Themes Ubuntu

The 12 Most Beautiful Linux Icon Themes of 2018

Written by Martins D. Okoi

You might think it will take you forever to settle on the ideal icon theme for your Linux desktop because there are a thousand and one options to choose from. And although that might be the case, it doesn’t have to be.

Below is a list of the 10 most beautiful icon themes you can set up on your Linux machine this year. You can install some of them together with the themes they come bundled as a large project (like in the case of Paper,) or install them to use with different GTK and/or Gnome shell themes completely.

1. Flat Remix Icons

Flat Remix Icons theme is inspired by material design. It features mostly flat icons with shadows, highlights, and gradients for some depth based on its beautifully contrasted colour palette. It is part of the Flat Remix project which also includes a Material Design-inspired GNOME and GTK theme.

Flat Remix Icon Theme

Flat Remix Icon Theme

Install Flat Remix Icons theme using following PPA in Ubuntu and Linux Mint.

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

On Fedora based distributions.

$ sudo dnf copr enable daniruiz/flat-remix
$ sudo dnf install flat-remix-gnome

Other Linux distributions, install manually as shown.

# git clone https://github.com/daniruiz/flat-remix &&
# mkdir -p ~/.icons && cp -r flat-remix/Flat-Remix* ~/.icons/ &&
# gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface icon-theme "Flat-Remix"

2. Paper Icon Theme

Paper Icon Theme is an open source FreeDesktop icon project. Its icons have a modern Material Design look with rounded corners. It’s a part of the Paper project which also includes cursors and a theme with light and dark color variants.

Paper Icon Theme for Linux

Paper Icon Theme for Linux

Install Paper Icon theme using following PPA in Ubuntu and Linux Mint.

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:snwh/pulp
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install paper-icon-theme paper-gtk-theme

For RPM-based distributions, repositories for Paper Theme and installation instructions for both Fedora and openSUSE are available on the openSUSE build system.

For Arch Linux, there is a Arch User Repository package(s) that provide both the Paper icons and GTK theme.

3. Lüv Icon Theme

Lüv (formerly Flattr) is a beautiful and somewhat glossy icon theme for any modern Desktop Environment. Lüv comes in its git repo alongside a badge of complimentary wallpapers suited of it.

Luv Icon Theme for Linux

Luv Icon Theme for Linux

To install Lüv Icon Theme, follow the installation instructions here: https://github.com/Nitrux/luv-icon-theme.

4. Shadow Icon Theme

Shadow is a flat icon theme with colourful icons that all have a circular base and a long shadow (probably the reason for the name).

Shadow Icon Theme for Linux

Shadow Icon Theme for Linux

Install Shadow Icon Theme using following PPA in Ubuntu and Linux Mint.

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:noobslab/icons
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install shadow-icon-theme

Other Linux distributions, follow these instructions to install it.

$ mkdir -p ~/.icons
$ cd ~/.icons
$ git clone https://github.com/rudrab/Shadow.git

Activate the theme using tweak-tool or from the command line:

$ gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface icon-theme "Shadow"

5. Oranchelo Icons Theme

Oranchelo icons is a set of beautiful background-less icons with a Material Design-inspired colour palette and flat long shadows. Think of it as a set of Cornie Icons for the Linux desktop.

Oranchelo Icon Theme

Oranchelo Icon Theme

Install Oranchelo Icons Theme using following PPA in Ubuntu and Linux Mint.

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

On Other Linux distributions, you can install it manually as shown.

$ git clone https://github.com/OrancheloTeam/oranchelo-icon-theme.git
$ cd oranchelo-icon-theme
$ ./oranchelo-installer.sh

6. Surfn

Surfn is a colourful icon theme that is based on four different icon themes: Ultra Flat icons, Super Flat remix icons, Yltra Flat icons, and Numix (Circle) icons.

Surfn Icon Theme for Linux

Surfn Icon Theme for Linux

It takes more steps than a couple of commands to install Surfn so you’re better off following the instructions as listed on its GitHub page or else, you can use following commands to

$ mkdir -p ~/.icons
$ cd ~/.icons
$ git clone https://github.com/erikdubois/Super-Ultra-Flat-Numix-Remix
$ cd Super-Ultra-Flat-Numix-Remix

7. Papirus Icon Theme

Papirus is an SVG-based icon theme with a material and flat style. All its elements have clear outlines with distinct colour tones available in 6 variants.

Papirus Icon Theme for Linux

Papirus Icon Theme for Linux

Install Papirus Icon Theme using following PPA in Ubuntu and Linux Mint.

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

On Other Linux distributions, you can use the scripts to install the latest version directly.

$ wget -qO- https://raw.githubusercontent.com/PapirusDevelopmentTeam/papirus-icon-theme/master/install.sh | sh

8. Numix Circle Icon Theme

Numix Circle is the latest improvement of the icon theme set contained in the Numix project. All its icons have a circle container with well thought out shadows.

Numix Circle Icon Theme

Numix Circle Icon Theme

Install Numix Circle Icon Theme using following PPA in Ubuntu and Linux Mint.

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

On Fedora distributions.

$ sudo dnf install numix-icon-theme-circle

9. Xenlism Icon Theme

Xenlism is a technological graphics project bound to improve your desktop’s overall UI/UX. Its design-focused minimalism and realism are inspired by Nokia’s Meego and Apple’s iOS icons theme.

Xenlism Icon Theme

Xenlism Icon Theme

Install Xenlism Icon Theme use the following instructions in Ubuntu and Linux Mint.

$ sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keys.gnupg.net --recv-keys 90127F5B
$ echo "deb http://downloads.sourceforge.net/project/xenlism-wildfire/repo deb/" | $ sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install xenlism-wildfire-icon-theme

On Other Linux distributions, you can follow the installation instructions here.

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10. Uniform Icon Theme

Uniform is a beautiful icon theme set that ironically, has differently shaped containers for each icon. Its design is achieved by maintaining the same pattern instead of drawing the same container – a style the developer decided on after testing “every shape on the planet to get a unique and original theme” and then flipping the table to unshape everything.

Uniform Icon Theme

Uniform Icon Theme

Install Uniform Icon Theme using following PPA in Ubuntu and Linux Mint.

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:noobslab/icons2
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install uniform-icons

On Arch Linux, install using yaourt command.

# yaourt -S uniform-icon-theme

11. FlatWoken Icon Theme

FlatWoken is a derivative of AwOken icon theme developed to be a complete set of icon themes for Linux and Android. It features colourful icons with shadow gradients all enclosed in square-shaped containers with rounded corners.

It contains multiple icon styles for the same app as well as multiple icon styles for system and user icons.

FlatWoken Icon Theme

FlatWoken Icon Theme

Install FlatWoken Icon Theme in Ubuntu and Linux Mint using the following instructions.

From your preferred directory in the terminal type:

$ git clone https://github.com/alecive/FlatWoken.git

cd into the FlatWoken folder and mv the folders named “FlatWoken” and “FlatWokenMin” into your ~/.icons directory (create the directory if it doesn’t exist).

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You can now set FlatWoken or FlatWokenMin as your theme using the Gnome tweak tool or your favourite alternative.

12. Lila HD Icon Theme

Lila HD icons are square-shaped with a dark overlay diagonally cutting across. Unlike flat-style icons, Lila HD icons are skeuomorphic, thus having a more tangible appearance.

Apart from its default colour scheme, it comes in Blue, Crimson, Dark, green, Kaki, Light grey, and Purple variants. It also contains cursor, reload, navigation, etc. icons which all work together to provide a uniform Desktop Experience.

Lila HD Icon Theme

Lila HD Icon Theme

Install Lila HD Icon Theme in Ubuntu and Linux Mint using the following instructions.

$ git clone https://github.com/ilnanny/Lila-HD-icon-theme.git

Copy the files to your directory

$ cp -r Lila-HD-icon-theme/Lila_HD /usr/share/icons/
$ cp -r Lila-HD-icon-theme/Lila_HD_Blue /usr/share/icons/
$ cp -r Lila-HD-icon-theme/Lila_HD_Dark /usr/share/icons/
$ cp -r Lila-HD-icon-theme/Lila_HD_Green /usr/share/icons/
$ cp -r Lila-HD-icon-theme/Lila_HD_Kaki /usr/share/icons/
$ cp -r Lila-HD-icon-theme/Lila_HD_Light-Grey /usr/share/icons/
$ cp -r Lila-HD-icon-theme/Lila_HD_Purple /usr/share/icons/
$ cp -r Lila-HD-icon-theme/Lila_HD_Crimson /usr/share/icons/
$ cp -r Lila-HD-icon-theme/Lila_HD-cursor /usr/share/icons/
$ mv /usr/share/icons/default /usr/share/icons/default-bk

Make icon cache for Lila-HD-icon-theme

cd Lila-HD-icon-theme/
sh icon-cache-maker.sh

On Other Linux distributions, you can follow the installation instructions here.

Notable Mention:

Vivacious Colors is a beautiful theme that comes with so many personalization options. Of course, they come at a price. This icon theme requires about 55 MB of space and with GTK Icon Cache Files, could require up to 280 MB.

Vibrancy Colors Icon Theme

Vibrancy Colors Icon Theme

Install Vivacious Colors using following PPA in Ubuntu and Linux Mint.

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ravefinity-project/ppa
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install vivacious-colors-gtk-dark
$ sudo apt-get install vivacious-colors-gtk-light

Is your favourite icon theme included in my list? Let me know about other icon themes that should have made it to the list or, at least, to the notable mention section in the comments box below.

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About the author

Martins D. Okoi

Martins Divine Okoi is a graduate of Computer Science with a passion for Linux and the Open Source community. He works as a Graphic Designer, Web Developer, and programmer.