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To accompany the top down rethemeing of ubuntu the Human icon set should be updated/reworked in a newer style.

Release Note

Updated Human icon theme for ubuntu


As we create a new theme for the next LTS cycle we need an icon theme which reflects these changes, is created at least to some extent using the tango guidelines so that it fits well with the existing Tangerine, Tango and Gnome icon themes and is modern and fresh.


In order to create a new icon theme we will need talented artists. Without them this will never become a reality within several years.


The color palette, design principles and examples will be explained in the Artwork teams wiki page (Work in Progress -> http://wiki.ubuntu.com/Artwork/Incoming/HardyDesign)


Due to the longer term aspects involved with not only moving forward with the current design but also planning for the future several items are very important.


The name of the theme will not change.


For Hardy we need to create a list of icons which need updating, are missing or are simply of poor quality/blurry, etc. Work on this has begun: http://wiki.ubuntu.com/Artwork/GutsyIconReview

We will evaluate ideas for the evolution of the Human theme and apply the same principles in the work created for Hardy where possible. Generally speaking we are looking into the idea of less gloss, more realism/detail and better use of color. Examples include using colored openOffice icons (mimetype and app icons) and a simple color coding for types of emblems.

Outstanding Issues

As the creation of an icon set is not a matter of months we need to precisely plan which pieces to create at which phase of the cycle. For Hardy there will not be a definite visual change but we should still be working towards the long term goal of improving the icons using a new style which is more modern and fresh.

One specific area of interest is the use of monochrome or simplified icons in the panel. These icons would be simple informational glyphs only using color to denote an error condition. Issues: whether to use these icons only in the notification area (ie the right side of the default setup panel on top) or to include all the menu icons as well.

BoF agenda and discussion

Icon Theme

The human icon theme is getting outdated. The problem is that very few of the icons are svg. The question is: Should we throw everything out and start fresh or keep working on what we already have. Issues

  1. Gloss is outdated.
  2. SVGs are missing.


  • Remove the OSX style gloss, use it intelligently and naturally.

    SVG vs PNG SVG is not showed properly in GNOME, especially blur and more advanced features such as clipping. SVGs are currently being prerendered with a script.


Plan for the future? What to do from LTS to LTS. We will not do major changes in between LTS releases. We do NOT want to do the MS style of inheriting things from Windows 3.1 to current.


Need to find an artist (andreasn :P), who is quite competent at icon design and capable of following the Tango guidelines.

Follow Hardy theme design principles and palette. Or a human-specific one.

  • A palette for icon creation is absolutely necessary.

BZR Everything should be commited to bzr, Art packagers have commit access.

We still call it Human, but with an internal major version number. If there is a complete revamp, a new name will be needed. Otherwise, people will complain that their theme is not human.

In order to make the theme, we need to follow the rest of the decission making process. We must sit down, make the something basic that we can show off.

You can set gnome-style OO.o with export OOO_FORCE_DESKTOP=gnome OO.o icons are too similar in the 'Applications' menu, we need to make them stand out from each other more. The should be more clear in what they do. We can make the colours different, like MS Office does. We use the color cue to help people visualize.

Word: Blue

Excel: Green

PowerPoint: Orange

Access: Purple

Outlook: Yellow

Publisher: Teal

Groove: Light Green

Projects: Very Dark Green

OneNote: Light Purple

Theres an idea about making the status icons in the panel really simple and just one colour, much like how OSX does it.

We must create the basis of this first, with guidelines, pallettes etc., then a timeline, make something to release with Hardy, and then again completing it.


DesktopTeam/Specs/HardyIconTheme (last edited 2008-08-06 16:36:57 by localhost)