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Thread: Thoughts on Ubuntu brown and MS/Mac blue

  1. #1
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    Thoughts on Ubuntu brown and MS/Mac blue

    I've seen a few posts on the forum about the choice of Ubuntu to use a brown palette in the general theme of the gnome desktop. While I have no actual idea why this path was chosen, I suspect it may be due to a general trend in interface design that is moving away from the blue palette that Microsoft and Apple have been tweaking for almost twenty years now. Blue has been done to death -- and besides, it's a cold palette, and renders the desktop with a kind of formality and corporateness that's at odds with the personal nature of computing today.

    Brown (and shades edging up toward amber) and green (olive green in particular), are currently the leading edge of visual design. These colors are organic, relaxed, and accessible. Perhaps you've noticed that the default icon themes in applications like Thunderbird and Firefox are generous with sandy colors and browns, and stingy with blue. You can see the cutting edge of this type of design on the site of Jon Hicks , who was involved in the development of the Firefox/Thunderbird themes. (You can check out his icon designs for Thunderbird/Firefox here.

    Firefox and Thunderbird are two examples of leading edge design. Another example -- this time web design -- can be found at Dave Shea's, site (a palette of sand and red). Dave is the author of the new book "The Zen of CSS design."

    Both on the web and in all kinds of leading edge applications, brown and green are the new blues. (I use a green and amber palette on my own site.)

    Ubuntu is on the right track with their choice of palette. But a default palette is necessarily bland: it has to be simple and eye-candy-less, so that the average user is not going to be scared away. Hence the default chocolate wallpaper, and the Windows-like window controls (familiar to immigrants from the world of Microsoft, who comprise a large segment of new Ubuntu users). Many users will eventually be interested in tweaking their desktops, however. They will likely seek other, richer combinations of themes and hues.

    Here are a few options:

    Window Borders and Controls
    (Change by selecting Desktop/Preferences/Theme/Theme Details/Window Border)

    You know the function of the buttons at the top right of each window. You probably don't need each button to indicate its job. So why not use a more uniform set of window buttons that also matches the Ubuntu palette?

    Install the H2Oridium theme from here. It's simply a matter of downloading the archive, browsing with the theme manager ("Install theme") and clicking on the file. You may or not have to close and then re-open the theme manager to see H2Oridium as a choice under "Window Border". It comes with several flavors, but the one relevant to Ubuntu is H2oridium-Amber, which will give you nice amber buttons.

    Icons
    The best icons for the Ubuntu palette (in my view) are the suede icons, which have been updated and adapted for Ubuntu by Nikola ("Ubuntu Guru"..). You can find them here.

    Wallpaper
    If you're adventurous, the Buddha wallpaper posted by Jakeslife is great. It's available near the bottom on this page.
    If you're not quite so adventurous, look at the aesthetic wallpaper set created by Jose Rangel. You can find quite a few of Jose's wallpapers here. The "Ubuntu dance" wallpapers are excellent.

    Login Theme
    For a visually exceptional GDM theme, check out fabiand's Tobacco Sky.

    When you put all this together, you'll have a very organic and stylish desktop. Your friends on the Mac and in Windows fill feel envious (and maybe some of them will switch...)

  2. #2
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    Cool Re: Thoughts on Ubuntu brown and MS/Mac blue

    Nice little article and you do make a good point
    Thanks
    Best Regards
    Rick

    ..........................................
    HOW TO For People New to Ubuntu
    ..........................................
    Registered linux user #347059

  3. #3
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    Re: Thoughts on Ubuntu brown and MS/Mac blue

    Nice article.

    I have posted an example of my desktop as it stands now in another post. I like my wallpaper, as it fades into the background. I don't often see it. Somebody today saw my "home" wallpaper (I change my wallpaper to a less risque version when my laptop is brought into work) and it took me a few seconds to realise what they were talking about.

    I do have a highly coloured icon theme which is fairly easy on the eyes, but it is a little "window XP cartoon-ish" (the Ewegant icon theme). The icons should really be drawing my eye, hence the more colourful icon theme.

    My window borders are SlateNG which is XP-ish in it's design but dark so it doesn't really pull much attention to itself when I am working.

    My GDM theme is the "Ubuntu Circle of Friends" which I quite like and am not too worried about as it's something that's not often seen.

    I personally found the official browns of the Ubuntu default theme to be too brown for my tastes, too much pull on my eye. However, that's my personal opinion (my girlfriend's Ubuntu PC was set up by myself to resemble an XP box - talk about cartoon blue.) and everyone is entitled to thier own. The blues tend to fade into the background for me, and be less noticible.

    Ahhh... Linux where you are free to change the look of your desktop to go any way you want!

  4. #4
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    Re: Thoughts on Ubuntu brown and MS/Mac blue

    We considered all kinds of colours, but settled on brown as it was a rather 'earthy' kind of colour, and evoked all sorts of human imagery, which has obviously been consistent throughout the distribution (whether this is occasionally to its detriment or not is another matter ...).

    Blue is the traditional colour of 'thinking', and it's been done by Apple, IBM, Microsoft, and in fact, just about everyone. In the end, we decided to not go with the blue (good as the connotations are), and instead run with earthy colours that evoke human imagery.
    daniel dot stone at ubuntu dot com

  5. #5
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    Re: Thoughts on Ubuntu brown and MS/Mac blue

    great post and I agree
    while 'brown' is not what I do not like, the palette chosen is

    yes blue has been done by everyone under the sun but there's a good reason. everyone can deal with or likes blue, but that is not the case with brown

  6. #6
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    Re: Thoughts on Ubuntu brown and MS/Mac blue

    I forgot one thing: if you want to go all out, you can also install a matching cursor theme. The yellow dot cursor theme (available here), will do nicely.

  7. #7
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    Re: Thoughts on Ubuntu brown and MS/Mac blue

    There are good reasons for the brown, as stated above: it's neutral and calm.

    But as a novice user, I found the desktop colour to be a break in continuity with the strong graphic identity Ubuntu has built up. (see this thread in Chat)

    I think either the orange or the yellow from the Ubuntu logo would be better to greet new users.

  8. #8
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    Re: Thoughts on Ubuntu brown and MS/Mac blue

    =D>excellent post ross,

    i agree with your observations on enhncing ubuntu's interface, and i also think that the royalty-free image of the 3 people holding hands in a circle shoud be dissapeared from any future releases.

    i recently recieved some ubuntu CDs and while giving them out to friends and collegues, everyone agreed that this photo just doesn't cut it for an OS...it's like a CK ad for underwear..

  9. #9
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    Re: Thoughts on Ubuntu brown and MS/Mac blue

    Quote Originally Posted by fu.
    ..it's like a CK ad for underwear..
    True...
    but it nicely echoes the Ubuntu logo.
    It makes Ubuntu look accessible and friendly.

    Any chance of remaking it with more clothes on?

  10. #10
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    Re: Thoughts on Ubuntu brown and MS/Mac blue

    I couldn't agree more! I am so tired of seeing blue everywhere. Brown, yellow, orange, and especially green are growing on me. When I first installed Ubuntu, I was quite pleased with Human.
    $ whatis themeaningoflife
    themeaningoflife: not found

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