[ubuntu-art] "Union" Theme

Ken Vermette vermette at gmail.com
Wed Dec 26 02:24:09 GMT 2007

Thanks for the input everyone, I'll have a batch of improvements ready for
tomorrow night. If I missed you, please tell me.

Anyway, several issues were mentioned, I'll recap them and cover solutions,
since this theme I hope to handle differently than BasicIdeals, I'm going to
explain the design decisions and offer solutions. If you feel strongly about
any input that was declined, please post reasons why it would benefit so I
have a batter understanding:

---- The top Panel & Bottom panel are different colours. (bug)----
They should technically be the same, other than the bolder lines on the
inner-most sides of the panels. This theme has been ruthlessly edited
because I wasn't happy with several elements, and in the effort of using as
few unique gradients as possible (creating consistency) several gradients
connected to panels were inadvertently adjusted when modifying window
gradients. I fixed each panel individually, instead of deleting one panel
and copying the corrected anel to both top and bottom (which I usually do).

I'll do that step for the next mockup, so no matter what the panels
themselves will be the same. If they still appear different, it may be
because the wallpaper in the example is darker on the bottom.

---- Window Contents & Transparency (informational)----
Currently the plan is to use a tweaked GTK+ using Cimi's mod, which enables
GTK transparency. Because Cimi created the update him/herself, I honestly
don't know what to expect in terms of widget possibilities. Overall the
actual contents will loosely resemble the look in the link below with human


---- Variant Transparency in Panels (design)----
The panels in Union have an opaque-transparent-opaque pattern, with the
center of each panel being more transparent than the outside. This is
intentional, as users have a tendency to place icons, clocks & the
application on the far sides, while expanding & button contents consume the
center. Overall, it's just a method used to get users to see transparency
where it's less likely to make things look messy.

If possible (I don't know if it is, but I would use it in a second if we
could do this) would be to have an areas between panel elements be more
transparent, while having panel elements use a more opaque background.
8.04is meant to be a more stable version of
7.10, so ideally we want to use as few experimental technologies as
possible. Per Pixel Transparency is a push, but I think it gives such a
dramatic effect that it's one new technology really worth pushing forward.

---- Active Window Transparency (design)----
The current mockup has the active window use a transparency level on-par
with inactive windows. To signify an active window from an inactive variant,
there's brighter spotlights, orange glows on the top/bottom of the windows,
and the "frame line" is the same shade of orange.

The decision to keep active windows within a similar opacity is so the users
wallpaper can leak through the window. The theme itself, in solid colours,
is extremely boring, it's essentially all tan with few highlights. Because
most users will change desktop backgrounds (even if they do keep most other
defaults) I want the background to do the work for us in making the theme
feel rich. The full transparency will also help push the theme forward as a
unique identity from other operating systems.

Even if the window itself is not enough to portray itself as active, widgets
will also assist as they will be flattened when inactive. Mac OSX uses
similar techniques. Adjustments will however be made should widgets not
provide enough.

---- Buttons (design) ----
I'm still unsure of what to do with the buttons. I want them to be unique,
simple, practical and stylish. They will not be from the BasicIdeals theme,
and they will not be straight buttons. I'm still working on a few concepts,
but please, if you have buttons you like please link them!

I'm considering something similar to the style of the buttons where you only
see the symbol, but no visible button frame.

---- The orange is too bright (design) ----
I agree. I'm going to move them closer to orange than yellow.
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