Revision 11 as of 2009-06-03 17:26:02

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elebuntu 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 elementary in Ubuntu?


elementary is about Usability. It's about giving the user the clearest possible view of their desktop. elementary 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. elementary is more than just art, it's design.

elementary is about Practicality. Every icon in elementary is drawn and saved in Scalable Vector format. That means clearer icons, even in between standard sizes. That also means smaller file sizes. elementary icons sits in at a mere 1.6MB, yet is one of the most complete themes available.

elementary is about Constant Evolution. elementary 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 it's content and dropped it's file size by 75%. elementary is scrutinized by a number of peer review tests including review by artists working on the elementary project, the ever infamous "girlfriend test" , and software developers such as those working on the Gnome-Do project.

elementary is about Convenience. elementary is the only icon theme on (that I know of) that offers a Debian package as well as a tarball.


Full size


WARNING: The following package is a preview release that is not entirely complete. It is meant to give a general impression of the next version of elementary icons in the Ubuntu flavor and should not be judged as a final product.



  • 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 defiantly 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 it's 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