Feast your eyes on the the following set of stunning icon themes for Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and other Linux desktops.

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Changing Ubuntu’s icon theme is a quick and easy way to give your desktop a bold new look and a touch more personality.

But with hundreds of full icon themes available it’s hard to know where to start!

Hence this post. We spotlight the best icon themes being made for Linux right now, ranging from subtle, flat, 2D glyphs to packs that lean heavier on gloss, gradient, and detail.

And since we keep this list of icon themes up to date you don’t have to worry about any of the links being broken or the packs outdated.

Ready to revamp your desktop?

Best Icon Themes for Ubuntu

1. Papirus Icon Theme

papirus icon theme

No list of the best icon themes for Linux distros like Ubuntu would be complete if it didn’t mention Papirus icons! This particular set is one of the most iconic icon packs produced in recent years, and I love it!

Colourful, inventive, and shapely: Papirus manages to maintain a visual cohesiveness despite the breadth of coverage — a plus that’s easy to take for granted. The developers behind the theme are also receptive to feedback. If an app is missing an icon you can request it be added by getting in touch with them through GitHub.

I’ve shown you how to install Paprius icon theme on Ubuntu before and —spoiler— it’s easy. Just open a new Terminal window and paste the following command to add the official Papirus Team PPA to your list of software sources:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:papirus/papirus

Once done, proceed to install the icon theme:

sudo apt install papirus-icon-theme

This PPA will also give you ongoing updates as and when released. This way you’ll always be using the latest designs and the latest icons.

2. Numix Circle

numix circle icon set

After a circular icon theme with lashings of color? There’s only one icon set up to the job: Numix Circle.

While the visual gimmick of setting every app inside the same shape can sometimes feel over the top and extreme (and make apps which don’t conform stand out even more) that’s not the case with Numix thanks to its exhaustive coverage.

The Numix Circle icon set now spans several thousand application icons, from old-time faves to citing-edge new ones, all of which are (no surprise) set within a circular frame.

You can install the Numix Circle icon theme on Ubuntu direct from the Ubuntu Software app but to install the latest version of the icon set (which I recommend) you add the official Numix PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:numix/ppa

Install the most recent version of the set with:

sudo apt install numix-icon-theme-circle

Adding this PPA also ensures you get future updates as and when released.

3. Qogir Icon Theme

Qogir icon theme for Linux

The Qogir icon pack is designed to compliment the (rather striking) Qogir GTK theme — but don’t feel put off if you don’t as it’s not a hard requirement..

Based on combination of the Arc, Faba and Tela icon sets, Qogir is billed by its author as a “flat colorful design icon theme for Linux desktops”.

But it’s not flat flat.

Pairing simple 2D glyphs with minimal layering and keeping to a set of consistent shapes, this icon pack maintains the balance between soft and inviting and serious and professional. Iconsin this set don’t look over designed or too cartoony.

Download the Qogir Icon Theme (.tar.gz)

To install Qogir icon theme on Ubuntu download the latest release from the link above. When the download is complete extract the archive and move the top level folder inside to the hidden ~/.icons folder in your Home directory. If this directory doesn’t exist, create it.

4. OS Catalina

Desktop Linux operating systems differ from their closed-source counterparts in many many ways. But the sheer amount of control you have over the way things look is perhaps the most prominent.

So if you want to make Ubuntu look like a Mac — you may like the look of the OS, but not its limitations — then an icon set like OS Catalina is an easy way to do that.

This icon pack is inspired by the look of modern macOS icons but it is not a verbatim copy of it. Instead, the authors carefully translate the overall motifs and concepts into an (arguably) softer and superior set to the real deal!

Download OS Catalina Icons (.zip)

To install this icon theme on Ubuntu first download the latest release from the link above. When the download is complete extract the archive. Then move the extracted folder to the hidden ~/.icons folder in your Home directory. If this directory doesn’t exist, create it.

5. Vimix

Vimix Icon Theme

Vimix icons is based on (but now very different to) the Paper icon theme popular a few years ago. While that theme started out as a material design one, it’s since evolved a look of its own.

Like Qogir, Vimix is designed to be used with the same-name GTK theme, but that’s not a concrete requirement. You can use it with any GTK theme you like.

The icon pack is distributed in a number of different colour variants, including red (‘ruby’), black, and purple (‘amethyst’). These can be downloaded and install individually, or you can use a command-line script to automate the process.

Link to Download Vimix

6. we10x

best icon themes we10x

Microsoft is (slowly) introducing a new design language for the Windows operating system and its accompanying app and services ecosystem. And the new look has found fans well beyond Redmond’s active user base, i.e. with Linux users.

But We10X icon set is not a 1:1 port of Windows icons for Linux. It’s not a clone. While it is heavily inspired by Windows’ “fluent” aesthetic, it interprets it independently, making allowances and deviations from the icons Microsoft dishing out where necessary.

Having a more familiar set of icons can, for some users, make it easier to use their system. Regardless of you reasons for wanting to use a pack like this the beauty of using Linux is that you can — so go for it!

Download We10x Icon Theme (.tar.gz)

To install We10x icons on Ubuntu first download the latest version of the pack using the link above. When the download is complete extract the archive and move the top level folder to the hidden ~/.icons folder in your Home directory. If this directory doesn’t exist, create it.

7. Obsidian

Obsidian Icon Theme

Do flat themes leave you feeling a little, well, flat? If so, definitely check out Obsidian.

Obsidian is a continuation of the Faenza icon theme that was insanely popular with Linux users a few years ago. Alas, Faenza itself is no longer updated.

Enter Obsidian. It reworks Faenza for 2020, packing in a stack of reworked and rewind icons for classic apps like Firefox, GIMP and LibreOffice, as well as support for newer software like Cawbird, Foliate, and GNOME Extensions.

There’s no fear of 3D elements here: Obsidian fully embraces gloss, lighting effects, drop shadows, and bevels. The result is icon pack with a pronounced and distinctive “tiled” look that is, in my opinion, rather unlike anything offered by any other Linux icon theme.

Download Obsidian from GitHub

To install Obsidian icons on Ubuntu download the latest version of the pack from the link above. When the download is complete extract the tar.xz archive and move the top level folder to the hidden ~/.icons folder in your Home directory. If this directory doesn’t exist, create it.

8. Newaita

Newaita Icon Theme

Last, but by no means least on this list is Newaita. It’s the current icon pack du jour in that everyone is talking about it — and it’s easy to see why!

It reminds me of the Tango desktop project that tried to curate a consistent look for Linux apps across toolkits and desktops, albeit a touch more modern. App icons aren’t super realistic, but they aren’t entirely characterless. In fact, some of the icons are superbly drawn.

The use of a border outline on most of the icons provides a distinctive look, with glyphs having a slightly raised appearance in situ. The inclusion of an optional dark set is a nice touch.

In short, Newaita icons gives the Linux desktop a bold, confident look that fuses modern trends in colour design with an older, more intricately modelled style.

Download Newaita Icons (.zip)

To install Newaita icons on Ubuntu first download the latest version of the pack, then extract the .zip archive when complete. Move both of the top level folders to the hidden ~/.icons folder in your Home directory. If this directory doesn’t exist, create it.

Themes to keep an eye on

There you have it: 8 exceptionally well-made full icon themes for Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and other distros, perfect for getting started with — but design trends don’t stay still and new icon packs are developed all the time.

While I chose to limit this list to just 8 (for now) there are scores of striking icons sets out there. If you’re a fan of soft look with pastel colours then there’s deft appeal in the Boston, Tela and Zafiro packs. Those after a circular set may want to sample Tela Circle.

If you’re using Ubuntu 18.04 LTS or above you may want to try out the new, improved upstream GNOME icons. The glyphs have a very distinct vibe of its own these days. Just install it from the Ubuntu Software app.

Finally, if you really dig the Yaru icons Ubuntu ships with, but wished the set covered more apps, then check out Yaru++. This provides a flood of additional Yaru style icons for a glut of additional apps.

How to Install Icon themes on Ubuntu

Some of the icon packs we’ve picked require you to manually install them — but don’t let this put you off as it’s not as hard or as complicated as you might think.

Related Story 11 Best GTK Themes for Ubuntu 18.04 +

First download the latest version of your chosen pack using the link(s) provided. Depending on the packaging this may come as a zip file or a .tar.gz — but it doesn’t matter.

When the download completes you need to extract the archive, i.e. right-click on it in the file manager and select ‘extract here’.

Finally, move the top level folder inside the extracted folder to the hidden ~/.icons folder in your Home directory. If this directory doesn’t exist, create it.

Press ctrl + h to show/hide hidden files and folders on Ubuntu

Now you’re all set. You can change icon theme similar to how you change Ubuntu theme: using the GNOME Tweaks app (see, there’s a reason I make getting it one of the top things to do after installing Ubuntu 😉).

Theme changes take effect instantly and can be “undone” quickly. This means you can confidently experiment with different sets to find the set-up that works the best (not to mention looks best) for you.

h/t Greg

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#Eye Candy #icon theme #papirus #qogir