New icon theme for KDE: Awesome

Font Awesome is an iconic font designed for web UIs. It's a full open source suite of pictographic icons available with examples and documentation.

During the QML network lecture at QtDD, Jeremy Lainé has noted that icons based on Fonts Awesome are useful for optimizing network usage, especially ones with high latency. While I have never used them I knew the technique which seems to be quite popular among web developers.

So I came to related idea. How about adaptation of the Font Awesome icons for KDE? Obviously number of icons expected by KDE themes is much larger, but there's a way to start. It would be awesome (!) if someone implements that to show power of QIconEngine...

Of course the adaptation would only be semi-automatic because mapping is needed between Font Awesome naming and naming.

Further ideas if you dare for more:

  • Because Font Awesome icons are monochrome, perhaps they could be also useful as a replacement for currently quite dated high-contrast KDE icons. It's trivial to add contrasting outlines.
  • Support for Qt-only apps would be possible since the icon engine API is Qt's QIconEngine.
  • Similarly, more organized support for Qt Quick is also doable through properly set up theme API implemented in QML or via a C++ plugin. Having a large icon theme would be good for start or at least for prototyping. Currently, unless predefined (desktop or mobile) components are used, to develop a Qt Quick app graphics files have to be supplied.

At visual level there is a bit to think about too - putting taste aside, by popular opinion monochrome (or at least visually simplified) icons give apps fresh and "cleaner" look, allow to put focus on content. Moreover, the web uses monochrome icons a lot these years, the world is tired of skeuomorphism, Vista glossy style is dead...


Monochrome icons are terrible from usability standpoint. They don't offer at all same information as colorful skeuomophisim icons.

By fri13 at Tue, 11/20/2012 - 14:17

The article you linked notes that Windows 8 does not indicate clickable areas, mainly because they replace buttons with labels, not even underlined. Combined with lack of hover on touch devices - this is a trouble.
Please look at the new theme of this very blog site (and other KDE web sites) for example of pretty well working monochrome icons, not distracting the users. All these sites have well defined look of buttons (well supporting Fitt's law, unlike small buttons in Oxgen style, BTW), so icons are there not to make them pretty but to play well with text which is monochrome.

If there are dozens of icons, e.g. large unstructured toolbars, then there's a mess no matter what style of icons are used.

By Jarosław Staniek at Wed, 11/21/2012 - 11:59