Theme proposal for Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy mockups.

Update: v1.9 is done. See changelog at bottom.

It never occurred to me to name the theme until recently. So far I am thinking 'Savannah', or maybe 'Sapiens' (trying to keep it Ubuntu-ish). Suggestions on a postcard, or in the comments if it is easier.

This is intended only as a theme - no significant layout changes will take place and I have no doubt the theme will have to be altered quite significantly on implementation. Nothing is finalised and the layouts and contents are fictional - they are just to demo the design.

I am pretty much finished. I may personally implement the theme into an actual GTK theme eventually but I simply do not have the time at the moment. If anyone has any suggestions to either improve the graphics or to help create a workable theme from it give me a shout. The theme is made with Photoshop CS3 - ask me if you would like a copy of the PSD. It's 41mb so far so I am not going to upload it until required.

Theme Concepts

The aim was to create a high-contrast theme using brown and large amounts of white and to keep it as clean and crisp as possible. I have tried my best to avoid beige (which is light brown) and only to use subtle gradients rather than full white-to-brown ones. It's work in progress so if you have any comments feel free.

I am deliberately alternating the backgrounds between light/dark in the mockups so it is easy to get an idea of how it will look with varying levels of contrast and against different backgrounds. I do not want it to only work with a specific wallpaper. I do not expect any of the wallpapers demoed in this theme will be in the final version. I have used a few of the animal based themes that have been going around for a while plus some other random ones I have had for a while.

The plan is also to bundle five or so additional colourschemes with the finished version so if people really hate brown they can pick blue/green/orange/red etc instead. This way they can retain the original look without having to find their own random theme - and it would certainly cut down on the anti-brown people.

Latest Mockups

The latest version of the theme mockup.


Current Proposal - v1.9

Alternate Wallpapers

The version v1.8 against several different wallpapers to demonstrate contrast.

Alternate Colourschemes (v1.8)

Different colourschemes as explained above.

Version History

Here are the previous versions of the theme. They demonstrate the process and the theme at various stages in development.

Change Log


  • Removed rounding
  • Created window button borders
  • Updated scrollbars
  • Changed, textured and glossed (only slightly) elements


  • Created Thunderbird Demo
  • Various Tweaks
  • Multiple Colourschemes added


  • Main Windows 1px
  • Worked on colour consistency
  • Lots of little tweaks
  • New Scrollbars
  • New Buttons
  • Updated layout slightly


  • Fixed the scrollbars
  • Changed the background to a lighter one.

v1.6 Changes

  • Unrounded several elements
  • Added Main Menu dropdown
  • Stole some border effects from the Gelatin theme
  • Changed the colour hues overall
  • Messed up the scrollbars (wait a few days Smile :)

v1.5 Changes

  • Added drag resize dots in the bottom right
  • Lightened the white border
  • Added more control examples
  • Textured and brightened the main window title
  • Modified scrollbars
  • Modified and added button types
  • Added notification window popup


Man, this is so great! I really LOVE the theme. Available yet? Wink ;-)

The Metacity theme is great, colours are great too, but I don't really like the buttons. Too much gloss, over-rounded. Keep on theming ! Smile :) Steph.

I feel that the typeface choice (Gill) and top bar are the two strongest points of your design (and the resize dots are a nice touch!) but the window could definitely use less gloss and rounded corner radius. The border edges and scroll bar strips could probably go, too. I'm liking the subtle brown-to-white gradient of the inactive window's menu bar, and am thinking that you could apply that to the active window as well.

As for the buttons, if you still want to go with the 'pill' look, I think you might be inspired by this:

Best, BramPitoyo

I really like this theme. My only comment would be that I think the scroll bars could use... something... Perhaps lighten the bar and darken the control?

Maybe square off the buttons a bit.

You were right. Having a pill-shaped button, I think, will fit your theme better. Here’s an idea for the color scheme (pardon the Microsoft reference beforehand):

To sum up, I think that it should be more neutral in color, like the rest of your theme, and uses ALL CAPS in wordings. The color brown, then, may be used for the focus and pressed state.

About the scrollbars, have a look at how Linux Mint did it ( I like the integration between scrollbar and window edge that you currently have, but the image might provide some inspiration, particularly if you are going to go with pill-shaped buttons.

Also, sorry for criticizing the same thing again, but I still think that your window borders are too thick. Maybe reduce it to a single point, or eliminate it entirely? Have a look at this:

The subtle drop shadows on the minimize–maximize–close buttons are nice touches, but you should see if doing away with them would detract from usability or not. In my opinion, you can go entirely without shadows. I would point you again to the last example at how the Shift Linux theme design the three buttons without any sort of decorations. Maybe in your case, you could try putting in a subtle gradient? I would try all option and see which one resonate with you the best.

That being said, I think that you've taken a right direction in having transparencies for inactive window (vs. simply muting its color scheme.) I feel that the same principle applies in real life (farther objects appear more transparent and less defined. closer objects appear opaque.)

The entire menu design is also excellent. I love the fact that you put a border + drop shadow that unifies the entire menu (vs. color highlight on the title and border on the menu items on v1.5.) I feel that this gives the menu enough highlight, without detracting from your vision of creating a theme with “large amounts of white.”


Best, BramPitoyo

Wow! This is the best theme I have ever seen. I love the new menubars especially. Can you pre-release it for gutsy?

You got it! This one looks ready to use. Just one suggestion: have you tried putting some transparencies on the inactive window?

Best, BramPitoyo

This isn't my favorite theme, but this is very solid theme option and manages to modernize the Ubuntu look without straying too dramatically from its heritage. -Sumit, 2008|01|29

Artwork/Incoming/Hardy/Alternate/Kerberos (last edited 2008-08-06 16:23:59 by localhost)