Light: the new look of Ubuntu

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Jono Bacon, Alan Pope, and many others have written, yesterday we published a new visual story and style for Ubuntu. The core design work was lead by Marcus Haslam, Otto Greenslade and Dominic Edmunds, who are the three visual artists leading our efforts in the Canonical Design team. Once we had the base ideas in place we invited some anchor members of the Ubuntu Art community to a design sprint, to test that the concept had the legs to work with the full range of forums, websites, derivatives and other pieces of this huge and wonderful project. And apparently, it does!

Here are some additional thoughts.

Embracing both Ubuntu and Canonical

One of the real challenges for us has been to find a branding and design strategy which spans the spectrum of audiences, forums and dialogues that we cover.  With Ubuntu, it’s my specific dream to find a constructive blend of commercial and community interests, not only for Canonical but for other companies. That has made our design and branding work difficult – the distinctive look of Ubuntu lent itself well to pure community messaging, but it was hard to do a brochure for Canonical data center services for Ubuntu on servers. We have not only Ubuntu, but also Kubuntu and an important range of derivatives that all have a role in our ecosystem.

So we spent a lot of time trying to distill the requirements down into a set of three dimensions:

Dimensions for our visual language

We found a set of ideas which each represent those spectrums, and which work together.

For example, we identified a palette which includes both a fresh, lively Orange, and a rich, mature Aubergine, which work together. The use of Aubergine indicates Commercial involvement of one form or another, while Orange is a signal of community engagement. The Forums will use the Orange elements more strongly, and a formal product brochure, with descriptions of supporting services, would use more of the Aubergine.

On the consumer/enterprise spectrum, we took inspiration from the aerospace industry, and identified a texture of closely spaced dots. When you see more of that, it means we’re signalling that the story is more about the enterprise, less of that, and it’s more about the consumer. Of course, there are cross-overs, for example when we are talking about the corporate desktop, where we’ll use that closely space dot texture as a boundary area, or separator. We also identified shades of Aubergine that are more consumer, or more enterprise – the darker shades mapping to a stronger emphasis on enterprise work.

And on the end-user / engineer spectrum, we took inspiration from graph paper and engineering blue prints. When you see widely spaced patterns of dots, or outline images and figures, that’s signalling that the content is more engineering-oriented than end-user oriented.

And finally, we found a number of themes which enhanced and echoed those ideas. We use a warm gray supporting colour to give shape to pages and documents, and we built on the dots and circles to create a whole style for figures, illustrations and pictograms.

The beauty of this is that we can now publish content that spans the full range, and we generally know when we start the design process what sorts of visual cues we want to be signalling. Instead of having these different mental domains fight with one another, we can now convey quite subtle collaboration between community and corporate, or work which is aimed at engineers and developers from enterprises as opposed to developers working with consumers. Time will tell how it shapes up, but for now I’m celebrating the milestone and the efforts of the team that pulled it together. There’s something there for everyone who wants to participate in the great hubbub of Ubuntuness that is our shared experience of free software.

So, for example, here’s a conference banner. The strong use of Aubergine suggests that it’s more corporate messaging (Canonical is heavily involved). Orange is used here more as a highlight. The Aubergine is darker, and there’s quite a lot of the fine dot pattern. Below the image is a set of scales showing where on those spectra this work is pitched.

Cloud Banner

As another example, here’s a brochure with an emphasis on end-users who are thinking about adopting Ubuntu’s cloud infrastructure. Again, the fine dot patterns suggests a more enterprise focus, as does the use of the dark aubergine. You can see the circle metaphor used in the quote callout.

And here’s a similar brochure, but with a more developer or engineering oriented focus: note the use of the graph-paper theme with wide spaced dots, and outline shapes.

Finally, here’s an example of a brochure and CD cover for Ubuntu:

As you can see the idea is to signal a mix of both community and Canonical involvement in the message, addressing consumer audiences with a mix of developers and end-users.

A new Ubuntu font

We have commissioned a new font to be developed both for the logo’s of Ubuntu and Canonical, and for use in the interface. The font will be called Ubuntu, and will be a modern humanist font that is optimised for screen legibility. It will be published under an open font license, and considered part of the trade dress of Ubuntu, which will limit its relevance for software interfaces outside of Ubuntu but leave it free for use across the web and in printed documents.

It will take a few months for the font to be finalised, initial elements will be final in the next week which will be sufficient for the logo and other bits and pieces, but I expect to see that font widely used in 10.10. The work has been commissioned from world-renowned fontographers Dalton Maag, who have expressed excitement at the opportunity to publish an open font and also a font that they know will be used daily by millions of people.

Initial coverage will be Western, Arabic, Hebrew and Cyrillic character sets, but over time we may be able to extend that to being a full Unicode font, with great kerning and hinting for print and screen usage globally.  We are considering an internship program, to support aspiring fontographers from all corners of the world to visit London and work with Dalton Maag to extend the font to their own regional glyph set.

The critical test of the font is screen efficiency and legibility, and its character and personality are secondary to its fitness for that purpose. Nevertheless, our hope is that the font has a look that is elegant and expresses the full set of values for both Canonical and Ubuntu: adroitness, accountability, precision, reliability, freedom and collaboration. We’ll publish more as soon as we have it.

A good start

It’s been an exciting process, but I have the sense that we are just getting started. The language will get richer, we will find new things that we want to communicate, and new treatments and visual themes that resonate well with these starting points. We’ll find new ways to integrate this on the web, and on the desktop (look out for the two new themes, Radiance and Ambiance).  I hope we’ll see the language being used to good effect across everything we do, both commercial and community oriented. There’s a range of expression here that should be useful to artists across the spectrum. Let me know how it works for you.

178 Responses to “Light: the new look of Ubuntu”

  1. shermann Says:

    Dear Mark,

    your idea to make “Ubuntu” (and of course Canonical) something outstanding regarding the OpenSource Environment was the only thing someone with a bit of “opportunity” could do.
    This was something I saw the very first time when Oliver got me into that “Ubuntu” thing.

    Visions, Ideas, New Ways of Doing, that was what I was missing when I dealt with other distributors. “Ubuntu” and of course the “paid developers of Canonical” but showed exactly that.

    Thanks to you, we have this “New FLOSS Feeling”. Yes, some people don’t like this new way, but others, including me, appreciate what you, your team, Jane Silber etc. are doing for the community and for the customers.

    When I see your mockups of the Canonical Flyers or the new design of the CD Covers, I’m really happy to see that “Ubuntu” (and of course Canonical) are changing towards the real opportunity: Business! Going away from the “Linux is just for nerds” thinking.

    Now we can stand up to MS or Apple, another step to fix bug #1.

    As I told Kenneth this morning on IRC…it’s great work, and kudos to everybody involved.

    Keep up the good work, hopefully I’m able to attend UDS and buy you a beer for giving me the opportunity to push “Ubuntu” and “Linux” into companies, which weren’t even thinking about Linux today.

    Kind regards,


  2. rolando Says:

    Well, I love the new UBUNTU STYLE, I don’t know why so noise,

    Thanks to all Ubuntu community and to Canonical work!

    Good JOB! thanks Mark

  3. Peter Says:

    Mark, what about a new Kubuntu logo, will there be one?

  4. Anon Says:

    WordPress is up to 2.9.2 now, you’re running 2.9.1.

    Just sayin`

    Also, I love the visual refresh, people have been bitching about the ugly orange/brown themes for years…it’s about time :)

  5. Guillaume Says:

    Modern and sober, that new look is awesome.

  6. Luís Says:

    Will Kubuntu have the same support from Canonical? Kde is far better than gnome, and yet, their potential is not being exploited.

  7. mw88 Says:

    Nice too see that there is finally a (visible) progress in the design area.

    The branding looks much more professional than before but I have concerns regarding the new desktop design:
    In the screenshots, that where released yesterday the window buttons where moved to the left and the bottom panel was removed.
    I’m not shure if this was just a customization of the person who took the screenshots or the new default layout.

    This would be quite a big step for a release and maby it’s too big for an LTS-release.
    We’ll see if people like it or switch themes soon.

    Anyway, I highly appreciate the work that you and your team have done over the years, this design will definately make a lot of people happy (me included)!


  8. Tom MacWright Says:

    Just a note – compatability is spelled compatibility

  9. wojtazy Says:

    Mark, congratulations on the new look! It really refreshes the system appearance and I am looking forward to using it :)

  10. Artir Says:

    Great to see how the new branding elements in action. Now that aubergine and orange mix makes a bit more sense.
    The font is -amazing-, the web design is also stunning and the wallpaper is.. OK. The only part of the new brand that doesn’t compare to these elements is the actual GTK theme. It’s better than Human, but, for example, not as great as Dust, Humancity or MacOSX’s .

    Anyway, this is a big leap in the right direction.
    Thanks for this, and keep up the good job.

  11. sambatyon Says:

    Well, this is really exiting. I’ve been using Ubuntu for a long time and each new version is a new milestone in many fields. Now I am really happy to know the usability and the UI are having the place they deserve.

  12. Dylan McCall Says:

    This new branding is all really exciting!

    I’m curious about the new font. I had assumed it was just for the various logos (which are beautiful, by the way). However, there is clearly a lot of effort going into it from many different directions.

    Do you have any hints for where else that font will be used?

    Thanks, Mark :)

  13. Richard Querin Says:

    It’s nice to see more attention be paid to audience in the design work. I am still of the opinion that trying to serve many masters (ie. your three spectrums) can weaken a design. After reviewing the materials so far, (and most notably the things on this post), it appears the business end of things will be served quite well by the change. Truthfully, I’m not as hopeful about the community end.

    On a related note, I’m surprised by Ubuntu’s reluctance to commit to a specific audience. I mean it was ‘for human beings’ – which is nowhere close to specific. But with the new theme being ‘Light’ we’ve lost even that concreteness of concept. Who is Ubuntu aimed at specifically? Committing to a specific audience carries a hefty amount of risk, but with risk comes reward. The constraints that come with it would undoubtedly make your design work more effective and efficient. Of course you stand to risk alienating those not part of the intended audience, but if you approach design with the constant fear of alienating someone, your design will undoubtedly be weaker for it. Please, define the audience, perhaps I just haven’t been listening hard enough.

  14. Vadim P. Says:

    Excited to see new development.

  15. Thorsten Reinbold Says:

    Many, many thanks. This is really awesome. Congratulations to all the Developers that worked on this. I’m excited to see this live.

  16. Keith Hudgins Says:

    I’m curious – as an ubuntu user and system administrator, was there a conscious decision to ‘mainstream’ the new branding? The new look is visually appealing, but it’s not all that different from Apple’s design styling – open space, modern, sans-serif fonts, and a general ‘hi tech’ feel. Was this done deliberately to place the Ubuntu image in line with similar OS offerings?


  17. Leonardo Barros - RIo de janeiro Says:

    Fico feliz com as mudanças. Vejo que a minha distribuição Linux está andando para o melhor caminho para adoção de novos usuários e consolidação de uma marca forte.
    Ter uma identidade no Ubuntu. Ser diferente e bonita. Gostei da idéia e isso me anima muito.
    Aqui no Brasil tenho muito colegas que usam o Ubuntu e estamos muito contentes com a notícia.
    I am happy with the changes. I see that my Linux distribution is walking the best way for adoption of new users and consolidation of a strong brand.
    Having an identity in Ubuntu. Being different and beautiful. I liked the idea and it excites me a lot.
    Here in Brazil have a lot of friends who use Ubuntu and are delighted with the news.

    Written in Portuguese to show how much we Brazilians are happy with the change

  18. Paul Kishimoto Says:

    The multi-axis approach is a great thought device in general, and really clarifies the logic behind the refresh.

    As ‘Artir’ suggests, the one part of the new branding that seems to be lagging out of the gate is the GTK theming.

    There are some really keen design minds floating around the community, and importantly, some of them belong people who are willing to talk about details of implementation (e.g. rather than use Scary Change as an excuse to for bikeshedding.

    I hope some of these will be canvassed so that a few quick iterations of the themes can take place before everything’s frozen for Lucid. Of course that wouldn’t result in perfection, but it could sand off some of the rough edges.

  19. Coppertop Says:

    This is amazing. I really like the philosophy behind the colors and motives. It should work well and I definitely like the new colors — they say what they’re supposed to say and they stand out, which is all good. The font and the dots pattern are great as well. All the new branding gives Ubuntu a more professional, corporate look while still retaining the warmth and approachability. It’s clean yet not cold. Good job!

    The wallpaper is IMHO not very meaningful (even though the concept of “light” is very present in it), but it’s well made, has the colors and it’s easy on the eyes — that’s much more important than anything else as far as this part of the desktop goes.

    My main concern is the themes, though… I’m not going to go into the discussions of the look itself, because that’s completely subjective and leads nowhere. However, my main concerns are as follows:

    First of all, there is some great work going on to make Nautilus less cluttered and I think this subject needs desperate attention. It just looks like a brick now.

    More importantly, I cannot understand why the new themes don’t have… the new colors. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t see any aubergine in either of them (except the hint bubble, I guess, but that’s next to nothing), and orange — if it’s there at all — is of completely different tone. Also, there seems to be far too many colors and tones there in general — it looks like someone couldn’t make their mind — while the palette should be kept small to keep things clean. And where are the dots? I think they’re just screaming “put me somewhere”, like on the scroll bars or in place of the window buttons (e.g. four dots per button and the actual symbol showing on mouse hover) or something like that. Additionally, while the new branding looks far sharper than the previous schemes, the Gnome themes and decorations… don’t. Everything is round, there are (too obvious) gradients etc.

    So while the question of whether someone likes the new Gnome themes is subjective and secondary, they seem painfully inconsistent with the rest of the new branding. They look like they came from a different, completely unrelated art team meeting.

  20. Denis Says:

    It’s nice to see the entire look and image being reconsidered.

    I find it particularly interesting that you have found a way to reconcile community with commerce. If these colors and patterns are used consequently, it can be a strong way to communicate visually. If people see a Ubuntu document, they could have correct expectations just by looking at the styling.

    The aubergine, orange and white work remarkably well together. I do think that some more experience can lead to even better desktop themes and styles. Hopefully this theming gets the chance to mature.

    Will this new style also affect Kubuntu (and Xubuntu)? I think the best option would be to have the same theming in all Ubuntu variants.

    Good luck with the Ubuntu font! I’m looking forward to seeing this fresh new look in future Ubuntu releases…

  21. Evgeny Kuznetsov Says:

    Ubuntu has several thousands functionality-related bugs that are not fixed, both software- and hardware-related, yet Canonical and Community spend a huge amount of time and effort to make things more pleasant for eyes. Isn’t it unwise?

    Actually, it isn’t. Wasting time and efforts on restyling and visual appearance rather than engineering and bugfixing is exactly the way Microsoft has gone with Windows, and the result is the largest market share on consumer desktop. Looks like the course Canonical is taking is sure to help in fixing Bug #1, and I wish You and Canonical good lock in this battle.

    Sarcasm intended.

  22. peder Says:

    Thanks for this blog entry! Keeping balance of those three dimensions you mentioned must be a stiff job.

    I ask myself: Are wallpaper, window decorations and gtk theme final already or is there a chance of further polishing? It’s not about “I don’t like it” but i have read so much constructive criticism about specific elements of the new look (like and others pointed out).

    Mark Shuttleworth: We have room and time to tweak, the only thing that’s final is the basic set of concepts.

  23. Artir Says:

    Next time, I should write “José Luis Ricón” in the name field :)
    @ mark: get troysobotka on the ship asap! He would be a nice adition to the design team.

  24. Denny Says:

    You’ve got an apostrophe crime in ‘logos’ in the first sentence about the font. Look forward to seeing it though. :)

    Very glad to see the brown being phased out in favour of aubergine.

  25. Wojciech Ryrych Says:

    Hello Mark,

    even though I don’t use Ubuntu itself but its derivative – Kubuntu, glad to see incoming changes. One thing bother me – why do designers placed windows buttons on the left? It’s usability fail IMHO. Are mockups final?

  26. alex Says:

    I echo the comments above me in expressing my interest and excitement about an ubuntu font. I very much look forward to it. I also love the new ubuntu branding, it is very modern and forward thinking, business friendly and professional, and yet also very approachable.
    The only part that I have any negative thoughts at all toward are the GTK theme. It looks very pretty, however I am increasingly worried that it seems too much of a ‘copy’ of the general Apple OSX look. I would like to think that we in the Linux and ubuntu community are creative enough to set forward our own look and feel without emulating too much of what would be considered ubuntu’s competitors.
    Again, I love all of the new advancements in design, and love the work that all of those involved with have contributed. Keep up the good work!

  27. usr Says:


    Branding themes are ugly (again) and inconsistent.
    The wallpaper purple, the theme brown….

    There is a good theme:
    And another good theme :

    Remember: Blue and green are pretty (I think because are the colors of the Human’s planet).
    If you like Ubuntu in more computers it also be eyecandy.

    P.D: Purple theme also should be nice.

    Thanks for reading.
    A greeting.

  28. Antoine Lubineau Says:

    In my humble opinion, texts should get the same attention as the visual look-and-feel of your new branding.
    Just have a look at how “compatibility” is spelled.
    I clearly understand the sense humor in those preparatory documents, but I can’t stand such mistakes.

  29. Brett Legree Says:

    As an engineer and an end-user, I have to say quite simply…


    (This might be the one that sways my wife… my children already use Ubuntu, as do I of course.)

  30. trevorl Says:

    The new branding scheme is a big step forward and shows Canonical is serious in taking ubuntu to the next-level for both the consumer and corporate customer.
    The colour scheme and new font work for me, but I have one major caveat. The main image is a rather boring abstract – there is not much going on there. For instance, the CD image is so lacking in visual excitement it could be mistaken for the cover of a blank disc rather than an exciting OS to be immediately loaded.
    How about some stunning visual images that fit into this overall colour scheme? Staying true to the roots of ubuntu, why not look to the African sky for inspiration? Even a cursory search for such images on the web shows the potential to outshine the visual themes of both OSX and Windows themes whilst being distinctly and authentically ubuntu.

  31. Sameer Verma Says:

    From Orange to Aubergine. I really like the three axes (for once, these aren’t axes of evil) and the slider scale instrument. Clarifies the intent, imagery and involvement. Its been a long road since Warty. Looking forward to Lucid :-)

  32. Jeffrey Says:

    “compatability” => compatibility
    Mark Shuttleworth: thanks :-)

  33. Anzan Says:

    I’m interested to see that the various design elements are themselves intended to convey information about the information. I’m not that engaged by the orange, aubergine, and dots but it is good to see that they are at least well thought out.

  34. Marco Says:

    This looks very interesting. Classy and not to Apple like.
    One Question though: Why stands aubergine for corporate?


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  36. Dmitrijs Ledkovs Says:

    What about launchpad logo? Bzr? Upstart? =) I’d love to see strong brand identity across all canonical upstream projects. Well done! Reported bugs about the theme already though 😉

  37. Michele Renda Says:

    I found a lot of posts about Ubuntu new look, but no post had a link to this explanation. Now it seem to be more clear.
    I think it could be a good idea to give it more relevance to it when Ubuntu 10.4 will be out.

  38. Peter Clifton Says:

    Hi Mark,

    Is this a good place to share some feedback about the new branding? I love the new word mark typeface. Who’s work is that?

    Some criticisms though.. the circle of friends on the bootup screen somehow seems to spoil the balance. Everywhere else on the desktop it is now monochrome, yet it is multi-colour on the boot-up screen, and it just doesn’t seem to work. It also feels like it shifts the logo off center.

    The CD cover artwork looks great, but I’ve had to switch the default background off. Way too striking, and I never did like the OS X background it bears similarity to. Finally, the dark purple background just “feels” wrong.. Why did I pay decent money for a LCD without backlight bleed, then be greeted with a purple glow which looks like my monitor can’t render a decent black-level? I’m not saying I dislike the colour, just that it has a very negative connotation for some LCD users.

    PS.. loving the dots, but it would be nice to fix the anti-aliasing issue which leaves two striking gaps in the first usage in this post above.

  39. Jimbo Says:

    Its long been one of my frustrations that fonts on Linux just don’t look that great. To hear you are addressing this makes me really upbeat about the future of Ubuntu. Slowly but surely you are addressing all the barriers to widespread adoption.

  40. S B Says:

    WOW, first time that Hebrew is supported from day one (even if it’s “just” a font… :-) ).
    Thank you! or rather תודה.

  41. Javier Says:

    Im from Argentina and i do not speak a good english, but the new look of Ubuntu/Canonical is wonderful. I love the new look.


  42. usr Says:

    …and, What about the Kubuntu logo? It isn’t an official derivate distro of Ubuntu?

  43. Nick Mailer Says:

    Mr S, please do not allow pretentious pseud’s corner nonsense about light blind you from the fact that your designers seem to know little about design. That desktop mockup is a disgrace and shows a lack of taste and any number of design enormities, as analysed elsewhere, that suggest a fundamental lack of understanding; not some minimal aesthetic disagreement, but a radical inability to appreciate the most basic of ancient design principles, from the Golden Mean onward. Please, sir, your generosity is being abused by charlatans: do not waste your money any longer on the people and mechanisms that have brought you this dog’s dinner (I mean that almost literally).

  44. Sigh Says:

    Usability ≫ Branding
    Reliability ≫ Branding
    Stability ≫ Branding
    Hardware compatibility ≫ Branding

    These are the things that would make Ubuntu better, and help it actually compete against other OSes instead of being a footnote. Please focus your efforts on the things that really matter.

    Changing the desktop theme with every other release doesn’t help adoption one bit.

  45. Mr.doob Says:

    What Artir said. Logo and overall identity looks good. GTK themes does not. Elementary, although neither perfect, looks way ahead.

    If you’re after something modern, even more modern than OSX. You have a great option in town:

  46. Shane Fagan Says:

    I cant wait for the new font, I was at the UDS session when we talked about how bad the font situation is at the moment and we all agreed that a new one or making one of the others (like liberation) better. Im so happy that we are going to get some more style for 10.10. Plus we have Gnome 3 for 10.10 more than likely so its looking like a fun time at the next UDS for design. Oh and of course this is the first one with a design track too so that sounds cool.

  47. aaron lee Says:

    thank you all!

  48. Arnab Das Says:

    Thank you for the awesome new logos and themes. Love the new concept of ‘light’. This is very welcome development.

    I am happy that Ubuntu looks really good, without resembling any other OS.

    Good Job!

  49. Arnab Das Says:

    Thank you for the awesome new logos and themes. Love the new concept of ‘light’. This is very welcome development. I am happy that Ubuntu looks really good, without resembling any other OS.

    Good job!

  50. KenP Says:

    Will the new branding and themes be extended to Kubuntu (and other variants) as well? I hope it will be!

    Mark Shuttleworth: Yes, I think the artists responsible for those projects are already working on it.

  51. David Says:

    Keep up the great work. This is really over the top design. Thank you.

  52. Dedoimedo Says:

    Compatability is a spelling mistake. A glaring one. It should read compatibility. It looks unprofessional to have errors like those on posters and suchlike.

    The looks are too Mac-OSX like. I would say stability and long term support first, polish later.


  53. lorenzo Says:

    i think the ubuntu colors were starting to became the fingerprint of the distro . And it’s e Colored logo toghether with the ubuntu previous font are very cool . I am not happy of the changing of color of the logo and font …..step by step they are becoming anonymous and untasting. the violet could Go….. maybe we will get used to that (even if it’s starting to be to much Mac-osx like ) . But let me tell …. Pink color under the new logo ?……. that is nothing than ugly.
    In general i don’t like logo and font changin.

  54. Arun Says:

    Honestly, from a user’s perspective, I don’t see any major leap unless someone from the Ubuntu team steps in and improves the GTK+ to produce more beautiful GUI.

  55. Thorsten Wilms Says:

    Great to finally see some design thinking in action.

    I’m confused regarding the font. All examples in this post have ubuntu with a cross-bar to both sides of the stem of the t. But also shows examples with a different font, cross-bar only to the right. Will both be used? If not, which one?

    “We have commissioned a new font to be developed both for the logo’s of Ubuntu and Canonical, and for use in the interface.” sounds like there would be one design only. I would hope that the type of the logos retains unique characteristics and that the complete font is not identical but shares similarities. A logo-type and a font for generic use have quite different freedoms and requirements.

  56. marquinos Says:

    Hi! Great explanation! We know reasons for use that colors now 😉
    The new font is wonderfull.
    The colors are wonderfull too.
    The GTK theme is good (not the dark), but I think it can be better: less MacOX, please, Ubuntu must have it’s own identity when you see a desktop. I like the new human theme in Ubuntu 9.10.
    The wallpaper will be better with animal artwork :) (As Ubuntu 8.04 with the Ibex).
    In general, it’s a great work!!! Thanks for your efforts!!! Cheers!

  57. Arkadi Says:

    You have done a really good job, keep on your great work!

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  60. Andy S Says:

    Very interesting, from an outsider’s perspective, to read about how a design and identity can be created and evolved. Thanks for the insight.

    And to Sigh’s comment, what do you suggest Mark’s obviously excellent visual designers should do while the programmers and engineers are improving other aspects of Ubuntu? Sit and twiddle their thumbs? Or maybe they should go back to University and study computer science? Search Wikipedia for the False Dilema, it makes for some interesting reading.

  61. Akshat Says:

    Everything is Awesome but the controls on the left side Suck.

  62. Paul Says:

    Very interesting, but I am afraid I burst out laughing when I got as far as “The use of Aubergine indicates Commercial involvement of one form or another, while Orange is a signal of community engagement.”

    It’s fantastic that the old look is being revamped but some design people sold you a bill of aspirations here. It’s laughable. It really is. Do you really think the audiences are going to buy this, either consciously or subliminally?

    This is design homeopathy and I can imagine Steve Jobs and friends in Frog Design and elsewhere enjoying this psuedo-philosophy greatly.

    It’s not harmful, but it is at least a little bit silly.

    Mark Shuttleworth: Perhaps I didn’t explain it well. It’s not that those colours somehow intrinsically represent both corporate effort and community effort, it’s that we intend to use them with that in mind. We’re certainly entitled to have a framework for how we use colour. Whether or not we can stick to that, and whether it will gain any sort of momentum outside of the Canonical design team, time will tell. I do appreciate your comment.

  63. konman Says:

    The “10.04 Has arrived” looks so badass!
    Almost better than mac.

    This theme will trump the mac theme in the future.
    AWWWWWWWWWESOME rebrand! GO Ubuntu!

  64. Gumm Says:

    Ooh… me likes! Well done guys.

  65. নতুন রূপে উবুন্টু! « উবুংবাদ Says:

    […] আপডেটঃ মার্ক শাটলওয়ার্থ তার ব্লগে উবুন্টুর নতুন রূপসহ আরো অনেক কিছুই আলোচনা করেছেন। বিস্তারিত পড়ুন এইখানে। […]

  66. golu Says:

    I love the new look. great look.

    it’s only a start, and i’m sure, things will be improved.

    I was wondering, will there be new icon-set in lucid?

    Thanks for all the hard work.

    Mark Shuttleworth: No new icons in Lucid (though I believe the palette of Humanity may be tweaked). I hope we’ll have a new icon theme for 10.10.

  67. zelrik Says:

    Hello Mark,

    Congrats on the new look. I love this ‘aubergine’ color. It s very neat. The GTK themes also look great. I have heard that people complained about the buttons being moved on the left side of the windows but I don’t think I’ll mind it personally.

    Are you planing to change all the icons as well ?

    Actually I was thinking… what about Gnome 3.0 ?

  68. Paradiesstaub Says:

    I like the new light style.
    But I’m still waiting for a GUI space reducing. To make long story short – here is my Nautilus mockup:

    Key idea: Reduce GUI element space and obtain functionality. When mouseover an folder after 0,5 sec folder information should be shown – like it is in Lucid for the system menu right now.

    Thats all – Keep on going, your aiming in the right direction.

  69. davide Says:

    What about linux for Humans? I can understand this move was necessary but i miss the human thing..

    Ciao from Italy

  70. Kevin Wright Says:

    I’ve come to read “visual refresh” as “yet another needless change”. Just when I become familiar with a system, the appearance changes. Sigh.

    Pretty is nice, but “it just works” is more important. I cannot recommend Ubuntu to other people when there continue to be substantial regression errors in each version. Working wireless on my Thinkpad is pretty much random with each new version.

  71. w1ngnutz Says:

    Thanks Sir, this is amazing! The new ‘light’ theme is simply gorgeous (although it still needs improvements).

    IMO your team is just fixing one of the last remaining bugs from ‘linux is for nerds’ world: being good doesn’t mean being ugly. Having an attractive UI and a strong identity behind it will make our Ubuntu and Canonical reach a much broader audience. And I’m not even talking about cloud services, ubuntu one, servers, digital music, and other projects Canonical has.

    I hope you also manage to bring the new font to the desktop, it would make it even more attractive. Personally, I never used the default font on Ubuntu as my default font. And who knows, a new icon set too… you guys are thinking about it, aren’t you?

    Keep rocking!

  72. charles Says:

    leaving no ‘sacred cows’ untouched will be/has been the strong suit of Ubuntu. Change is good, not for the sake of change, but for progress. Forward march with ‘light’!

  73. The Ubuntu Rebranding « Manish's Tech Blog Says:

    […] Mark’s view on this whole saga. Orange will represent Community and Aubergine would represent Canonical. Every […]

  74. Matt Says:

    Mark, will there be an update to the sound theme to match the updated visual brand?

    Mark Shuttleworth: Gack, I completely forgot about that. A very good point. Would you see if you can rally a round of community submissions for a sound theme inspired by light?

  75. Brian Says:


    You are an overnight revolutionary when I consider what you’ve done for the Linux community. Thank you for your generous contributions, open-minded design philosophy and commitment to the Ubuntu project. You have really put Linux fun to use.

  76. Ubuntu4life Says:

    Dear Mark,

    Great work ! I love it so far ! Its not ready yet but far better than the previous themes.
    I really really like the web interface !

    But one thing, please dont keep the window borders on the left…

  77. Links 5/3/2010: Elive Stable 2.0 Topaz, Canonical CEO Speaks | Boycott Novell Says:

    […] Light: the new look of Ubuntu Jono Bacon, Alan Pope, and many others have written, yesterday we published a new visual story and style for Ubuntu. The core design work was lead by Marcus Haslam, Otto Greenslade and Dominic Edmunds, who are the three visual artists leading our efforts in the Canonical Design team. Once we had the base ideas in place we invited some anchor members of the Ubuntu Art community to a design sprint, to test that the concept had the legs to work with the full range of forums, websites, derivatives and other pieces of this huge and wonderful project. And apparently, it does! […]

  78. Simon Says:

    Superb. Fantastic work, really fresh and exciting. Two thumb’s up!

  79. Andrea R Says:

    The ideas behind the restyling are probably very good. Just don’t hire designers and usability experts that use Macs and are accustomed to its looks.

    What would be really important is to ship with a lot of cool themes and among them different variations of color for the default one. If someone likes green or blue there is nothing you can do about it, just give them an easy way to set the whole thing in that color (boot splash, gdm and desktop). If you check on gnome-look you’ll see that many themes, wallpaper and even icon sets come in different colors.

    Also making the upper panel totaly monochromatic breaks consistency for those who use launchers and applets on it.

  80. Praveesh Says:

    Great!!! Congratulations. The GNOME in Ubuntu is now really beautiful. Even though the GNOME doesn’t has the ability to deliver the MAGIC seen in the MACOs and windows, the new design makes Ubuntu look really professional.
    What about your KDE based distribution Kubuntu which has much more potential to look better as well as to provide a better user experience(The magic)? Will it also get the professional look?

  81. Kekz Says:

    Hi Mark,

    in my humble opinion it looks too much like Mac OS X.

  82. marquinos Says:

    I just try in the alpha3 updated of Lucid…
    I hate the controls window on the left :( I think this is a very bad decision.
    About the GTK Theme, it needs more contrasts, I can’t identify the active window in Ubuntu or the active tab in Firefox.
    The rest is wonderfull.
    Best regards.

  83. Ubuntu tendrá tambien una nueva fuente propia Says:

    […] bajo una licencia de abierta, y considerada parte de la imagen comercial de Ubuntu. Más info en 1 comentarios en: tecnología, software libre karma: 4 etiquetas: ubuntu, fuente negativos: […]

  84. retimer Says:

    As for me, I like this new design. I’ve got tired of orange and nasty brown in Karmic.
    I thing the Canonical Design team is doing a great job. Thanks!

  85. Sr. Luzbel Says:

    The best feature is the new font!

  86. kikl Says:

    Hi, I think the new font is wonderful. I have no expertise in corporate design, but the overall concept makes a lot of sense for ubuntu and canonical.

    I am very glad that the ubuntu software centre (app-store) as well as ubuntu one (mp3-store) are making great progress. I hope they will soon be a great source of additional income for canonical and ubuntu.

    Best Regards,


  87. merbit Says:

    Quote: “It will be published under an open font license, and considered part of the trade dress of Ubuntu, which will limit its relevance for software interfaces outside of Ubuntu but leave it free for use across the web and in printed documents.”

    Can someone make this readable in plain English terms?

  88. Shane Fagan Says:

    I just had a thought about the new branding. I love it but now the Ubuntu sounds are a little out of place. It hit me when I logged in and I thought, the interface is elegant but the sound is harsh with the drums and the chanting. Will we get a new sound set to match the new light theme?

  89. Albert Says:

    Dear Mark,

    Very good job on colors and branding.
    Sadly a little bit late in my opinion.
    Don’t forget icons are also part of the game.

    Thanks for your involvement with the community, hopefully music store income will help increasing Ubuntu’s development speed.

    Also, remember there’s a lot of ‘not that rich’ people in developed countries who can’t afford 10$ per month on UbuntuOne and would like an ‘in between’ solution.

  90. Lorag Says:

    Dear Mark,

    it took a while, but i think i figured it out. I was a bit distracted by all this light stuff your marketing department told us about. It seemed quite convincing.

    After looking at the new theme for a couple of days i cannot but see that what the hardy heron has brought us is an egg: The window decorations are eggshell, window content is white as the white of an egg. The progress bar has the color of yolk. I couldn’t figure out the aubergine wallpaper at first (maybe because English isn’t my native language), but the wallpaper is clearly eggplant.

    I’m quite excited what will hatch from this egg. Thanks for the new theme and of course Ubuntu.

    take care

    Mark Shuttleworth: :-)

  91. Charles McColm Says:

    I agree with others who’ve suggested that it Ubuntu seems to be moving more towards a Mac OS X-wannabe feel and functionality. Some people might like OS X, I don’t. When I first tried OS X it felt like an Enlightenment rip-off, and I was never keen on Enlightenment.

    More importantly, 9.10 did not run well on a lot of hardware 9.04– did run okay on. It also seems that in the quest for beauty you’ve forgotten your own words “pretty but unusable” won’t work either. While 9.10 isn’t unusable, it’s lost quite a bit of functionality because of the inclusion of GDM2 and Grub2. It might be fine for me to figure out UUID’s for new drives, but not the volunteers that help our project build machines.

    Canonical has done a lot of great things since 4.10, but for me 9.10 was a big disappointment and looking at the list of issues, some of the things ranked at low priority suggest that 10.04 might not provide a fix for usability issues (GDM2 — let me shut off the face browser).

    I see some work being done, but it looks like a whole lot more will need to be completed before 10.04 is released and the time frame is very short.

    Not to sound totally sour, we implemented 9.10 on all our project systems and have been impressed with the ease of printer detection — it’s so good that a lot of people we talk to are taking note of Ubuntu. I gave a printer (Canon i850) to one fellow who I knew didn’t have a hope ever figuring out how to install drivers in Windows or Linux, and he reported back that the printer just worked (which I knew because we tested it first). On the other hand since 9.10 I have had to wait every time for our network printer to become “ready,” something that didn’t happen in 9.04. The user experience is more than just pretty bells and whistles, it has to fix delays and issues like this.

    Sorry for the rant Mark, Ubuntu’s been great for so long, maybe it’s just me, but 9.10 has been for the most part disappointing.

    Mark Shuttleworth: I’m sorry for all our imperfections, but it seems that you were more affected than most by issues in 9.10. I can’t promise a perfect release, ever, but I can promise you that we have as many people as possible, both at Canonical and from an amazingly engaged community, working to make 10.04 LTS fantastic. I would suggest that you deploy the beta on a few machines and join the community helping to make it great. Also, if you are deploying on many machines in a commercial environment, consider a support contract with Canonical. That will both give you a route to quick answers, and help make the next release even better.

  92. Akshat Says:

    I like this change but this becoming the base of criticism of ubuntu’s identity.
    These idiots.

  93. Akshat Says:

    Looks like you have been too busy working on ubuntu.You rarely post here and even forgot Updating Copyright(c) 2006-2007 to 2006 to 2010

  94. Brian C Says:

    Hi Mark,

    The new look is a welcome thing for Ubuntu which hasn’t visually changed much over quite a few releases. Thanks for all the work your team has put into it.

    I love the new site logos, but I do not see one for the Ubuntu wiki which IMO needs a good facelift as well. Are there plans for the ubuntu wiki to get a new logo? Maybe even a matching color scheme?

  95. » I temi Light e Dark di Ubuntu/Lucid sono disponibili per tutti Says:

    […] sviscerato un’inevitabile sequela di polemiche, non soltanto qui – e nel frattempo anche Mark Shuttleworth ha parlato del brand della distribuzione. Però a qualcuno i temi potrebbero anche piacere e non è necessario […]

  96. Themes für GNOME « Bye-bye Apple Computer Says:

    […] “Linux for Human Beings” ist mir weiterhin sympathisch – auch wenn sie mit dem Rebranding zugunsten von “Ubuntu is Lightware” scheinbar wieder verworfen wurde. Bisigi Orange ist […]

  97. yman Says:

    Please use Dichotomy as the default GTK theme. It looks much more polished, pretty, and mature than the light themes.

  98. yman Says:

    Dichotomy is also sleek and professional looking, again unlike the Light themes.

  99. yman Says:

    @The people suggesting the Elementary theme:
    Elementary is cold, hard, and pale. All in contradiction to the concept of ‘light’, and so is unsuitable for being the default theme. In addition, Ubuntu wan’t to have a distinctive look, but
    Elementary isn’t unique to Ubuntu.

    In terms of the colors of the desktop theme, perhaps try having an Aubergine wallpaper, white windows, and orange panels and title bars. The dots could be incorporated in the wallpaper, the title bar buttons, the progress bars, the scroll bars, and the icon theme.

    As an interim measure until you sort out the desktop theme, I strongly suggest switching away from Ambiance and Radiance for the GTK theme. Pretty much any mature theme you use, including Human, will be better. Also, get rid of the Cysts behind the title bar buttons. It adds unnecessary visual clutter, doesn’t work well with other settings than the default, and diverts efforts from more productive avenues.

  100. Eric Says:

    I love the fact that Ubuntu is rebranding, the “light themes” look like a neat starting concept, except I’m afraid it clumps Ubuntu into the category of OS X clone.

    I feel that since Ubuntu is the most popular Linux distribution around, it speaks for Linux users and the Linux community as a whole. I don’t think the current “light themes” as they are now draw attention to Linux in a positive light. I feel like it brands us as copycats.

    I think it would be great to see Ubuntu set the trend for Linux distro’s, by choosing a theme that broadcasts Linux’s originality, and make’s other OS’s want to look like Ubuntu.

  101. Iswanto Says:

    Everything looks good, but the gtk theme looks so ugly

  102. Cambio de look en Ubuntu… « El blog de Furious Says:

    […] el escritorio y cambió el logo, pero no tengo ganas de contarles yo el cambio… les dejo un link al blog de Mark Shuttleworth y lo leen/ven por ustedes […]

  103. Gerrys Blog » Blog Archive » #musicmonday | Mumblings: Music Monday: Rocket (Yuna) Says:

    […] Mark Shuttleworth » Blog Archive » Light: the new look of Ubuntu […]

  104. Gerrys Blog » Blog Archive » #musicmonday | Mumblings: Music Monday: Rocket (Yuna) Says:

    […] Mark Shuttleworth » Blog Archive » Light: the new look of Ubuntu […]

  105. William Says:

    I really like the Aubergine colour but I would prefer a light green or yellow than the orange.

  106. Julius Says:

    I really like the new looks for the new version, keep up the good work Ubuntu!

    The only thing that concerns me is that the Intel video driver issue in the Linux Kernel. I hope this problem will be polished and I really mean polished well since this is a LTS version like the 8.04. My PC is powered by an Intel video chip-set and I’m very happy with the 8.04LTS performance on my PC and it is the only version that I’m using until now because of this Intel Video issue. I am not a developer but I can see the problem with the versions 9.04 and 9.10 as I test them carefully. So I just hope that the Intel video driver will be polished and it will work well as it should be. Even if the Linux Kernel Foundation has not find a way to solve this, I hope that the Ubuntu community will find a way to solve this issue and then just send our solution back to Linux Kernel (Linus Torvalds). More power Ubuntu/Canonical!

  107. John Smith Says:

    Are the window buttons (minimize, maximize, close window) on the top left side (almost like Mac OS X) a final decision for version 10.04 and all future versions of Ubuntu?

  108. Innocent Bystander Says:


    I know of your blog thanks to this article

    I hope you would take in account my opinion about the new Ubuntu GUI. IMHO, the placement of the titlebar buttons on the left side or swapping the position of min/max buttons are minor details. They add marginal value, I can hardly imagine a non-Linux user rushing into the Linux world because the position of the max button.

    Have you noticed that a pair off scissors is mostly designed for righthanders? If not then try to use it with your left hand, you will be surprised that this little thing has a direction. Now what if scissors manufacturers decided switch the scissors design for lefthanders? Or a keyboard manufacturer swaps the position of Enter and ESC keys? This won’t make any difference in the intrinsic quality of the product and it certainly won’t improve any user experience.

    It’s not that I am an anti-innovation person stuck to old habits. But making differences just for the sake of being different is sometimes confusing. In case Ubuntu still decides to go ahead with shuffling the position of these titlebar buttons, is it OK to supply a SIMPLE form in the User Preferences to allow the user to customize the buttons position?

    Thanks in advance for your attention.

  109. Sinhalen FOSS » Blog Archive » Podcast Episode 36: සතුටුදායක මරණයක් Says:

    […] Ubuntu Brand changes including Jono on Baken’s post, and lets not forget Mark Shuttle Worth’s comments […]

  110. Iskander Says:


    Usability ≫ Branding
    Reliability ≫ Branding
    Stability ≫ Branding
    Hardware compatibility ≫ Branding

    Yes, but playing with crayons is so much more fun than fixing hardware… problems :)
    Have a heart :)

    Anyway, purple, brown,

    As long as my sound works and I get a sane photo editor, and sharp fonts, I’ll actually like the new version. I don’t know what the odds are though.

  111. У Ubuntu будет также новый источник [font] | Izvestija o tehnologii Says:

    […] В этой статье Марк Суттлеуорт объясняет новое изменение imágen в Ubuntu. [Eng]. […]

  112. Ubuntu aura aussi une nouvelle fontaine [font] | Des nouvelles de technologie Says:

    […] Dans cet article Mark Shuttleworth explique le nouveau changement d’imágen dans Ubuntu. [Eng]. […]

  113. Simple Says:

    The new theme is makes ubuntu look much more professional. Especially since it maximizes the screen real estate. I like it.

  114. Ubuntu will have also a new source [font] | News about technology Says:

    […] In this article Mark Shuttleworth explains the new change of imágen in Ubuntu. [Eng]. […]

  115. haruspexed Says:

    Hi Mark, I feel a little wistful, like a father when his kids become grown and leave home for studies. I will miss the brown / orange, it has been part of my desktop life all the last years, same with the “we are one” (3 colors of logo / all human beeings). I still think orange/brown could become better than any mac design team ever could design a look ^^. Anyway the new design looks very grown. A new era. One step forward in lifetime :)

    But I deffo would take the constructive critics serious (wallpaper polish or new one with purple to orange spectrum representing more “light”; better gtk theme (have a look at HomoSapiens, UbuntuSun:

  116. Says:

    Ubuntu tendrá su propia fuente abierta…

    Lo podemos leer en el blog de Mark Shuttleworth: Ubuntu tendrá su propia fuente tipográfica que dará imagen a la marca, y que además será libre y se podrá utilizar en documentos impresos y en la web. El diseño de la fuente corresponde a la empre……

  117. Ubuntu 10.04: Nach Freude kommt Kritik am neuen Look – Balkoncam Blog Says:

    […] Andere Probleme sind wohl vor allem dem noch unfertigen Zustand der Themes geschuldet, so hat etwa Arstechnica einige Inkonsistenzen aufgezeigt – ein Teil davon wurde zwischenzeitlich aber bereits behoben. Andere Kritik dreht sich viel mehr um reine Geschmacksfragen, wie die Wahl der Hintergrundfarbe, nicht alle können sich mit den Aubergine-Tönen anfreunden. Gerade dieser Wahl liegt aber auch eine konzeptionelle Überlegung zugrunde, während das verbliebene Orange für die Community-Beteiligung stehen soll, will man mit Aubergine das kommerzielle Engagement zum Ausdruck bringen – so Ubuntu-Gründer Mark Shuttleworth in einem Blog-Posting. […]

  118. Ubuntu wird auch eine neue Quelle [font] haben | Nachrichten über Technologie Says:

    […] In diesem Artikel erklärt Mark Shuttleworth die neue Änderung von Imágen in Ubuntu. [Eng]. […]

  119. Richard Says:

    Please don’t mess with the buttons?! If you want to have that large of a change please give the users a choice out of the gate with a welcome to ubuntu box that gives the user some customizable options including to install proprietary video drivers! THX

  120. Ubuntu 10.04’s Themes… « Says:

    […] The window controls are probably one of the most important design points to any theme. While it appears that Ubuntu is going for a more polished and professional appearance, its going to be near impossible get the polished feel of Mac OS X and the traditional simplistic controls from Windows to integrate together using the new colors that Mark Shuttleworth and his team have chosen. […]

  121. ipad s10 n270 10.2 wsvga ag Important Article | Ipads Best Price Says:

    […] Mark Shuttleworth » Blog Archive » Light: the new look of Ubuntu […]

  122. Ovroniil Says:

    1. It’s seems Ubuntu has thrown away it’s identity to be more ‘MAC’ish! Why Ubuntu has to copy the upper panel icons and colors from Mac OSX? Windows has it’s own identity, so does Mac; but where is the distinctive identity of Ubuntu? Doesn’t it looks like ubuntu is suffering from it’s own identity crisis?

    2. What about the changes of icons (systems, folders, navigation etc.)? Hasn’t the time come to change them too? The Humanity icons are looking very toyish comparing to the new theme(s).

    3. And please… consider the sleek bread crumb style for Nautilus (which can be found here: ).

    Mark Shuttleworth: I think you’ll find that (3) is inspired by some work on the MacOS ;-). It’s beautiful, certainly, and looks like something we should consider. I’m not actively working on Nautilus though I know others are. If you look at the Ubuntu Software Center, I think they have a path tool that has similar styling. As for your point 1, I think it’s critical that Ubuntu have its own distinctive look and feel. But it’s also important to learn from the work of others, and progress the art. There’s little benefit in sticking to an older pattern out of dogma, or failing to follow a good idea from someone else.

  123. Helio Says:

    Please, please leave the close window button in the right hand corner! Think of where the wast majority of new Ubuntu users are coming from. They come from Windows. Mac users rarely switch to Ubuntu. There is no reason to juggle around with user interface elements as critical as the close button and thereby unnecessary extra hurdles fro Windows users. The button look is very good but please please leave the close button in the top right hand corner.

  124. Anzan Says:

    Mark, is it true that the design work was primarily done using Apple appliances and proprietary software?

    If so, how much was Canonical involved? Are the designers Canonical employees?

    I am not trying to start any kind of flame war, much the opposite. I myself would just like to know. And I think this topic might get some play on blogs and that anything you can do to keep the situation clear and transparent as soon is possible would be good.

    Mark Shuttleworth: Yes, some of the artists on the design team did use Photoshop for their work. Everybody also has Ubuntu on netbooks, which are our primary focus at the moment, and more and more happens on Ubuntu directly. In general, folks at Canonical use Ubuntu. But many also have other platforms available – I have both Windows and Mac machines, even though most of my life is spent on Ubuntu.

  125. retimer Says:

    I’m curious about new Kubuntu look. Mark, have you created a new design for that? Many friends of mine choose Kubuntu, and they are really interested in testing new brand. It would be great if you publish “a new visual story and style for”… Kubuntu

    Mark Shuttleworth: Yes, there’s work under way to update the Kubuntu identity in line with this new style.

  126. The New Ubuntu Lucid Look pt. 2: Reactions and Follow-Ups · kbps Says:

    […] came Mark Shuttleworth’s announ­ce­ment on the rebran­ding. Something that seems to have been over­loo­ked, most likely because of its […]

  127. YokoZar’s Writings » Blog Archive » It’s time to fix the window controls Says:

    […] Jono Bacon, Canonical’s community manager, broke the news.  Mark Shuttleworth followed up on his own blog, thanking three members of the design team for leading the […]

  128. Dario Says:

    Mark, first of all, you inspire me as an entrepreneur and as a person, second, stop spending time in front of your Mac. It would be really shameful if ubuntu becomes fake MacOSX. I know, it’s easy to criticize and as dirty Harry would say:”Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one”, but some times you have to step back and look picture from distance. Thank you for everything you’ve done so far, keep going and find ubuntu’s own uniqueness. Cheers!

    Mark Shuttleworth: I understand the criticism. There are certainly elements we borrow from others, but I think that’s a good thing. I can assure you there’s no slavish devotion to the work of any other company or project in the design team – we want to stand on the shoulders of the best, then reach even higher. Yes, we’ve learned from Apple. But I hope we can teach them a thing or two, as well.

  129. Pat Says:

    Please put back the window buttons.

  130. Ubuntu Lucid 10.04 I Nuovi Temi | NaPoZeR BLoG Says:

    […] subito sviscerato un’inevitabile sequela di polemiche, non soltanto qui – e nel frattempo anche MarkShuttleworth ha parlato del brand della distribuzione. Però a qualcuno i temi potrebbero anche piacere e non è necessario […]

  131. alessandro simon Says:

    Fico muito feliz pela mudança , percebi logo que o tema padrão não agradava novos usuários ubuntu , principalmente as mulheres.

    I am very happy for the change, I noticed as soon as the standard theme didn’t please new users ubuntu, mainly the women.

    Congratulations on the new look!

  132. Stephan Says:

    Buttons on the left are a bad idea, as the “close” button is just dangerously near other menu Options like “File”, “Edit” or “View”. Users will unintentionally close windows all the time.

  133. DisegnoVIVO Blog » Blog Archive » Un cambio di look per Ubuntu 10.04 Says:

    […] pagina del Wiki di Ubuntu; mentre ulteriori approfondimenti sul cambio di look, sono reperibili sul blog di Mark Shuttleworth e su quello di Jono […]

  134. Maren Says:

    I think the decision to move the buttons to the left is very unfortunate. What is the usability rationale behind this? And has that rationale been tested on real users (not only on computer geeks and Ubuntu employees)? I really think Canonical should take the the community’s reaction into consideration.

  135. Design By Izo | The online showcase of Ian Cylkowski Says:

    […] interface design, I took a strong interest in Canonical’s recent announcement about their new Ubuntu branding, complete with two new default themes set to appear in the upcoming “Lucid Lynx” LTS […]

  136. Ubuntu Manual Title Page « Thorwil’s Says:

    […] but we should not signify involvement of Canonical where this is very much a community project (see Mark Shuttleworth’s post about this dualism). So there’s one variation using lots of Aubergine, but it’s use […]

  137. daquirm Says:

    Window buttons position:
    Once in a while I used to switch between different themes and there are many GTK/emrald themes with buttons positioned on the left. Although I liked them much because of the look, I never stuck with them because of the ergonomics. There’s nothing being wrong with controls on the right, everyone is used to it, so what good will that bring to us? If the answer is NOTHING, lets just thing what bad it will bring to us:
    – Confusion while switching between work (mostly windows) and home PC (Ubuntu).
    – Getting used to something costs time, why to spend time when it brings no benefit?
    – This will bring more hesitation for users willing to switch from windows.
    – Inconsistency with tabbed apps and Gnome.
    – Somewhere I read, that the switch to regular positioning won’t be on click option. Ok when making such a drastic change, why not to let the users choose what he prefers, just by using another theme?

    They just look ugly to me (pretty subjective), imagine your self as a heterosexual man, would you wear this type of color combination on your jacket. Although I’m a big fan, don’t expect me to buy your new Ubuntu clothing anymore.

    The beauty about Linux is the freedom of choice. Ubuntu was the first Linux system, that really worked for me and the one for which was the ease of use and community at the first place. Right now where there’s the branding at the first place and the community opinion is being ignored, I’ll probably switch.

  138. Daniele Says:

    It’s just fantastic how Canonical and Ubuntu developers are working to make Ubuntu more user-friendly , i think that the new Theme is inspired to the apple one due to it’s freshness and usability , and ubuntu is going to be more user-friendly with this theme.
    I give an “OK” to the developers, and for the left buttons too! we will see why they’ve changed the position (I think to make everything more user friendly) It’s just my opinion 😀 Good work Mr. Mark!

  139. Linux Fanatics Says:

    […] Does Anyone Want To Apply?Ubuntu Seeking Advice On Closed Source AppsClearly Ubuntu is well onto a brand new path is would seem. With Shuttleworth stepping down and allowing a new CEO to take the steering wheel […]

  140. Peter Stevens Says:

    Mark Shuttleworth: *classic* :-) Thanks for the link!

  141. Steven Shaw Says:

    Looks really great. Really like the laptop (tablet?) in the marketing brochure and the Asus desktop with Ubuntu. Q1: what is that laptop/tablet? Q2: Are Asus going to be selling Ubuntu desktops?

  142. Kevin Wright Says:

    Mark said, “The critical test of the font is screen efficiency and legibility”.

    Any font that makes uppercase “I” and lowercase “L” indistinguishable fails your most basic principle of “legibility”. Please don’t call it “legible”.

    I give presentations about data quality and I ask people if they have ever been confused by illegible characters. At every single presentation, people raise their hands. The “I” and “l” glyphs are the worst offenders, followed by “O” and “0”. I’m not saying we have to use monospace terminal fonts, but if you want to leave a radical mark on the world, no pun intended :-), then a truly legible font would be wonderful.

  143. SS Says:

    I wonder if there will be a new theme for Xubuntu?
    From what I saw of ubuntu I was very pleased and I’m looking forward to the output of ubuntu 10:04.
    I want to thank Mark and all the ubuntu team for the great work that has been done.
    I apologize for my bad English

  144. MadsRH Says:

    In comment 324337 ( you ask for a sound theme inspired by light. The design team have already been presented with some beautiful work from Diego Stocco. If you’ve missed this I’ll happily email you the sounds – just let me know.

    I’ve submitted a few suggestions myself, but its incredibly difficult when theres’s no guidelines as to what the design team wants.

  145. xir_ Says:

    The new design seems very logical and i think is set to become iconic in a similar way that the default xp background is, or the google mutli-colour. Congratulations to the whole team.

    The thing that i am wondering about is how these new design cues will evolve in future releases. Will we see a greater deal of refinement or will the themes evolve from one colour form to another like in previous releases (i.e from more orange to brown). I personally hope for more consistency and less reinventing.

    Also it would be good to see some more community involvement in the themes. Ideally i would like to see canonical small offer design X-prizes. Specify what you want from the community and choose a winner (most don’t even want anything other than recognition), i think that would dissipate some of the whining going about at the moment about lack of community decisions.

  146. Neues Sound-Theme für Lucid wurde vergessen | Says:

    […] für Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx gebe, antwortete Ubuntu-Initiator Mark Shuttleworth folgendes: Mark Shuttleworth: Gack, I completely forgot about that. A very good point. Would you see if you can rally a round of […]

  147. xir_ Says:

    The new design seems very logical and i think is set to become iconic in a similar way that the default xp background is, or the google mutli-colour. Congratulations to the whole team.

    The thing that i am wondering about is how these new design cues will evolve in future releases. Will we see a greater deal of refinement or will the themes evolve from one colour form to another like in previous releases (i.e from more orange to brown). I personally hope for more consistency and less reinventing.

    Also it would be good to see some more overt community involvement in the themes. Ideally i would like to see canonical small offer design X-prizes. Specify what you want from the community and choose a winner (most don’t even want anything other than recognition), i think that would dissipate some of the whining going about at the moment about lack of community decisions.

  148. Mark Shuttleworth Forgets! « Ubuntu Soda Says:

    […] commenter on Mark Shuttleworth’s blog asked this: Mark, will there be an update to the sound theme to match the updated visual […]

  149. kaddy Says:

    Mark, I want you to take a look at this Gnome3 Mockup and Compare it to Gnome’s Current State to see How seriously Professional and Modern it looks

  150. Wombat Diet » Blog Archive » Amahi: Linux Home Server Says:

    […] Shuttleworth’s recent blog post on the long-awaited new design for the Ubuntu desktop was a litle disappointing. I got as far as […]

  151. Ubuntu, Shuttelworth: bottoni a sinistra | Giovanni Raco Says:

    […] atto è una rivoluzione. Già dieci giorni fa lo stesso Shuttleworth aveva messo in chiaro sul suo sito il progetto di rivoluzione grafica che ha in mente per Ubuntu. Nessuno gli ha dato molto peso, […]

  152. » Ubuntu, Shuttelworth: bottoni a sinistra Says:

    […] atto è una rivoluzione. Già dieci giorni fa lo stesso Shuttleworth aveva messo in chiaro sul suo sito il progetto di rivoluzione grafica che ha in mente per Ubuntu. Nessuno gli ha dato molto peso, […]

  153. nenelinux Says:

    hey Mark!!!

    what about the cursor???

    the default is very bored

  154. Wesley Says:

    I’m anxious to see how will this new look in kubuntu … KDE has a much greater visual potential than Gnome …

  155. Kein Sound für Lucid Lynx? | Der Webanhalter Says:

    […] Bei Ubuntu 10.04 wird das äußere Erscheinungsbild grundlegend renoviert. Doch nun kommt raus: Das Sounderlebnis wurde nicht überarbeitet! Überrascht schien Canonical-Gründer Mark Shuttleworth von der Frage nach einem neuen Soundtheme (Klangthema) worden zu sein. Gack, I completely forgot about that. A very good point. Would you see if you can rally a round of community submissions for a sound theme inspired by light? [Quelle] […]


    […] off, check out Mark Shuttleworth’s explanation of the new color scheme. I’m very NOT graphically oriented, and this is hands-down the best explanation of a color […]

  157. Paul Says:

    Very nice System.
    I´m living in germany an switch for one week from XP zu Ubuntu. I love it. It´s perfekt for a student.

  158. usr Says:

    Hi again, Mark!

    Metacity buttons theme is unconsistent at non-resized windows. The theme must be changed or the buttons order.
    I can’t beieve that the design develpment team doesn’t see it.

    A greeting!

  159. usr Says:

    I’m sorry, I meant: non-resize windows.

  160. usr Says:

    …”resizabled”, not “resize”.

    Excuse me again.

  161. Lucid beta 1 Says:

    […] 原文はこちら。( #  golu says: (permalink) March 5th, 2010 at 3:06 […]

  162. Parry Says:

    Why aren’t the humanity icons being removed in this release? They look really cartoony.

    Mark Shuttleworth: We’ll do a new icon theme in due course. The work will start during 10.10 and may or may not land in that release.

  163. Duncan J Murray Says:

    Looks like great work is going on – many thanks! I’ve used Ubuntu since 9.04, there’s a beautiful logic, simplicity, security, stability and autonomy which I was not finding in Windows (including 7). Looking at the screenshots of 10.04, I think you’ve done a great job in finally making Ubuntu look up to date. I’m concerned though by the movement of the window buttons to the left – I think that to make such a fundamental change you have to have a good reason. The other thing is that I think the design team should keep with the ‘flatness’ of 9.04’s gnome interface – the computer screen is flat, and I think looks best with flat icons/tabs/buttons/sliders etc…

    Looking forward to trying it out soon!

  164. Andrew Says:

    Wow! That concept with applying different design elements for different targets is just amazing. I haven’t ever seen that anywhere else and it really makes a lot of sense. Great thinking, team!

  165. Jim Raredon Says:

    Hi Mark,

    Amid of sea of whining, complaining, and some real rudeness (and probably worse), let me say I’m VERY happy with the new theme, including the new button locations. I’m actually coming back from openSUSE land because of the theme, ubuntu one, music store, and iphone support.

    Please keep up the great work! Myself, and The University of Michigan are truly benefiting from this! (I’ll be doing about a 100 machine Ubuntu rollout at UofM in the next few months.)

  166. kikl Says:

    Hi Mark, I gave 10.04 lucid lynx a shot during the last two days. O.K. it’s still buggy, but then it’s beta, so that is to be expected.

    I like your new dark theme ambiance a lot, incidentally, it is quite similar to the “new wave” theme I have been using so far. You also tweeked some of the icons, good Meanwhile ubuntu has become just as pretty as it is usable.

    Your focus on integrating e-mail, chat and broadcasting services is paying off. I am beginning to like tweets;-) Empathy supports facebook, great, I wish it would also support skype. It’s become a standard in internet telephony. I know, it’s closed source, but for the time being….

    Nautilus has one new feature that really shines. Press F3 and you get two fields side by side for browsing. This is very useful for dragging and dropping files between folders. Great feature! But, the design of the thumbnails should be improved, possibly resembling the software center thumbnails.

    O.K. You shifted the minimize, maximize, shut down buttons to the upper left corner. Some users are freaking out, but it’s a non-issue. You get used to it in a matter of days. But then, I don’t see the benefits, are you planning to use the free space on the upper right side somehow? Oh but if you do it, please do it consistently,. The chromium browser still has the buttons on the upper right side…

    But then, I’ll issue my bug reports to launchpad, don’t worry;-)

    Good luck and stay on course.


    PS: I am glad debian/ubuntu collaboration is slowly progressing!

  167. Ubuntu 10.04 Beta 1 | The Linux Blog .net Says:

    […] Comments | Posted by jjt in Linux, Ubuntu Three weeks ago, Mark Shuttleworth made a blog post on what he wanted the latest version of Ubuntu to look like. He’s been talking about Ubuntu […]

  168. Links March 2010 | etbe - Russell Coker Says:

    […] Mark Shuttleworth wrote an interesting post about the new visual style for Ubuntu and Canonical [7]. Apparently this includes the creation of a new font set which will be available for free use. […]

  169. Forrest Says:

    (Examines new logo)

    Huge swooping curves everywhere but for a thin crimped “t”? Did someone declare “t” deprecated?

    Maybe you should italicize it so it doesn’t look so squished.

  170.… – Tanner Helland (dot) Com Says:

    […] – now THIS is how logo and branding is meant to be done. […]

  171. Andrew Says:

    Here’s one simple request… can the font look good when *not* smoothed, like the MS family fonts (ie: Arial, Tahoma, etc…)?

    A quick search of the intrawebs reveals that many users don’t like smoothed fonts, some even complaining of headaches or the like. Unfortunately, none of the current *nix fonts look good if they’re aliased. It would make me really happy if the new fonts looked great in their unadulterated form, too.

  172. Richard Says:

    Was the new theme usability tested? It seems that some basic testing would have picked up the issue with the buttons being too close to the Edit menu.

    I dislike almost everything about the changes – however I could be convinced if there was some usability data justifying what’s been changed, particularly the window buttons.

  173. Kevin Says:

    Love the new look, but didn’t mind customizing the old one. However I have been using Linux since 2004 and my home has been windows free since 2006 and Lucid beta 1 is the first OS I have had friends compliment and when I tell them that the look is out of the box they can’t believe and are ready to try it on their own. Great job to Mark and the whole staff as well as the community, this is a major step forward for us all. C’MON APRIL 29!!

  174. John Says:

    Absolutely gorgeous work. Very professional, polished and good looking desktop. I have been using Lucid since alpha 2, and it is really an excellent computing experience. Sure, there are new changes to get used to, but I disagree with most critical posts: I like the button layout, it is consistent and intuitive; the colours are inviting and fresh. I am really excited to know what you are preparing for us for Lucid +1.

    Brave, daring and creative. Please, do not stop.


  175. David Says:

    Expected nothing less of Dalton Maag. Great stuff.

  176. New Kubuntu branding « Jonathan's Blog Says:

    […] “k” in there is a placeholder, as the new Ubuntu font that Mark Shuttleworth recently blogged about is still in its infancy. But before you jump to conclusions and declare the lack of a […]

  177. Sergey Says:

    Mark, the king is naked, window buttons on the left are very uncomfortable.

    > You shifted the minimize, maximize, shut down buttons to the upper left corner. Some users are freaking out, but it’s a non-issue.
    > You get used to it in a matter of days.

    You have just a few hours to satisfy a new user. He will not use ubuntu after that, if he hasn’t liked it. And he will not find how to change such ugly defaults within that time.

  178. Jade Says:

    What about these left-sided glyphs in the new theme of Ubuntu 10.04 ?
    Is there a reason to copy Apple’s approach ?
    I like Ubuntu, but it seems I will have to hack away at the theme to get the old look & feel back into it.
    The theme itself looks great, but left-sided glyphs are a mistake, pure & simple.