Difference between revisions of "Specs:UI Theme"

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(Designers, Developers)
(add some sources to 'see also')
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''Design guidelines etc.''
''Design guidelines etc.''
* Cooper et. al, About Face 3 - the essentials of interaction design, Wiley Publishing Inc.
* [https://developer.gnome.org/hig-book/ GNOME human interface guidelines]
* [https://github.com/gnome-design-team Git repository of the GNOME design team]
* [http://developer.android.com/design/style/iconography.html Android iconography and colors]
* [http://osxdaily.com/2012/04/20/change-photoshop-cs6-dark-interface-color-scheme-to-light/ OSXDaily article about various PS CS6 themes]
* [http://www.graphicall.org/themes/ Blender themes]
* [http://www.blendswap.com/category/blender-themes More Blender themes]
* [http://www.jesusda.com/files/symbolic-gimp.7z jEsuSdA 8)'s symbolic icon theme (dark)]
* [http://www.jesusda.com/files/symbolic-gimp_light.7z jEsuSdA 8)'s symbolic icon theme (light)]
* [https://git.gnome.org/browse/gimp?h=theme-wip Git branch in GIMPs repository]

Revision as of 06:46, 28 November 2013


The aim of this project is to equip GIMP with a professional, visually appealing UI theme.

Designers, Developers

Peter Sikking (interaction architect)

Jehan Pagés (developer)

Sven Claußner (developer)


Currently GIMP comes with two UI themes: 'Default' and 'Small'.

The Default UI theme uses the systems theming. This eases visual integration into the operating systems UI, but doesn't always match. The Small UI theme is basically the same, but uses smaller icons.

The current situation has the following drawbacks:

  • Both themes look plain and have come to ages. Some people might find it not appealing.
  • The colored theme itself competes with the image under work for the users attention.
  • Users with High-DPI-displays (such as Apple's Retina display) complain, that the UI has become to small to be recognizeable. This hampers their workflow.

There already were some attempts to equip GIMP with other UI themes. Many of them use a dark theme or a different icon set. Jakub Steiner and Barbara Muraus designed Artlibre, an icon set for creative applications in GNOME. The artist jEsuSdA 8) and Jehan Pagès continued the idea, added missing icons and fixed bugs. Another icon theme by Andrew Pullins can be found at DeviantArt. Partha Bagchis build for OS X comes with a dark Clearlooks derivative.


- this project is a subgoal to achieve the product vision.

- target users are artists, who work with GIMP all day.

- designed to support artists in getting their work done quickly.

- unobtrusive, not distracting

- preserving the images appearance (e.g. neutral colors).

- suitable for modern displays, i.e. HiDPI displays (Retina display etc.)

- visually appealing

- timeless

- easily maintainable

- due to restrictions of the current theme engines (i.e. the WIMP engine on Windows does not support theme modifications) a theme engine needs to run on all target platforms (Windows, OS X, Linux)

- It's no aim to supersede the current GIMP themes 'Default' and 'Small'. They shall reside as 'System' themes to make the GIMP UI matching to the systems appearance, if the user wishes so.

- PS may be a source of inspiration among others, but the projects aim is not to clone PS.




Planning, Current State

Proposed steps:

  1. Clarify objectives and requirements (=current step)
  2. Brainstorming, collect relevant art, coarse design
  3. Evaluate results
  4. Decide for reusing an existing solution, modifying an existing solution or doing all the work ourselves
  5. Implement and test
  6. Merge into GIMP master
  7. Add and merge documentation

Relevant Art

Relevant screenshots etc. for inspiration


Pro's and Con's of existing solutions

Analysis, Design Drafts, Design Decisions


Comments, ideas, unstructured notes

The focus of the work should be a supportive, useful product. We should abstain ourselves from cute, fancy ideas and challenges that are a headache for graphic designers.

See also

Design guidelines etc.

  • Cooper et. al, About Face 3 - the essentials of interaction design, Wiley Publishing Inc.