Call for participation: an ubuntu default theme lead by the community?

Is there any default icon set we can use as a base ? PNG or SVG, preferably on Github.

Hello everybody!

Great idea I was waiting for!

Maybe you already read about my work in the last month, because I have already put a lot of time and energy in the project “Finding Ubuntu”. It’s not just a new theme, it’s also a lot of usability considerations and it’s also about general issues.

Find it at:

Have a look at it and you will see that maybe I’m the right person for the job. What needs to be said: I am not a programmer and not a developer. I have already been managing software projects as a project manager and I’m very into practical design. Especially in a project like this, design alone is not enough.

So just contact me if interested,


Depending on what we as a community want to do, I can see the several possibilities:

  • The Suru icon theme by Sam Hewitt, if we want to continue the guideline that were in Unity8

  • The papirus or paper theme if we want some kind of material-like design.

And many other :smiley:


Read your slide deck last month, you’ve put a lot of thought into it. Worthwhile read for anyone writing DE extensions for Gnome. But this particular contest is for a theme, so to submit something there’s got to be code. However your input as a thoughtful tester for the various submissions would be valuable.

Big, big enthusiastic vote for Sam Hewitt’s Suru icons. I hope he’s got enough time to finish them before 18!


Finally an announcement!
It’s obvious that the most popular linux distribution, should have the most beautiful out of the box desktop - let’s make that happen (hopefully) for 18.04 :grinning:

I say +1 for using the beautiful Unity8 Suru icons. Could someone make a priority list with the missing icons? Some mime types are missing etc. (Sam Hewitt?)

I would also recommend taking inspiration from the Arc GTK theme. It is arguably the most popular GTK theme at the moment. Transparent touches in window elements (and in the Nautilus sidebar) help emphasise the themes light, airy, and yet thoroughly modern appearance (from OMG Ubuntu)

Is there a need for mockups of parts of the UI? GDM, Nautilus, Activities Overview…


+1 for Arc. It can be really a great inspiration to modernize Ubuntu, as there is many elements that give some kind of a similar feeling (especially the spacing and the transparency), while being more “modern” !

TBH, I think that we could propose some prototype either as mock-up, either as a some slightly modified other theme (color swap, edt, etc) in order to discuss here ideas and possibilities. It could help discussing ideas, and having all together a reflexion about in what direction we want to go. :slight_smile: (but it’s just a proposition, because I think that we certainly have different ideas about how could look Ubuntu 18.04)


How about the United gnome theme?

Just reading it’s description it fills all the requirements.

"Based on a Ubuntu 18.04 design concept with some inspiration from Unity 8. "


Cool! I didn’t see this before. Thanks for making this!

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Hi! I’ve been a designer for about 17 years now and really into icon design…how can I contribute?

I really like the look of Ubuntu 17.10 + GNOME stock icons, but there’s clearly a lot of momentum here to make Ubuntu look less like macOS (gradients and realistic icons) and more like Android (flat colors and uniform icon shapes). Please keep usability in mind if Ubuntu really makes the jump from one style to the other.

Example: Ambiance makes it really clear which window has the focus – its title bar has a bright gradient, whereas background windows use a flat dark gray. I find it much harder to tell which window is focused with Arc and other flat themes.
The Suru icon theme and others also remind me of minimalist movie posters: They’re really subtle and clever if you know what you’re looking at, but I don’t think they’re self-explanatory enough for newcomers. For example, the calendar icon is a roundrect with a number, whereas GNOME’s icon is a lot more detailed. There’s also inherently more “distinctness” that icons can have when their shapes are wildly different, which makes it easier to scan a list of applications.

I don’t have any skills that I can offer, but if there’s something like a Patreon for Linux usability tests, I’d love to chip in.

Excellent idea to start from scratch. I think that Stefan Edward Kreenn with his precis analysis of the UI has a lot of good ideas to enhance the User eXperience of the new Ubuntu theme eventhougth his analysis is broader and just a simple theme enhancement(
If we mix that job with Roman Nguyen’s job ( adding the Suru icone theme we could get a good final result.


I have a good question about the icon theme.

Unity8 had a very cool thing where every icon had 1:1 aspect ratio and wasn’t transparent, just a full square icon and then that same icon would be cropped by the UI for example in the dash or dock or that app scope, the icons were cropped to be more rounded.

Could the same be achieved in Ubuntu gnome? I think that way icons would be much more flexible. We would have one square icon set but could possibly choose a different crop shape like: square with rounded corners, circle, pentagon etc.

Is this something that could be done in gtk? It would be much cooler then just a static icon theme and a new way of approaching icon set shapes, possibly a very strong UI/UX feature for Ubuntu :slight_smile:


That would be a really, REALLY cool feature…kinda like Android Oreo adaptive icons.

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Big fan of the paper / papirus icon sets, great icons with flat appearance, they are quite common in the linux world for good reason

I liked the idea of this theme: Ambiance & Radiance flat colors - I don’t think it’s the best looking theme out there just a good idea, to take ambiance as it currently is a not alter it all that much just make it flatter in effect.


Hey everyone. I’m the maintainer of the United theme that was based on Jovan Petrović’s 18.04 mockups. I’d love to help out with the effort. I can offer my time and CSS/SASS skills and help turn whatever mockups and ideas that come about into a working theme.


I’d be up for doing SASS/CSS, though the last time I contributed to anything Ubuntu related was theming

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Stefan Eduard Krenn, you are perfect in almost every way with your design.

Alas it isn’t a simple theme - would need a lot of programming work. But I love it!

I will play with some Extensions, I want to see how close I can get!

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Hi everyone! I’m glad to be able to be part of this!

I’m not a programmer, but I do have some ideas I would like to share with you. Maybe in due time, I will be able to contribute more. For now, my first thoughts:

I am, generally speaking, a fan of adjusting the ‘Ubuntu experience’ to become more of a vanilla GNOME experience. (See also my other posts.) I understand the need for a transition period with 17.10, but the sooner we can drop these adjustments, the better, to me. There is no need in telling you that I’m a fan of the vanilla GNOME workflow and looks.

Most important for me is 1) nice, modern and reinvigorated Ubuntu branding (with a slick new theme and icons) and 2) for Ubuntu to become the easiest LInux distribution to install, update, and install software in … just like in the pre-Unity period.

  • To me, the ideal default theme for 18.04 matches a non-gradient top bar, like the default GNOME top bar, which fits nicely with Adwaita’s light or dark top bars. If we go back to that, we won’t have to go to the trouble patching the top bar, and we’ll give users the ability to install more GNOME themes. I have tried to install United GNOME in Ubuntu Session, but the gradient top bar messes up the colours of the United GNOME Shell theme (both dark and light varients).

  • I am a fan of United GNOME, and we definitely need a theme with light and dark application possibilities, as well as light and dark variants to replace both Ambiance and Radiance. Why start from scratch? Is the developer willing to join and help?

  • As far as icons is concerned: I am all for the Suru Icon Theme. I like kazhnuz’s list of possibilities, and would like to add one. Is it an option to use the Adwaita Icon Set? … Maybe, just like the default Shell theme, adjust it to the Ubuntu branding colors?

I am really looking forward to see this community effort evolve and am willing to help out as best as I can. Thank you for taking my suggestions into consideration. (Some of them don’t belong in this particular forum, for which I apologize.)

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Charmander concept is beyond awesome, and the author of United Gnome theme does fantastic work, perhaps he should be contacted, he would probably love to contribute to the new Ubuntu theme. Theme I consider perfectly balanced is Arc Darker theme, Arc is too bright, Arc Dark is too dark which is why Arc Darker strikes a perfect balance and is both aesthetically pleasing and easy to look at. United Gnome has an excellent shell theme, but GTK themes are good, but lack the subtlety of the Arc Darker theme, but United Darker with more Ubuntu colored titlebars, not that black one, would look beautiful with a sprinkle of Charmander concept. Having a fully dark option would be good too as some users like fully dark themes.

Suru icons on Ubuntu Touch looked great and I believe Canonical should reuse a lot of them for the new theme. As for existing icon sets Numix Circle is beautiful, clean and very readable even by a casual glance. I dont like Papirus and similar icons, they lack the professional clean and easily readable look Numix icons have. Apple has great icons everywhere and that is something Ubuntu should strive for, professional looking, cleanly designed and easily readable icons. Most Linux icon packs are either too cluttered with design (too much stuffed on a single icon) so they are not easily readable by a casual glance, also often they choose colors poorly. Numix however does not suffer from these things for the most part and in my opinion is the best Linux icon theme overall, looks nice and professional and has high readability.

Users should not strain their eyes when they look at theme elements, colors and icons and should not spend any excess time “deciphering” icons they are looking at, they should be easily recognizable by a casual glance and easily remembered for their clean design which is why I personally consider United Gnome shell theme, Arc Darker GTK theme and Numix Circle icons the most professional and clean looking Linux theming I found. These plus Suru icons and Charmander concept would make for a fantastic new Ubuntu theme. Ubuntu should have a unique look and feel and new shell theme, GTK theme and icons would contribute heavily to that, lets make users marvel at the beauty of the next Ubuntu desktop :slight_smile: Something that will make Ubuntu desktop beautiful and instantly recognizable. I have zero skills in graphics so sadly I cant contribute with anything more than moral support and testing.