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Themes Ubuntu

10 Best Icon Themes for Ubuntu (2021 Edition)

Best Icon Themes for Ubuntu
Written by Divine Okoi
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Icon theme packs and theme sets are the easiest way to adapt the look and feel of your operating system to your taste. By extension, it is also the quickest. What is convenient about employing icon themes is the fact that you need not make any significant changes to your machine. Just install the icon pack you want (preferably along with a fitting theme), set your wallpaper, and that’s it.

Today’s focus is on the 10 best exceptional icon themes you can apply to your Ubuntu or similar distro irrespective of your desktop environment.

The following are listed in no particular order.

1. WhiteSur

WhiteSur is a macOS Big Sur style icon theme. It is my favorite macOS theme for Ubuntu desktops because of how well it nails the Apple aesthetic.

WhiteSur Icon Theme

WhiteSur Icon Theme

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The most reliable way to install WhiteSur is on GNOME-Look.

2. Flat Remix

Flat Remix icon is a material design-inspired icon theme. Its icons are mostly flat with a colorful palette, highlights, some shadows, and gradients for depth.

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:daniruiz/flat-remix
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install flat-remix-gnome
Flat Remix Theme

Flat Remix Theme

3. Lüv

Lüv is a beautiful flat-style icon theme. It is the successor to Flattr that maintains its eye candy minimalist icons without a background.

Lüv Icon Theme

Lüv Icon Theme

Follow the download instructions on GitHub.

  The Perfect Eye Candy Theme for Linux: Flat Remix Icons Theme

4. We10x

We10x is a Microsoft-style icon theme. Although it is not an exact clone of Microsoft’s icon base, it applies the Redmond giant’s flexibility and is able to independently fit the aesthetics to match.

We10X Icon Theme

We10X Icon Theme

To install We10x icons on Ubuntu first download the latest version of the pack from here.

Extract the archive when the download is complete and move it to the hidden ~/.icons folder in your Home directory. Create this directory if it doesn’t exist.

5. Numix Circle

Numix Circle is an icon theme developed by the Numix project which is responsible for other beautiful icon sets and themes.

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:numix/ppa
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install numix-icon-theme-circle
Numix Circle Theme

Numix Circle Theme

6. Oranchelo

Oranchelo is a flat-design icon theme inspired by Corny icons. It features background-less icons and flat long shadows.

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:oranchelo/oranchelo-icon-theme
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install oranchelo-icon-theme
Oranchelo Icon Theme

Oranchelo Icon Theme

7. Papirus

Papirus is an open-source SVG icon theme. Although it is based on Paper Icon Set, it features tons of new icons and other extras like support for folder colors, KDE colour scheme, Hardcore-Tray support, etc.

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:varlesh-l/papirus-pack
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install papirus-gtk-icon-theme
Papirus Circle Theme

Papirus Circle Theme

8. Tela

Tela is a flat colorful design icon theme without backgrounds or external shadows. It is based on numix, papirus, and paper icon themes.

$ sudo snap install tela-icons
Tela Icon Theme

Tela Icon Theme

9. Vimix

Vimix is a material design icon theme based on the popular Paper icon theme. The quickest way to install it is from GNOME-Look.

Vimix Icon Theme

Vimix Icon Theme

How to Install Icon Themes on Ubuntu

Some of the listed icon themes need to be manually installed. Don’t get worked up yet; the process is easier than it sounds.

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Start by downloading the latest version of the icon theme. Depending on the packaging this may come as a zip file or a .tar.gz — but it doesn’t matter. Extract the archive when the download completes.

Lastly, move the top-level folder inside the extracted folder to the hidden ~/.icons folder in your Home directory. Create the directory in that location if there isn’t one already.

Press Ctrl + H to show/hide hidden files and folders on Ubuntu and you’re good to go. You can use the GNOME Tweak app or Linux Mint appearance tool to set your theme. These apps enable you to make changes to your UI and see the effect in real-time.

Have fun styling your desktop!

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About the author

Divine Okoi

Divine Okoi is a cybersecurity postgrad with a passion for the open-source community. With 700+ articles covering different topics in IT, you can always trust him to inform you about the coolest tech.