OK, this may be a bit of a stretch, but I really think the newly released themes for Gmail do more than appeal to our senses. They actually have a very practical application: differentiating between multiple Gmail accounts.
I have branded (Google Apps, using my own domain) accounts for business and personal use, and a few generic @gmail.com types for subscriptions, lists, online purchases. It’s all neatly tied together by Gmail Manager, the excellent Firefox extension. Even then I sometimes find myself typing an email in the wrong account window. Here’s the solution: give all your Gmail accounts its own distinctive theme.
I don’t really care for the fancy themes, but at least the top row are all subtle, minimalist styles. Pick one for each of your accounts, you’ll get used to the colors fast and never mix up your accounts again.
Well.. almost. As usual, Google rolled out this new feature to the generic, @gmail.com accounts only. Google Apps users will have to wait – lets’ hope not too long.