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High resolution icons are coming soon for Gnome!

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.


Design Guidelines

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.

Current state

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 mypaint pidgin pitivi swell-foop


Chess, Darktable, Gnome Logs, Gnome Weather, My Paint, Pidgin, Pitivi and Swell Foop

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  • Marcos V.F.

    The folders icons is the major problem of Gnome icon set…hopes Gnome fix it.

    • CameronN

      Looks like something out of the 00s. FFS, change the color or //something//.

  • Michael Mistretta

    Seems like most icon sets are going for the flat/square look these days.. Ugh. I am glad they opted to make real icons, they look great.

  • Rajesh KSV

    These are beautifullllll! Icons are the only things which I changed after installing 3.10. Remaining all are awesome , so i left them unchanged. With this, I dont think I need to change icons as well in 3.12 :)

  • Roberto

    Why not using directly SVG icons?

    • IsacDaavid

      Because one SVG can’t fit all sizes. Even tough vector graphics scale without quality loss, they can’t magically add or remove detail to big and small icons respectively. If you make one huge SVG icon with lots of detail it will look unintelligible and bloated when zoomed out (i.e. 16×16 icons on contextual menus).

    • Otto Swanstaiger

      The reason is explained in the third paragraph of the article.

  • Eduard Gotwig

    I wonder why you show us third party icons^^ +1 for folder icons… and GNOME Apps like Gnome Maps, etc.!

  • Dima Skvarskyi

    Good but camera icon need more sceomorphic (volume?) on lens, now it looks flat
    And new folder icon
    If you give me mail i can send some purposes

  • lnxslck