High contrast themes are the most visually striking. As you probably guessed, this genre is characterized by the use of strongly contrasting colors. I have been on the high contrast search for months, and the vast majority of their color schemes are not easy on the eyeballs. That is not necessarily a bad thing.
Imagine yourself at the office, an hour has gone by and you haven't had an espresso shot, so you are feeling awfully tired. Well, if you need help keeping your eyes on the screen, Lasers (below) denies you the option to look away. Each element pops out boldly, and the color palette is cool, but I find it difficult to look at for long periods of time.
Lasers — Visual Studio Marketplace:
On the opposite end of the contrast spectrum, there is bold simplicity. For example, the classic hacker color scheme (below) is all neon green or pale yellow, so the colors don't contrast much at all, but the text still pops. This is comfortable to read, but there is a reason why no one uses hacker terminal colors anymore. Over long periods of time, I find that the text blends together, and neither of these themes is easy to look at all day.
Hackers Haze Theme — Visual Studio Marketplace:
Maybe the themes above are perfect for you, but personally, I prefer a balance between simple and complex. These themes aren't easy to find, which is my inspiration for this article. I am looking for a good color variance so that my eyes can easily find where to go, but not something so colorful that my eyes burn. Also, it needs to be easy to read even in the sunlight, when I'm sitting on my laptop in public.
My Top VS Code Themes
- Dark Mint — acai is my personal favorite theme, so it's going first.
- Dark Synthwave '84 does a great job at visually separating out different elements of code within dense logic clusters, it guides the eyes well but the color palette doesn't have much coherency.
- Monokai Charcoal high contrast has 10 different color schemes, all of which include a tasteful palette that works together for a more classic high-contrast look.
- Dark Mint — acai is my personal favorite theme because it has a nice palette with some high-contrast elements, but it still looks modern and simple.
- Galax Theme speaks for itself, I use it often as well.
I hope you found a new theme to try out. Honorable mentions: