, and then made a custom theme with a black background.
Out of curiosity, why is the background not black? I’m sure there’s a good UI reason for this.

Eeschema, the schematic editor, has white background, and Pcbnew, the layout editor, has black background. I don’t know if there’s actually a good UI reason for that. It’s more probable that white is traditional color for schematics (all, not just KiCad) because it has been printed or plotted to white paper. Printing isn’t so common today, and with KiCad 5.99 you can also choose a different color theme for printing.

In the old (classic) theme, the Eeschema background was pure white, and the PcbNew background was pure black. In the new theme, the Eeschema background is slightly off-white (a very light orange-brown) and the PcbNew background is slightly off-black (a very dark blue).

There are a few reasons for this:

  1. Using pure white in Eeschema results in a very white bright screen, which can be unpleasant in dim rooms. While some users may prefer an extremely red-shifted screen (or even using an inverted theme in Eeschema), we went with a subtle approach for the new default theme that tones the background down a little bit but still feels mostly like the classic theme.

  2. Using a pure black background can also increase eyestrain according to some sources, as it’s seemingly possible to have “too much contrast” against the foreground colors. This is also why the foreground colors (of copper layers, for example) are not as bright as possible. Many users found the classic colors to be too dark and have too little contrast, but again we were trying to not overcorrect for this.

  3. There is a bit of it that is just artistic preference. The choice of dark blue and pale orange was made because it looked nice.

1 Like

If you are interested take a look at
These themes should work for version 5 and also current nightly (5.99).

1 Like

What would be involved in making kicad-2020 theme work with ?5.1.x

You would just have to copy the colors from the new theme to the old config files (as seen in the GitHub repository Rene posted above). I’m not sure if there is a script to do it automatically that someone has created, but you could also do it manually.

One caveat is that 5.1.x has a number of hard-coded colors that were made configurable for 5.99/6.0, so not all of the theme can be “back-ported” (although much of it can be)

1 Like

Thanks for the information. It’s a great feature and the defaults are good choices.

1 Like