In a session held at the Virtual Ubuntu Developer Summit (vUDS) on Thursday, 21st November, Matthieu James – who long time readers will recall was hired by Canonical specifically to revamp the icon set – presented findings, concepts and plans for the new look of Ubuntu’s touch and desktop faces. Ubuntu’s last major overhaul of visual assets occurred during the 10.04 LTS cycle, though a handful of new icons have appeared in the last few releases of the desktop OS.
Canonical's been working for years to turn Ubuntu into a universal OS for whatever sized screen you use, be it of the television, desktop or mobile variety. Recently, the company showed off the next step in this evolution: unified icon designs for mobile and desktop Ubuntu implementations.
The overarching aim of the designs is to add coherence, personality and ownership to icon designs. Research conducted by Canonical showed that users tend to view certain applications as ‘theirs’, and others as ‘part of the system’. Splintered into degrees, the findings based on this ‘proximity’ logic has informed the approach to design., System tiles and memes use more austere, less-colorful and monochromatic iconography, while media apps, browsers and folders sport more colourful, personable designs.