Icons and ui design

hi there. i just wanted to offer my help with regard to … icons and ui design.

unfortunately, i don’t know Rust, and i fear i won’t learn it in the near future. i know some basic Java programming, and i’m learning some JS right now. (which might come handy for ui prototyping).

i did these icons (all svgs here) a few years ago. but i consider redoing them completely monochromatic, more glyphs then icons, so they can used in any color on any background (potentially looking slightly Windows Modern-ish, but about 20% cooler). so if you are interested i’ll hopefully get off my ass and redo the icons, and makes some icons you ask me to do.

i realize that it’s a bit early for all that, i just took a look into OrbTK and… vector fonts aren’t there yet, right? but i already looks much better then many other young operating systems, and i would like to contribute to that. :slight_smile:

also i want to say that is is pretty amazing to see how fast this project is progressing. just saying.


Absolutely we need UI support!

Currently, the icons we use were borrowed from KDE. I would love to have a new start icon, file manager icon, terminal icon, etc!

We don’t have support for images other than bitmaps, most icons are 32x32. Take a look at filesystem/ui/ and you will see what we have.



i’m sorry for not replying earlier. i tried to run redox in VirtualBox and Hyper-V on two differet machies respectively and i weren’t able to run Redox in there. and i don’t know where else to find the icons you need. there are of course some icons in the screenshots that i can try to replace. but sometimes i can’t quite figure out what they represent. (like this silver database cylinder thing, it that the file manager?)

i started a git repository for the new icons i have so far, inluding 32*32 px png versions. i’m not so happy with the icons for Ion and Sodium quite yet. i’m not sure how generic or brand-ish they should look. perhaps the Ion shell is a “classical” shell, but a vi-like editor isn’t what most people would expect an editor to be…

furthermore i was thinking of having some simple shape as a basis for application icons. this is a experimental idea, of course they should still be easy to differenciate. but the current application icons both have a square base shape and that’s kinda unsatisfactory. a lot of icons will probably be a colection of objects held together by something and that’s where i expect this shape to become handy. i have a shape on my mind already but if someone has a idea i’d like to hear it first…

i forgot to link the repository, sorry.

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Thanks :smiley:
Here is a screenshot with some of your icons:

I like the icon for Ion, but a problem is that the S in this icon could make people think that it is the icon for Sodium.


glad you like them :slight_smile:
i guess the icons would look a bit better on a plain black background…

i have made some updates, a handful of application icons, basically.

and yes, i’m sceptical of the idea of having all application icons of the same color and basic shape as well. on the other hand, it may reduce visual noise. anyway, it’s an experiment that i’m willing to give up as soon as i don’t like it anymore. :grin:

can i ask what icon #4 (in the screenshot) represents? settings maybe? #6 is probaby a audio player… the rest seems clear…

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I’d like to point out that there is a FreeDesktop.org specifications for icon set format that also specifies the pseudocode for icon lookup. Implementing that would let you use every freely-licensed icon theme ever created.

I believe using a pre-existing icon theme designed by professionals is a better idea than making your own. First, do you really believe that you’ll do a better job at it than highly skilled professional designers who have spent literally years doing nothing but their respective icon themes? Judging by the fact that the icons shown above do not even stand out from the toolbar and because of that are not recognizable as interactive elements, I very much doubt that.

But even ignoring that, making a custom icon theme is little benefit for a hell of a lot of time invested. Making a complete icon theme is hard work and takes literally years, as well as hell of a lot of expertise. You know how many unique icons “elementary” icon theme has? 2976. That’s almost 500 unique designs in 6 sizes (and before you ask, no, scaling an already designed icon is not easy). And that’s actually the bare minimum for a fully functional desktop; Ubuntu icon set forked from elementary long ago, or Xubuntu icon set forked from elementary not so long ago are even larger.

TL;DR: “an obvious icon theme that’s not ugly” is an already solved problem - see KDE icons, elementary icons, etc. Redox needs hell of a lot of things done specifically for it from scratch, but an icon theme is not one of them.

For reference, we are currently using the 32x32 oxygen icon set from KDE: https://github.com/redox-os/redox/tree/master/filesystem/ui

That said, there may be work to do on branded icons to extend the chosen icon theme. For example, KDE-branded start button may not be appropriate in Redox, so it would be nice to replace it with something Redox-branded. Like replace the K in a gear with R in a circle… you get the idea :wink:

Such icons have to match the style of the rest of the icon theme, which is sometimes harder than making icons from scratch. Fortunately, KDE should have some kind of icon design guidelines; I know elementary has because I’ve contributed a number of icons to that theme.

Don’t go overboard with branding applications though. A terminal is a terminal; the fact that it’s called “terminator” or whatever or opens a shell called “ion” is irrelevant to the GUI user.

I trust @sofias will be glad to handle that, but if not, feel free to contact me and I’ll see what I can do.

hello again.

yeah, maybe i was a bit overambitious with offering to provide icons for a whole operating system. i like the things that i made so far, and the whole glyph-idea. but you relying on me would be bad for your project and my nerves.

i didn’t do any work on the icons for about 2 weeks now and i really shouldn’t promise anything.

the duochrome icon set has about 60 icons, most of them for rather generic use.

but regarding kde icons, the “breeze” ones of kde 5 look pretty great. one can get them here and probably also somewhere in the depths of the kde website.

They look nice, certainly better than anything I would make, but I like just black/white icons more. That doesn’t mean these are bad, just not my style. Keep making!

May I suggest you have a look at that: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haiku_Vector_Icon_Format

I think it’s a way better alternative to pixel based icons.

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Cooleo. :slight_smile:

I agree. Vectors fot days. None of that raster kek.

GNOME icons have been developed in pure vector format, SVG, for a long time. What’s more, “elementary” icon theme and its “Humanity” fork used in Ubuntu are also vector (SVG) and are in fact rendered from SVG at runtime.

Adapting (e.g. mildly rebranding) some icons for Redox would be way simpler if the original icons were in SVG or other vector format, and I find them easier to work with in general. However, JIT rendering from SVG doesn’t sound like a good idea for Redox.

If there’s a way of doing so without making it look antiquated in the first place, I’d definitely support monochrome icons, as trends in color tend to change, and I suspect monochrome is slightly less likely to suffer from this. In fact, making the whole default GUI greyscale (perhaps a la CrunchBang?) would probably be worth a try.

Just shoving my opinion in here, i think the elementary os icons look quite nice.

Hi all,

Though I’m newbie here, I’m following the project for quite some time. Since work on updating Redox UI has already started according to the latest release, I’d like to add my 2 cents regarding it. Personally for me Redox is already attractive from technical side, but the UI leaves much to be deserved. If you want to attract more attention to the OS you need to make the UI tempting for average Joe. I propose to search for inspiration in Papyros: http://papyros.io. Key advantages:

  • Material Design is modern and backed by a major company
  • It’s used in Android so there are a lot of designers who are already familiar with it and the guidelines and may help your project in the future. And thanks to Android average user is already familiar with it as well so he/she won’t be afraid of trying Redox.
  • The UI elements in Papyros are large enough so as soon as Redox starts supporting touch screens, the UI will be already touch-friendly

Here are several quick links just to show what Papyros designers tried to achieve: http://news.softpedia.com/news/material-design-inspired-linux-distro-papyros-looks-amazing-gallery-499232.shtml & https://youtube.com/watch?v=7xH26aGqHDM

Since Papyros project seems to be dead I’d like Redox to inherit its UI concept and improve on top of it.

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I wholeheartedly agree. I suggested the same thing here:

And learning from the prior art in Papyros could indeed be a major time saver.

While I think adopting the Material design by default would be a great move for Redox, it’s obviously not an easy decision to make. Just using the free Material icon set would be a big step up from the KDE icons that we’ve been looking at since the 90s.

You get:

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What about GNOME-like icons? Looks so good and clear.