Canonical have hired Faenza icon maker Matthieu James to work on a new icon set for Ubuntu.

The news was revealed by Mark Shuttleworth during a community question and answer session earlier today.

Asked by us whether Ubuntu 13.04 would see changes to the default look and style of Ubuntu, Shuttleworth replied:

Yes. We have hired the amazing Matthieu [James], which means we can start the icon project.”

James’ squared Faenza icon set is one of the most popular third-party icon sets on Linux, having been downloaded 661,689 times from its DeviantArt page alone.

The last major change to Ubuntu’s icon set occurred during Ubuntu 9.10.

Theme Changes

The addition of James to the design team wasn’t the only ‘theme related’ revelation made by Ubuntu’s founder during the 1 hour session.

Mark also shared word on plans for Ubuntu to ‘work with a University team’ that are experts in typography, design and iconography’, to lend a ‘rigorous approach’ to the development of Ubuntu’s look.

This team-up with Reading University was mentioned by Mark last November, where he said:

“We have agreed to do a proper study on iconography, with the University of Reading, and lay out a roadmap for a new icon set, which we will welcome participation.”

‘Artistically,’ he added, ‘we have been exploring the full theme story beyond Ambiance/Radiance.’ 

“Beyond” Ambiance and Radiance? that sounds interesting. Could it be related to the ‘origami-inspired’ theme changes originally mooted for Ubuntu 12.10?

On that, we’ll have to wait and see.

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