@willcooke, appreciate you and your team’s willingness to reach out to the community for feedback. I think Ambiance is still a great theme, personally. I really like how you’ve “Ubuntu-ized” the GNOME shell! Here are a few suggestions/fixes, though.
DARK VERSION OF AMBIANCE
- For the reasons I mentioned here (https://community.ubuntu.com/t/consider-a-dark-theme-counterpart-for-ambiance/969) , I think an “Ambiance Dark” theme (similar to Adwaita and Adwaita Dark) would be a tremendous benefit for users that find all the empty white space of Ambiance rather straining on the eyes.
2. Vertical spacers: consider removing them or making them invisible? (might look more polished. Spacers don’t seem to be necessary in header bars or serve a purpose?)
3. On/Off switches in header bars: the orange border around the button looks a bit un-polished. Possible fix would be to remove the bright orange border?
4. The “Minimize”, “Maximize” and “Close” buttons all have bolder symbols when the icon theme isn’t set to ubuntu-mono-dark. I’d suggest changing that so they look like the icons in the ubuntu-mono-dark icon set (not sure if that’s Ambiance, though).
5. Replace the orange gradient from the close button with a solid Ubuntu orange, and make the X white instead of black? Might look a little more cool and modern.
HEADER BAR & TITLE BAR DOUBLE-GRADIENT ISSUE
6. Apps like Chrome, chromium all have that clashy double-gradient look when maximized, and the “blended-gradient” we see in all other apps like Firefox and Files looks… okay. Consider removing ALL gradients from titlebars and headerbars WHEN maximzed. Keep the gradients when un-maximized. I found the Ubuntu gray color (hex code 3c3b37) looks pretty darn good when matched against the GNOME top bar with the Ubuntu gradient. It would also merge the top bar and menu bar of an app (like Gimp), making things look a lot more polished (run gimp in 17.10 and you’ll see the issue I’m talking about).
7. Consider removing the rounded corners at the top-left and top-right of the header bar? Would straight corners look better/modern?
8. The gray lines diving the different locations in sidebar and big vertical line dividing the sidebar from the main window doesn’t seem to mesh well with the rest of the theme, aesthetically. Consider making them more like how GNOME Tweaks app looks when it divides the layout (looks a little more seamless). Maybe even remove or make invisible the horizontal lines dividing sidebar entries? Might look a little more polished.
“SAVE BEFORE CLOSING” WINDOWS (Inkscape, GIMP, and any other applicable areas)
9. The orange-white gradient on the save button looks a little dated. Consider making it a solid orange (maybe Ubuntu orange) with white text – similar to how in System Settings the highlighted option on the left looks (solid orange with white text).
GNOME POP-OVER MENUS
10. Slightly reduce the amount of roundness in the corners of the pop-over menu buttons, or remove roundness altogether?
11. When the mouse hovers over an item, change the highlighted orange from a gradient to a solid orange (Ubuntu orange) color?
WORKSPACE SWITCHER IN ACTITIVITIES OVERVIEW
12. Granted, this may not actually be part of the Ambiance theme, but consider squaring off the rounded corners of the workspace switcher border. The rounded edges don’t seem to go with the rest of the theme, and the rounded corners against the straight-cornered orange highlight border looks pretty rough. (vanilla GNOME has this same problem.)
Those are my thoughts. Looking forward to more awesomeness in 18.04! You guys rock.