Gnome’s default icon set is one of those things that still hasn’t reached the stage of being completely coherent with the rest of the environment, and match the design guidelines set for our pleasure and convenience. Thankfully, it seems that the usual suspect in this sector Jacub Steiner, is actively designing new high resolution icons to be used in upcoming versions of Gnome and the Software, and will look good on the soon-to-be-supported high definition displays.
With the process of creating a high definition icon for all Gnome’s applications and tools being an official goal now, we can safely talk about what users should expect and what developers of non-Gnome apps should keep in mind when designing icons.
Because application icons are presented at larger sizes in tools like the Software and in some cases like the application overview (also depending on the theme used), legacy Tango styled 48x48px or SVG icons no longer suffice as they lack detail. It is essential that your application has a 256x256px size. With the advent of hidpi displays, it doesn’t hurt to include a 512x512px variant as well.
Example of Gnome Photos icon
As for the perspective, most icons can be executed best by using the “on the table” perspective, as if the observer was standing in front of the object and looking slightly down on it. Many icons can be rendered with a simple “straight on” or “on the shelf” perspective, with the observer looking directly at the object.
The colors that one can use are not fixed, but it is recommended to use tango color palette as the shades are easy on the eyes and come pre-installed in all Libre graphics packages. For more detailed information visit the icon design guidelines.
Our hopes are always high, but truth is that things are not done as fast as we would like them to when it comes to Gnome development so I can’t predict anything. Hopefully though, we will have many high resolution icons ready and available in Gnome 3.12, but currently you can only get a sweet taste from some game and tool icons that are completed. Click the following icons for larger image:
Chess, Darktable, Gnome Logs, Gnome Weather, My Paint, Pidgin, Pitivi and Swell Foop