Adwaita with Unity 8 colours

Here is a place we can discuss Adwaita with unity8 theming and all thing Adwaita and veriants of the Adwaita theme.
Edit . The primary reason for this thread is "Adwaita with Unity 8 colours instead of Ambiance if Communitheme will not be ready for 18.04”


Reasons for Adwaita with Unity 8 colours instead of Ambiance:

  • Adwaita looks more modern than Ambiance
  • Adwaita is developed with gnome-shell in mind
  • Adwaita could be easier to maintain (not sure about this)
  • Adwaita with Unity8 colours combines standard-gnome and the newest ubuntu-design

I will update the list when you give me more reasons. It would be nice to get the opinion from someone who has technical knowhow. What technical benefits brings Adwaita instead of Ambiance?

Once again: The communitheme is first! Adwaita with Unity8 colours should only be considered as fallback instead of Ambiance if communitheme will not be ready for 18.04.
But lets see how it looks and feels first.

@pojntfx Now we are waiting for your fork of Adwaita :grin:
I think this is the unity 8 colour scheme?:


Alright, let’s do this :wink:
My Github is on, I will be using
EDIT: I meant
as the base and am going to focus on the GTK3 theme first (since development is easier due to the inspector, hot reloading etc.) and then come to the GNOME Shell Theme.


How far should I take it with the colors? Should I keep the original viewport background for example or overwrite it?
Below are some early experiements (Viewport colors changed (I know there is too much white, tried to copy ), color scheme as according to | grep slide3:

With the dark headerbar:

Personally I would prefer the latter (Especially when used with GTK2 apps like VSCode because the white headerbar could be very distracting)


White headerbar will probably be easier since you’ll be able to reuse most of the Adwaita stuff, but dark headerbar is more Unity8. If you’re looking for creating something quickly, I’d go with white headerbar.

I’d also recommend starting from one of the first commits in the gtk-communitheme repository because that already includes most of the stuff required to build and package the theme, and that already combines both the GTK2 and GTK3 parts of the theme:


Yes, white would probably be the easier thing to do. I personally don’t like white headerbars because the contrast between the top bar and headerbar is just to much IMHO - I prefer it the way android, communitheme and arc-darker do it with two shades for both. I’m thinking of mixing the dark and light versions of adwaita now - “just take the headerbar from adwaita-dark and the rest from adwaita” and then update the colors …
Oh and thanks for the tip regarding builds!


Could you show us pictures to see the difference? At the moment i would say “keep it as much as possible to the original”. But that is because i am not sure what you mean with viewport background.

The Version with the white headerbar looks really bright. But as @merlijn-sebrechts mentioned this would be the easiest way. Since you are writing the theme i would let you decide. Is it doable to make it with the dark headerbar? Or else we could check the white version first. Whatever you can finish first. I am so sorry that i am no help because i cant write themes :frowning: Perhaps someone else could help too?

And yes, i prefer the version with the dark headerbar.

I am following you now on github. How do i get the theme to test?


I’m writing the README right now. I’ve created a nearly stock version of Adwaita using the light blue suru color, screenshots will follow soon. As you’ve already pointed out, keeping it as “original” as possible at first will be the best idea, so I’ve only changed the colors to match the screenshots privided in the GDocs document above. I’ll push it in a few minutes (Managed to break Meson, I am still new to this :wink: )

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I’ve just pushed it. Screenshots, install instructions etc. are in the README. Let me know which other variants you’d like to see and I’ll implement them (Color combinations, dark headerbar etc. - remember the less we edit the more maintainable this will be). I’ll probably also start development on the GNOME Shell theme with matching highlight colors. Which base should I use here? Adwaita as well?
Anyways, here is the code:
Screenshot of the dark version (Icons are upstream Suru):

Ambiance for comparison:

Colors are matched with Unity8 (App background, headerbar, highlight etc.).
Let me know what you think :wink:


I could find the white version. How do i get the dark version?

Go into the tweak tool and select “global dark theme”. Press Alt + F2, type ‘r’, hit Enter and it should be applied :wink: Since this option won’t be there in 18.04 I will probably create a dark version with @imports in the future though. Also be sure to use the Suru Icons!

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Did it! I like it and would like see this finished. Should we start to open Issues on Github?
I would look for the adwaita default wallpaper and try make it a bit orange-purple (with gimg?) so it fits more to the unity 8 look.
The Icons: maybe someone could take the default adwaita icons and just make the folder-icons a little bit orange? This could be a lot of work.

Should we finish the white and dark theme first or could we explore the white theme with dark headerbar first?


I’m gonna work on the dark headerbar version in the future as this is what I think most people would use (And it’s the same as in the Communitheme), but I can only warn you - I’ve got very little experience with GTK theming so don’t expect just to much :wink:
About the Icons: Using Adwaita would be a great Idea, I think! I’ll see if I can create a little script that will simply put a filter over the default folder icons and thus match the individual color schemes (Suru blue, Ubuntu orange, Upstream etc.). Could be integrated into the build process and would be super-maintainable.
About the Wallpaper: I’m probably gonna use as the base. What do you guys think?


Can you make a version with orange selection bar (# e95420)?

I am pretty sure you will make the theme great.:wink: And we can still hope for help. Who could and would help?

Icons: The idea with the script sounds great! I would test it and use it! Would love when we can use adwaita as base.

Wallpaper: Thanks for the link. After two minutes with gimp i could make this:

Its far from perfect. But it could go into this direction.

The gtk-theme: so should we start open issues in github?

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Oh sure, go ahead and open issues :wink: Feedback & bug reports are always appreciated, especially cause I’m new to this!
@initu-icr This will be the next variant I’m gonna create!
Development of the headerbar version is coming a long great, it’s already working. I think I will push it today (Although late, I guess,)


A little sneak peak:

Edits are pretty minimal and just overrides (No Adwaita source code has been changed, so this should be maintainable)


I love you and i love it! Posted two issues on github. But one after another. I am looking forward to it! Cant wait to test it! With orange Adwaita-folder-icons and purple-orange adwaita-wallpaper we should fit the unity 8 look perfectly.


First of all: Thanks for the positive feedback :wink:
I’ll be looking into creating the Adwaita-Darker Version first now. Basically I’m going to try and not change anything from Adwaita first and then go on from there. After all, the Intention here is not to create a Unity8 theme but rather to provide a maintainable counterproposal to Ambiance. This includes the tabs - while I like the way they look right now it does not resemble Adwaita at all.
After this will be finished, multiple Variants with different highlight colors (Unity8 Blue, Ubuntu Orange) will be created. With just the Adwaita icons with adjusted folder colors (should then match the highlight) and a matching wallpaper this would then be something that the Ubuntu theme could seriously consider if the Communitheme goes burst.
After that, we can start styling this theme like true Unity8 - flat buttons, traffic lights etc., but if we start right now with this we are going to have an unmainable fork that would not be a “true” alternative to Ambiance.



At the moment i am using the white version and i really like the highlight-blue. It is perfect! Not aggressive and not boring at the same time.

So the white version with dark headerbar is on hold and we will visit this version later?