Helvetimail – a minimalist Gmail skin


The swissifying of the web doesn’t stop, now I discovered Helvetimail, a minimalist Gmail skin.

27 Comments leave a comment below

  1. No Safari yet. Darn.

  2. Perfect…if it were white letter on a black background. Easier on my eyes that way.

  3. Love it – nice work. I’d also suggest removing the remaining underlines.

  4. Thanks everyone.

    Steve, which underlines please? I thought I got rid of all of them :-)

  5. Hey, that is amazing – I love it! I’ve always wanted something to make my Gmail not look depressing. Thanks for the link.

  6. I’ve been waiting for this, awesome! There are a couple of underlines left though: Newer, Older, Oldest, Refresh, and the links at the very top left to Calendar, Documents, etc.

  7. james – you actually find it easier to read white on black? i find that it is the hardest type to read and will actually not read something on a site because of it…

  8. White on black is easier on the eyes in low ambient light conditions.

    It would be nice if all UIs could toggle between dark on light and light on dark modes (or auto change when ambient light sensors are available).

  9. am i being stupid or is this for Mac only? i’m running Xp with firefox, have greasemonkey, downloaded script. changed gmail theme to minimalist….nothing. Please put me out of my mystery misery…

  10. Josh…significantly easier. I actually keep my monitor with low brightness/contrast settings…and in a rather controversial move, I made my resume white text on black.

    I did change it back, because I find not everyone is like me. :-)

    But I think Steve is also right on target…white pages bother me most at night when I’m at the computer with the lights off/dim.

  11. can’t wait for the safari update!

  12. I love it, but think that there should be a little more contrast between read and unread messages- I would suggest making the text of the read messages a slightly lighter shade of grey

  13. A few more humble suggestions:
    – consistent use of red text to mean “selected”
    – remove button graphics (text needs no embellishment)
    – remove pipe characters (spaces are sufficient)

  14. Slight issue I found so far is when drop down menu of suggested email addresses appears, you have to actually click on the address you want. Usually I just us the up/down keyboard buttons, then hit return.

    But – I Iove the theme!

  15. It’s too bad the instructions are so poor. That’s three hours of my life I’ll never get back. Never understood how people can spend so many hours creating these things but can’t put ten minutes of thought into creating good instructions.

  16. Colin, three hours???

    i thought the instructions were rather impressive. It took me about four minutes to load it in Firefox.

    Also, the very fact that you’re reading a site like this means you must have some clue how these things work. Technical writing is a specialist area. It doesn’t take ten minutes to write good instructions.

  17. Thanks everyone for support. Please note that Helvetimail now runs in Safari and Fluid.

    I do apologize for various minor bugs in the design that may come up. Styling Gmail is really daunting task, because its sources are junk. I am now catching up with some paid work :-) but collecting feedback and hope improved versions soon.

    Colin: I am sincerely sorry you lost time on it. Believe me, I spend so much more than 10 minutes to make the instructions concise, i.e. brief but comprehensive enough. It might be a bit too brief in respect of SIMBL, GreaseKit, GreaseMonkey, etc. Could you please send me an email with some details so that I can fine-tune the instructions? Thank you very much.

  18. Josef, thanks so much for the hard work. I’m loving Helvetimail and I got my Gmail, Google Calendar and Google reader all looking the same in 5 minutes with your instructions, so they can’t be that bad.

  19. Cheers, kudos, and congrats! Seriously, all praise. It took me less than 30 seconds to install in Safari. (I admit I already had GreaseKit installed.) You complete me.

  20. Ok, I thought the idea is to have Helvetica, as the screen font right? That’s where name was picked up.
    I do have grease monkey, I clicked he script, and my Gmail changed colors and everything, but the font is not Helvetica by any means.
    What am I doing wrong?

  21. who uses safari?

  22. I guess the helveti part of the name comes from helvetia which is another (older) name for switzerland… (red/white design..)

  23. oooh ok then. I got confused. It would be cool though if the screen font was changed to Helvetica.

  24. I love swiss design indeed and I even went to switzerland for studying it! however at one point I started to get sick of ‘swiss style’ . Helvetica, red+white, these are just tooo over-redundant that it starts weakening its beauty and character. I feel that swiss design is losing their uniqueness. No offense to this simple cute gmail skin. but just wanted to share my opinion as a non-swiss graphic designer after experiencing my love and interest for swiss graphic only lasts for 3years.

  25. i can’t uninstall helvetimail.. i click another theme and it adjust some colours in the text but thats it..

  26. Agreed, how do you uninstall it? I’ve loved it for a few years but am ready for a change! thank you :)