The stock GNOME Shell theme will soon look a little consistent with the new Adwaita GTK theme.

The theme is flatter in places, rounder in places, and now more consistent

GNOME’s design team have made a number of changes designed to bring the shell theme in sync with the default Adwaita GTK theme, which was dramatically revamped for the release of GNOME 3.32 earlier this year.

The improvements headed to the desktop are likely to feature in the upcoming GNOME 3.34 release, due September.

Just don’t get too excited.

Improved Theme in GNOME Shell 3.34

GNOME Shell 3.34 theme tweaks

“There’s been a number of changes in adwaita. Once the dust settles we need to fold those changes back to the shell,” explains the bug report, now closed, and neatly summarised in a recent commit.

Most of the changes coming could be classed as marginal, modest or minor — so if you have a hard time spotting the difference in any of screenshots in this post don’t be too hard on yourself!

Among the changes is a considered effort to make highlight, background and hover colours more consistent between GTK and Shell theme, particularly with regards to OSD elements.

OSD elements also pick up some improved shadowing to “improve visibility” when they’re set against a dark wallpaper.

Also benefiting from improved contest is the “Applications Overview” screen . The backdrop is now darker, a change designed to make text labels more legible (though personally I’d rather a nice gaussian blur effect):

You may have noticed that switches, sliders and toggles also appear to have more ‘presence’ (thanks to bolder outlines), and rounder corners fearer in various UI elements, like the search box in the apps grid screenshot above.

The best way to describe the changes is flatter, rounder, and more consistent:

  • Colour updates based on the regular light version of Adwaita
  • Prep for Adwaita dark mode being more readily accessible
  • Redesigned switches
  • Consistent foreground and background colours
  • More rounding on menu-bars and popovers

Nothing major or shocking, but welcome all the same.

You can see a video overview of the shell changes in this before and after video put together by BabyWogue and best watched with the sound off:

News Video adwaita gnome 3.34 GNOME Shell Themes