Both the color scheme and font of GNOME Terminal can be tweaked. This can be a good way of improving legibility and also the amount of space GNOME Terminal hogs on-screen, because a smaller font size makes the window smaller too.
To change the font click Edit ^ Current Profile and remove the check from Use the system fixed width font. Then click the Font dropdown list, and select either a different font, or perhaps just a smaller point size (I find 8pt is best). Not all fonts are suitable for use in GNOME Terminal— generally speaking, it works best with Courier or Mono-style non-proportional fonts, although a handful of proportional fonts suffice too. For the ultimate in small but still legible fonts, try selecting Bitstream Vera Sans Mono
8pt. Also consider installing the ttf-inconsolata package—this provides a high-quality monospace font for use at small point sizes. Once it's installed, close any open GNOME Terminal windows and then follow the instructions above to change font and select the Inconsolata entry in the list.
To change the color scheme, click Edit ^ Current Profile and select the Colors tab. Then remove the check from Use colors from system theme and select a replacement from the Built-in schemes dropdown list. For a retro feel, try the Green on Black scheme. The Palette dropdown refers to how items in things like file listings are colored. Generally speaking there's no need to change this. Consider combining changing the color scheme with Tip 236, on page 278, which explains how to make the GNOME Terminal window translucent.
If you want to really save screen space, click Edit ^ Current Profile and remove the check from Show menubar by default in new terminals. This will then hide the menus in any new terminal windows you open. To get it back temporarily, right-click on the terminal window and select Show Menubar from the menu.
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