Some interesting Ubuntu themes and icons

Updated: August 14, 2017

Sorry. I should probably say icons and themes that are most likely suitable for the wider range of Ubuntu siblings and other kin, including all and any GTK-based desktop, and that covers Gnome 3 in general and even Cinnamon. But the thing is, I've done some extra decorative work in Ubuntu lately, including some essential pimping and thoroughly testing the super-awesome Macbuntu transformation pack for the third time, with rather good results, that is, so I'm in the mood for some more fun.

Today, I will show you a few more themes and icon packs that I've put through my aesthetic grinder, and which ended up gracing my box. Which means you may not find them tasteful enough. Or you may go, what about XYZ? Well, I cant possibly cover all of them, and some refused to install, some installed but did nothing, others yet were not suitable enough for this article. But let us proceed.


Selection choice

Now, the themes shown here all fall into the following category, or rather a bucket: they are easy to find online, they are very easy to download and setup, they load without errors or glaring visual glitches, they are subjectively nice, they are ergonomic.

In a little more detail, I only used themes that did not require half a dozen steps just to grab the ZIP archive. If there's a repo, even better, as this allows for updates. The themes must look presentable - no ugly overlaps or such. And they must be designed for prolonged use, meaning little to no gradients, light themes, good, crisp font size, type and color, and reasonable spacing between elements.


You will see several themes here originating from Noobslab, because these folks do a pretty decent job arranging, cataloging and developing themes and icons. Vimix is one such choice. It looks and feels a bit Android-Material, but it's usable enough in Ubuntu without looking overly abstract. Clean and readable. Fun and productive. Moka + Faba icons, as my default and preferred set. Anyhow, Vimix, to obtain:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:noobslab/themes
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install vimix-gtk-themes



Vimix, system settings 1

Vimix, system settings 2

Windos 10

Notice the spelling - it's NOT a typo. This is another theme I installed from the Noobslab PPA. If you're wondering, these are the guys behind the Macbuntu project, unless I'm somehow horribly mistaken. Now, if you want your Ubuntu to look like Windows 10 for some reason, there's a theme that can satisfy your need. Strangely, the dark theme completely fails to do so, even though Windows 10 comes with a dark panel and menu, but all the windows are actually light-colored. Here though, everything is just too dark. Luckily, the light version of this theme is very decent. Aforementioned noobslab repo.

sudo apt-get install windos-10-themes

Windos 10 theme

Of course, mixin' it is all the fun, so I started making all sorts of cool combos. I kept the Launcher in a horizontal orientation, as I've outlined in my Ubuntu tweaking guide, and only focused on the decorations, including themes, icons and wallpapers.

Radiance theme + Macbuntu icons

A touch of classique Ubuntu in its light-colored scheme with Mac OSX like icons from the Macbuntu pack. Works pretty well, I must admit. Macbuntu stuff is available in the noobslab repo, as well.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:noobslab/macbuntu

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install macbuntu-os-icons-lts-v8
sudo apt-get install macbuntu-os-themes-lts-v8

Radiance + Macbuntu

Vimix theme + Flat Remix icons

You may also find the Flat Remix icons referred to as Super Flat, too. Download, extract the archive, copy the contents into your .icons directory, and start enjoying the end result. The two flat themes complement each other well, even though Super Flat does not have the neat same-size order like Moka.

Vimix + Flat Remix 1

Vimix + Flat Remix 2

Arc theme + Numix icons

Numix is no stranger to Dedoimedo. This is another lovely icon set, and we used it to pimp CentOS Xfce and MATE versions to a higher level of glory. Arc is a theme that works well with this icon set, offering a somewhat rounded feel. Not the perfectest of them all, but definitely usable.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:noobslab/themes
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install arc-theme

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:numix/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install numix-icon-theme-circle

Arc + Numix 1

Arc + Numix 2

Arc + Numix 3

Ambiance theme + Uniform icons

We go back to basics, plus a crazy, pseudo-round icon theme that is like trippy Numix. Very nice, and sure makes the desktop more interesting. But then, this is just the first step of what we can achieve here.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:noobslab/icons2
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install uniform-icons

Ambiance + Uniform 1

Ambiance +Uniform 2

Vimix theme + Uniform icons

If you're not keen on OCD-friendly geometric precision, then this is the best result overall. Very fun, very upbeat, colorful. It gives Ubuntu a fresh edge, and it also looks great. You get a mix of flatness with abstract quirkiness. Let us bleed some bandwidth with lovely screenshots:

Vimix + Uniform 1

Vimix + Uniform 2

Vimix + Uniform 3

Vimix + Uniform 4


Of course, Macbuntu itself, theme plus icons.

Plank dock

What did not work

Now, for some odd reason, I was not able to use the Breeze GTK theme, at all. This is quite strange, as I've had some pretty good fun with this particular option in Fedora, and I even used it as a baseline for my theme editing tutorial. I went on and installed several package dependencies, but nothing really helped. For whatever reason, this theme remains incompatible with my games on Yakkety Yak.

GTK engines

sudo apt-get install gtk2-engines-pixbuf gtk3-engines-breeze

The Flat Remix (or Super Flat) theme did not work, either.

More time wasting

If you're keen on reading some extra customization articles:

Fedora pimping guides one and two (also touches the aspect of themes and icons)

Gnome 3 accessibility guide & Gnome pimping article


Well, I guess there isn't much to say. If you like the stock looks, ignore this article. If you find the defaults not colorful or fun enough, or you just plain like tweaking, then you might want to consider some of the stuff I've outlined here. My taste is subjective, of course, but then, I aim for simple, clean designs and pleasing art work.

Overall, you have a plenty of good options here. More icons than themes. Vimix or Arc seem like neat choices for the latter, and among the sea of icons, Moka, Numix and Uniform seem to do a great job. And of course, Macbuntu. I wish there were more monochrome or accented icons, but that's something I still haven't found. Anyhow, I hope you like this silly little piece. If you have suggestions, please send them, just remember my aesthetics criteria - simplicity of installation, clean lines, no gradients, no bugs. That would be all for today, fellas.


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