Other pages for this artwork cycle:

Humanity Icons

elementary icons is one of the most recognized and influential icon themes in the open source world. Of the consistently highest rated themes on at least two (Gnome-Colors and Erectus) are spin offs of elementary icons. This means that the people have already voted positively on the design featured in elementary. Xubuntu already features one of the Gnome-Colors icon themes. This means that developers have also chosen this design. So, why not feature an elementary variant in Ubuntu?


Humanity is about Usability. It's about giving the user the clearest possible view of their desktop. Humanity features clear, consistent, concise metaphors that will never leave a user clueless. Everything, from color to shape to placement has been thought out in extreme detail. Humanity is more than just art, it's design.

Humanity is about Practicality. Every icon in Humanity is drawn and saved in Scalable Vector format. That means clearer icons, even in between standard sizes. That also means smaller file sizes. Humanity icons sits in at a mere 1.4MB, yet is one of the most complete themes available and includes easily twice as many icons as Ubuntu's current theme, which sits in a 1.1MB.

Humanity is about Constant Evolution. Humanity is so carefully optimized with each revision that it continues to grow in content and shrink in file size with every release. In the last two years elementary has more than quadrupled its content and dropped its file size by 75%. Humanity, being built on elementary, inherits this strength. Humanity is also scrutinized by a number of peer review tests including review by artists working on the elementary project, developers working on GNOME Do and Ubuntu itself, and the famous "girlfriend/boyfriend test".


WARNING: The following package is a preview release that is not entirely complete. It is meant to give a snapshot of Humanity icons and should not be judged as a final product.

Humanity 2.1 Tarball

To checkout the latest revision of Humanity:

  1. Open Terminal
  2. Type, "bzr branch lp:humanity ~/.icons/humanity"
  3. Humanity icon theme should be available in your Appearance preferences.

To update your copy of Humanity:

  1. Open Terminal
  2. Type, "cd ~/.icons/humanity && bzr pull"

Click Here to Report Bugs in Humanity

Human Comparison

Nautilus Toolbar


Nautilus Sidebar


Default User Folders


Places Menu


Bottom Panel



  • I'm all for anyone suggesting new icons, sets have been being submitted for a few releases (usually to get ignore) but I really think that Karmic is the release where something can actually change and the Human icon theme can finally go. It would be interesting to see how these compare to colors in day-to-day use but it is definitely time for something better that the Human icons either way. -- -- twright-tdw 2009-06-02 17:56:42

  • Hey, I just wanted to say that these look great so far. I'd love to see more pictures of the icons though, perhaps on a few different background colors (or grab some backgrounds from the Artwork>Background page). Three cheers for new icons! -- adam-w-knox 2009-06-02 18:50:22

  • Don't want to bash anybody, but I definitely think that gnome-colors is a much better choice for ubuntu. I tried the elementary icon theme and there aren't many icons that actually changed from default. There are many missing. I think one big thing that they missed was including scalable icons. With gnome-do, or any other dock, it makes the icons go blurry. With gnome-colors, there is a repository for them (no needing to download a new tar every release), they are scalable and there are many color schemes to choose from. I'm all for a new default icon theme, but I think gnome-colors has the upper hand. There is a wiki page for it as well. (UbuntuColorsIcons) -- nate---wiebe

    • Hmm.. This is an odd response because comparing the latest gnome-colors and elementary, elementary makes far more changes in icons like actions, mimes, categories, and devices where gnome-colors makes most of its changes in application icons which are already supplied by developers while copying all other icons from gnome or elementary with the exception of folders. Also, you are incorrect in saying that elementary does not include scalable icons, because all the icons in elementary are scalable! You should also notice that the Gnome-Do team has switched from gnome-colors to elementary. Perhaps you should give elementary another spin? -- DanRabbit

      • That wasn't the impression I had, at least from the package linked here. Quite the contrary — many missing emblems, several icons with low definition at small sizes, inconsistent gradients and detail levels (e.g., some tango-ish icons vs several nuove-xt-ish others). The Trash applet's icon in gnome-panel, to cite an unfortunate example, was pixelated and too big for the height of the panel. But, all in all, don't take me as being harsh — these are points to improve. That said, I still believe gnome-colors is much more mature, both in completeness and in internal consistency, both equally important factors. Is the bleeding-edge elementary release that confirms your words the one on Unfortunately I can’t download it now (proxies, hmpf), but I’ll test it later. Anyway, from the preview I can already tell there’s still inconsistency in the strokes — the small sizes have nice strong strokes, whereas in some large ones they’re too faint. -- inckie-gmail 2009-06-03 15:55:20

  • Thanks (although I did not make the actual icons Smile :-) ), hopefully with enough talking to the right people we can get closer to a newer, better icon theme. To support a new icon theme by default support it on brainstorm: -- twright-tdw 2009-06-02 22:20:06

  • First off, I've always been a huge fan of this icon set. A few points of critique:
    1. Regarding "Convenience" - while including a deb package on is a start - this is still much less convenient than gnome-colors and breathe, which have PPAs. This lets users receive pushed updates instead of having to monitor Why did you stop maintaining the debian repository hosted at
    2. I'm not too keen on look of the new folders. It strikes me as a less polished version of the gnome-colors-human folders (same perspective, similar hue, etc.). In some ways the 48 px folder is now less consistent with the smaller sizes as it does not share the same left-sided perspective. I also preferred the softer orange (verging on light brown) of the older alternative folders - they seemed much more in keeping with the general elementary palette. The new ones are much too harsh (i.e. bright orange).

    3. If you're going to support a new folder flavor, you should make sure to include a new version for every folder-esque icon, so that random blue folders don't show up in unexpected places (e.g. gnome-fs-directory-accept, etc.) This was a shortcoming of the older alternative folder icons as well.

    4. One last nitpick - please drop/fix the vpn network-manager icons. Without the use of tango conventions (i.e. some kind of outline), it looks like a sloppy black blob on a dark panel. The first thing I do before using a new version of this set is manually delete all the vpn icons (so they fallback to the hicolor icons). Something you might want to consider before proposing this set for ubuntu - which includes many dark paneled themes (e.g. Dark Room, Dust, New Wave, etc.). On the contrary, the new network-wireless-encrypted icons are stellar - perhaps you could use a downsized version of this for vpn?

    5. Instead of elebuntu, how about elementary-human? Wink ;) -- pferraro 2024-05-20 11:25:45

      • Thanks for the feedback. These are all pretty valid points.
        1. The repository on was supposed to be internal only Smile :) I don't know how it got leaked... Also, I was without a Linux machine for quite some time and blah blah personal issues. But, a new repository will be available soon.

          • I guess nobody can hide from google...
        2. I'm sorry you don't like the new folders Sad :( They are actually more or less based on the Dropline NOU folder icons. Is there something that you can suggest to increase the polish? I've actually gotten a lot of compliments on these. I was getting complaints about the tilted folders. I'll experiment with colors on those alternate folders. They are a bit too orange...

          • Honestly, I've always harbored a hidden lust for the Giøn folders (although the rest of their theme is hideous) - but that's a new direction entirely. Funny, since I last commented on the new folders, I've warmed to them a bit more. One idea for improvement is to narrow the back (white) part of the folder by just a pixel or two. Have you tried out something like a larger version of the 24 px folders (like erectus)? Or perhaps like the old ones, but with a smaller tilt/angle?

            • Maybe I'll play around with that in a little bit, but for now I'm satisfied with their appearance. I did the same of not really liking them at first. But, once you start to use them you can't go back.
              • One last thing - check out the Foglie icons for an example of well polished front-facing folders.

                • :/ I don't really like those...
        3. Don't worry, I'm working on it! I just started this new flavor the other day and it's going to take a little while to go through and find all the folders. Although, there should be a 48px replacement for gnome-fs-directory-accept.
        4. I just might do that. It's a very obvious idea. I'm having trouble supporting dark and light panels and trying to do everything else as well. I spent quite a lot of time trying to make the wireless icons look better on dark panels for this next release. But, it is something I'm aware of and working on Smile :)

          • BTW - the new wireless network-manager icons look great against a dark panel now.
        5. Ah, that is also obvious and sounds better.
  • It is really great to see all of this push for a new icon theme (something I have been campaigning for ages about). Now there are many great options whether they be colors, elemental or something else - it is just a matter of making sure that all the options a re discussed and something actually gets done with in release cycle. Anyway, whichever theme we pick will look great (colors is absolutely fantastic) and be an amazing step up from the clutter and inconsistency of Human. -- twright-tdw 2009-06-04 19:38:21

  • I also think that this SHOULD be the defaut icon set, i don't like Human neither Breathe, we need to search another colour, as Mark said, why not make the jump right now? Elementary is great, it follows Gnome icon set ideas, and simple looks great on my EVERYDAY USE, so I totally recommend it.

I have to say, I just love these new icons and they far exceeded my expectations for whatever it was I thought Karmic was going to be. A few things though:

  • The era of shiny, reflective, OS Xified icons is really over, and that's a good thing if you ask me. Specifically the folders: The folder icon is undoubtedly the single most important icon in the entire set. Please, do away with just a little more of the shine.
  • In my opinion the new Play/Pause/Stop/etc. buttons are a bit, well, simple. Too simple, as in. Wink ;-) Take a look at the sophistication yet simplicity of the brightness notification lightbulb icons. Or maybe I'm alone in that complaint.

  • The icon for a locked wifi network and other locked stuff (status/locked.svg) looks a bit... Well it looks like it has the proportions of a toy. I can't really explain it. Look at the Wikipedia protection icon; To me that's too shiny and KDE for this icon theme but the proportions are right.

  • Modern screens are widescreen now. :P In my opinion all the current icons with screens in them should be widescreens (16:10). But that's just my opinion.
  • The notes on the music file and music folder icons look a bit old and RHEL 2004ish... Again, in my opinion. Something more modern perhaps?

Again, good work and keep it up. dsavi 2024-05-20 11:25:45

I fear that having all the set in SVG may cause performance penalties. Besides, read jimmac ("Why SVG is not the best can opener") : "Bitmaps are not going to die. For toolbar and menu icons (16×16 px and 24×24 px), they are faster to produce and simply look better." I'm not sure there is a need for svg at 16×16 px and 24×24 px ? antistress 2024-05-20 11:25:45

These are really well done. I found only one icon that I didn't really like in the screenshots, and that is the one for recent documents. The arrow on the clock is straight, tangent to the circle; it should be curving around the clock like the arrow in the older icon was. Overall, though, this is great work, and many of the new icons really are noticeably more practical than the older ones! 2024-05-20 11:25:45

  • Every time I do a bazaar pull to update this theme and it gets closer to completion, the closer it comes to becoming my default icon theme. This theme is coming together very well and I'm anxiously looking forward to the day when the final version is released. I sincerely hope this is the default theme I see the first time I boot up my release copy of Karmic. Solid work, keep it up guys! --blueyonder64 2024-05-20 11:25:45

  • A great theme! I love the caramel tone. However, the sound volume icon on the systray is almost unreadable over a dark gnome panel. Any chance of fixing that? 2024-05-20 11:25:45

  • I've have noticed the dark theme/background conflict as well. An alternate option may be, as some icons themers have done, include a set of lighter colored volumes icons and just append a "2" or "_light" to the end of the icon's name so it doesn't appear by default. This would give the individual the option of going in and setting which version they would prefer as the stock volume icon while preserving the original set, rather than having to maintain a "Light Version" and "Dark Version" (for those who prefer the original) of the icon theme. This may take a little know-how on the end users part (especially new users), but including a "Read Me" file with the icon package that explains the icon renaming process to fit the user's preference might take care of that, or perhaps even including a small script that would change it for them with a simple click of the mouse. Just some thoughts. --blueyonder64 2024-05-20 11:25:45

  • I also like this theme very much - the tone in the folder icons is less jarring than the overly-orange icons in the version of Human in Jaunty. BUT... I have one issue with the file system/disk icons as shown in the images above. This isn't an issue just with Humanity, but it covers several recent popular themes. The "disks" are represented as an internal hard disk - i.e. the shiny, odd-shaped piece of hardware inside our computers that many ordinary people never see. I think the icon is recognizable to technical folks, but potentially puzzling to non-technical people. If this is "Linux for Human Beings" then it needs to be more recognizable. I realize that disk icons have been a tricky problem over the years for all creators of icon themes, and no one seems to have found a really great solution. However I think in this specific case, the shapes of the original Human icons are more recognizable, and maybe they should form the starting point for the disk icons in Humanity. Apart from this one issue, this looks great! --steve-d-mottram 2024-05-20 11:25:45

* Vote for it: Solution #9


Artwork/Incoming/Karmic/Humanity_Icons (last edited 2009-10-02 23:51:38 by smurf)