Experimenting with new type of themes for Clear

We’re internally playing with themes that incorporates a background photo or texture like a wallpaper, potentially opening up a whole other world of themes and vibes for Clear.

This is a colorful test theme example in action, it kind of feels like glass rows over the background art:


(Ignore the rounded corners, they’re for notch devices and don’t show on squared off screens.)

Or here’s a chalkboard theme we are testing too:

Turns out the way Clear 2.x is built, this is quite simple to support. Took a couple days to get up and running, working in widgets etc.

What do you all think of it so far? Will be exploring more here on what kind of photos and textures etc. work best with this format.


As I mentioned in another thread, I think there is a lot of potential here, but it all comes down to the images that are used. I think some macOS-style abstract wallpapers would be nice, kind of like the animated example above. Also, textures are another obvious win as long as they don’t affect the legibility of the text too much. I suppose the big question is, would you let people unlock a ‘custom’ background i.e. so they can upload their own images into it?


I’m not ruling it out for the further out future but I would expect us to explore the more curated route for a while before we consider that! (Or say guest artist themes and such further along the curated path.) These really do need some good selection/finesse it seems so far… I would say of the test/concept themes we are trying over the weekend maybe 30% feel shippable, with more polish. But those are very fun.


This is a nice vibe with existing personal art by David.


This is one we’ll be trying in an internal build later today. I think it looks really promising in mockup form at least! Possible upgrade to the iMac inspired line of themes:


The green cat image is a nice vibe, but I would argue it’s too busy. Some of the text is a little difficult to make out where it overlaps the main image. However, the teal colour field is much more successful legibility-wise. To me, it looks almost like an out-of-focus image of a landscape. Very evocative, and where I think the most potential lies.

You could have a series of different ‘scenes’ rendered in this blurred style - rural, urban, day, night, ‘the seasons’ etc etc all conjuring up the appropriate vibe but without the obvious detail that might fight with text being overlaid on top of it.

Also I think the texture works - there must be loads of options using different metals, stones, fabrics etc as inspiration. Again, as long as they’re fairly uniform patterns without too much contrast, they could work really well.

I’m increasingly seeing Clear 2.0 as a ‘vibe’ app, which I never really did with the original. It’s a testament to how well the customization has been implemented. Just need to be able to group sets of icons, font and themes together, then be able to select any chosen set at the push of a button. And also be able to have them automatically be selected based on the time of day. Scope creep I know… :pray:


The teal one is an iMac inspired one. Planning to just upgrade your existing ones for anyone who purchased these previously. This is a little more updated so that comes through more obviously:

Exploring some more subtle texture ones too:

And yeah the ‘loadouts’ feature I have been internally calling Vibes haha, it’s in the roadmap for later this year!


I do suggest that if you upgrade themes people already bought you also grant them the theme from before the change, unless you want people to complain :joy:


Personally any themes that don’t separate out each line aren’t for me, but I just don’t use those. Also agree that existing themes probably shouldn’t be changed to that degree.


We’re delaying submission by a day to get this in, so they unlock separately if you already had Chalkboard/iMac themes instead of replacing!

Here’s another set we’re considering.


I think I like the idea of more textured/complex themes than just single colors or gradients, but don’t like the look of scrolling not moving the background. I’d prefer if the background moves as you scroll, the text moving like over a glass pane doesn’t feel right to me.

Obviously that means you’d have to support something for varying lengths of lists, which isn’t as easy as just slapping an image on there. Possibilities that would work include:

  • repeating textures
  • images that stretch well
  • images in “sections” that can each stretch / move
  • images that work with a single color on the top/bottom, so longer lists just get filled with color on each end (probably most at the bottom).

I see how this is more restrictive than the proposed way, but I’m not a big fan of the text gliding over the background like that.

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Yeah I think these are a valid niche because so much isn’t possible to have endlessly tile like that. But we will be looking into layering on tiling support, that unlocks its own awesome niche too.


Not sure if this is the correct thread to post this on but since I unlocked the ‘Calendar’ icon, I’ve been pining for a suitable loadout to go with it. Same coloured ink, same coloured paper, same red header with a staple and perforation line… then I thought if non-gradient themes are viable, why not this?


That’s very cool. I think it would be quite tricky to nail (especially things like the ruled lining) however… we may be able to get to a simpler version with initial tiling and top/end cap support for these new image themes.

Going to look into that sooner than later, we have quite a bit of history with themeing and GUI customization (I ran a Mac themes community site as a kid, met David through that scene etc.) so I am really looking forward to further expanding on our themes format!


Seeing some of these textured wallpaper themes made me think of another feature that could be implemented… Allowing user to change color of Font… I say this because some of the Themes like “Best Bud HD” has a green textured background with detailed leaves painted in but then the white font makes it a bit hard to see some items… if user could change the color of the font it would allow for a more easier read depending on each user’s need…

Maybe even a way to set a blur of the wallpaper theme so that the background still has some life but user can choose the blur level so that the text is more readable without getting lost in the textured image.

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For now let me see if we can tweak the contrast a little higher on Best Bud and future themes like it. Should be able to improve it while still retaining its vibe at least.

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Put me down as an instant-buy on a seamless, textured wallpaper theme that mimic the Field Notes Expedition Dot-graph paper.


Good Evening is basically Purple Dragon 2.0, so I already love it. Instapurchase for me.


That’s a great vibe.

Would this be fine if the grid didn’t match your text etc.? If so we can definitely look into it!