Gnome-Shell may be heading in a different direction given the recent delays and new unity-esque mock-ups shown at Guadec but one thing is for sure: the current darkly-toned look Shell rocks out with is not to everyone’s tastes.
With some tweaking and a bit of CSS users can customize Shell. There are limitations, particularly surrounding gradients and translucency, but with an idea, patience and some hard-work you can quickly knock Shell into shape.
Below a preview of an ‘Ambience’ style Shell theme by designer ~half-left.
The design isn’t complete just yet but the CSS style will be available to download as soon it is. Check it out in more detail, fave it and comment on it @ half-left.deviantart.com/art/GNOME-Shell-Ambiance-Theme