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0.1.1 • Public • Published


Given 3 input colors, create a full palette of colors in light mode and dark mode.


Follow this process for making color themes:

  1. Basic palette -- you provide 3 colors: light, dark, and accent color
  2. Full palette -- adds more colors interpolated between the original 3, such as intermediate grays and lighter and darker accent color
  3. Theme -- assigns colors from the palette to various named roles on a page: page text, button border color, etc etc.
  4. Styles -- makes actual CSS rules using the theme colors.


A "palette" is a set of colors that have not been assigned roles yet.

We start with a user-provied BasicPalette which only has 3 colors:

type ColorHexString = string;  // like "#ff9900"

interface BasicPalette {
    gr6: ColorHexString,  // background (white, in light mode)
    gr0: ColorHexString,  // text (black, in light mode)
    ac3: ColorHexString,  // accent color

That's expanded into a FullPalette with more in-between colors:

interface FullPalette {
    // a perceptually-uniform gradient between light and dark
    gr6: ColorHexString,  // background (white, in light mode)
    gr5: ColorHexString,
    gr4: ColorHexString,
    gr3: ColorHexString,  // middle gray
    gr2: ColorHexString,
    gr1: ColorHexString,
    gr0: ColorHexString,  // text (black, in light mode)

    // variations on the accent color
    ac4: ColorHexString,  // lighter
    ac3: ColorHexString,
    ac2: ColorHexString,  // darker


A "theme" is a set of colors that have been assigned specific jobs on the page such as text, page background, button border, etc.

export interface Theme extends FullPalette {
    card: ColorHexString,  // brightest background (in light mode)
    page: ColorHexString,  // medium background
    link: ColorHexString,  // colorful link text
    faintText: ColorHexString,  // gray text
    text: ColorHexString,  // darkest text

    // gray button
    quietButtonBg: ColorHexString,
    quietButtonBorder: ColorHexString,
    quietButtonText: ColorHexString,

    // colorful button
    loudButtonBg: ColorHexString,
    loudButtonBorder: ColorHexString,  // or 'none'
    loudButtonText: ColorHexString,

    textInputBg: ColorHexString,
    textInputText: ColorHexString,
    textInputBorder: ColorHexString,  // or 'none'

    // the raw palette colors are here too, inherited from FullPalette:
    gr6: ColorHexString,  // background (white, in light mode)
    gr5: ColorHexString,
    gr4: ColorHexString,
    gr3: ColorHexString,  // middle gray
    gr2: ColorHexString,
    gr1: ColorHexString,
    gr0: ColorHexString,  // text (black, in light mode)

    ac4: ColorHexString,  // accent color lighter
    ac3: ColorHexString,  // accent color
    ac2: ColorHexString,  // accent color darker


Finally, Styles are actual CSS rules. You will want to write your own, but an example is provided in example-styles.ts

// example; make your own
let makeStyles = (theme: Theme): Styles => ({
    sPage: {
        color: theme.text,
    sCard: {
        background: theme.card,
        color: theme.text,
        padding: 10,
        borderRadius: 5,
        boxShadow: '5px 15px 20px -5px rgba(0,0,0,0.17)',
    sLoudButton: {
        background: theme.loudButtonBg,
        color: theme.loudButtonText,
        borderRadius: 10,
        padding: theme.loudButtonBorder === 'none' ? '8px 13px' : '10px 15px',
        margin: '2px 5px',
        fontWeight: 'bold',
        display: 'inline-block',
        border: theme.loudButtonBorder === 'none' ? 'none' : '2px solid ' + theme.loudButtonBorder,


Example usage

import {
} from 'make-color-theme';

// Start with your basic colors, maybe picked by the user.
let basicPalette = {
    gr0: '#222222',  // text
    gr6: '#ffffff',  // background
    ac3: '#775500',  // accent

// Normalize it to light mode, no matter how it started off.
// (Light mode means the background, gr6, is brighter than text, gr0)
if (!paletteIsLight(basicPalette) {
    basicPalette = invertBasicPalette(basicPalettte);

// expand to a full gradient of colors
let fullPalette = makeFullPalette(basicPalette);

// assign them to roles on the page, and make light and dark versions
let { lightTheme, darkTheme } = makeLightAndDarkThemes(fullPalette);

let myTheme = lightTheme;

// make your actual CSS styles
let loudButtonStyle = {
    background: theme.loudButtonBg,
    color: theme.loudButtonText,
    // ... etc
    // this part is up to you

Palette functions

// "light mode" means text (gr0) is dark and background (gr6) is bright.

// toggle a palette between light and dark mode
invertBasicPalette(p: BasicPalette) => BasicPalette
invertFullPalette(p: FullPalette) => FullPalette

// check if a palette is light or dark
paletteIsLight(p : BasicPalette | FullPalette) => boolean

// ensure that a palette is specifically in light mode or dark mode,
// no matter how it starts off
forceBasicPaletteToLightMode(p: BasicPalette) => BasicPalette
forceBasicPaletteToDarkMode(p: BasicPalette) => BasicPalette
forceFullPaletteToLightMode(p: FullPalette) => FullPalette
forceFullPaletteToDarkMode(p: FullPalette) => FullPalette

Color math

Some of these color functions use a different representation for colors: an object with r, g, and b properties.

Convert between that format and regular hex strings:

type ColorRGB = {
    // floats between 0 and 1
    r: number,
    g: number,
    b: number,

cToHexString = (c: ColorRGB) => string  // like "#ff9900"
cFromHexString = (s: ColorHexString) => ColorRGB | null

Linear interpolation between colors:

// "t", a float between 0 and 1, controls the interpolation.

// as color objects
cLerp(c1: ColorRGB, c2: ColorRGB, t: number) => ColorRGB

// as hex strings
cLerpStr(c1s: ColorHexString, c2s: ColorHexString, t: number) => ColorHexString

Compute the perceptual luminance and contrast ratio as defined by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

luminance(c: ColorRGB): number  // between 0 and 1
contrastRatio(c1: ColorRGB, c2: ColorRGB): number  // between 1 and 21




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