Gnome’s default icon set has received attention and renewal in the last versions, to a point that it no longer looks old and obsolete but still there is no need to stick with it forever and ever until the end of times, especially when you are using a desktop environment that is fully customizable and allows the easy alternation of elements such as icons, GTK and GS themes that can completely change the way your system looks.
From the many available alternative icon sets that you may find in the internet, Hi-Lights is one of the richest and nicest. Version 6.0 has been released a few hours ago bringing completely new icons Mimetypes, updated icons Places, as well as a number of additions and corrections (200 new icons, 600 updated). The set currently counts a total of 10,495 icons!
There are no weird or vague icon designs and you will have no problem identifying your favorite tools and applications. The set feels “hi-tech” and looks good combined with many themes in this context. Also, because of the icon plethora, you will find that many applications will use a higher (correct) resolution that was not available before.
To install the icons in your system, simply unzip the contents of the downloaded file under the .icons folder found inside your home directory. Note that the folder is hidden so first make sure that Nautilus shows hidden files and folders by pressing Ctrl+H. If the folder does not exist, create it yourself.