My Current Take on the New V6 Icons

I’m going to make every effort to make an actual contribution. However, as I just downloaded Inkscape a few moments ago, I can not confirm that there will not be issues with my contributions.

It is also my plan to post the potential contributions here for feedback and possible corrections before formal submission.

No, not really, but I intentionally have not read the entirety of the mess of posts on the topic when the symbols first launched. It is my goal that you will be pleasantly surprised by my attempt to unify the new icons; the old icons will mostly go away. (One possibly saved to be known in the future as a KiCad quirk.)

Effort will be put into place to attempt to have the major ones done by tomorrow. However, I’m going to have to hit up the University of YouTube to learn Inkscape for it to happen in such a short period of time.

I do not agree with this; not for first time users.

The icons are very close, and understandable, for those of us that have been using the software for quite some time. What I found was that the smaller 5.99 icons are very hard to determine what they do by the icon itself. I simply know that whatever the icon looks like, it does what it does just because of it’s location.

A programs icons should present some graphical meaning. Just knowing that the location of the icon generates a certain action is not an indicator that the icon is a good one.

Where is this Icon located for KiCad V5.99?


It seems that I might need this *.svg file for unity.

Search for icon_pagelayout_editor on the link I posted above.

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I know the first four simply by order. 1 & 3 are fairly intuitive so 2 & 4 logically follow.

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A comment I have never forgotten, by a graphic artist friend, back in the last century, when dark pink and grey were all the rage for home decorating:
“Grey, and muted pastel colours, often seem trendy but tend to date rather quickly.”
She turned out to be right at the time, as far as kitchen renovations went.

I hope that with all the effort gone into the new icons, colour choice doesn’t render them stale and out of date in a couple of years.

Were the monkeys surveyed as to why certain colours remained clear of droppings? :slightly_smiling_face:

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Reminds me of kitchen appliances in “harvest gold”! I got rid of my 40 year old blender a few years ago. Sorry this comment does not relate much to KiCad… :frowning:

Our blender still works. It is 1970s chocolate brown and baby-sh1t yellow (probably bordering on the harvest gold).
The shapes of the logos are good but the shades of grey and blue tend to be a bit overpowering.
More contrasting greys on the gerber logo and green mountains, blue sky, yellow sun would help relieve the eye.
The last four logos only have four colours and and the same shape. To me the effect is a bit dud.

And now I will download 5.99 and have a play instead of offering armchair criticism.

I agree to this (and mostly I like the new, very clear style),

I once created an icon set for a friend who is a SW guy but color blind !
Man, his programs were good but ugly !

I soon found out that realistic icons are not necessarily the most easy to understand and color can be useful or confusing.
Many programs show me an icon to save my files on a 3.5" floppy disk !?

In my opinion an icon should be as plain and simple as possible but most of all: It should be unique and easily to memorize. When using KiCad I simply click on small images I got used to. I dont study the icon itself every time.

Lets not fight about THIS !

IMO an icon should be non-arbitrary enough to help memorize the meaning quickly and easily after the first time the user gets to know its meaning. It’s even better if the meaning can be guessed without prior knowledge. If possible, previous knowledge and consistency between other software, especially related software, should be retained (like with the Save floppy). Also the icon should resemble the target if possible. But it’s not possible to logically-mathematically follow these rules in every situation.

The more time the user spends with the software the more important the location, generic shape and color which distinguishes it from other icons become. Therefore it’s much more important to consider other things than to make an icon resemble its target realistically. Human brain is wired to handle analogies (i.e. different with some similarities), it’s much more important natural skill than identifying identical things.

I appreciate the viewpoint that the icons should be friendly to new users, but in this situation it would require hard evidence to tell which changes in the application icons would actually be important to a large portion of them.

There may be more efficient ways to to make the project view more intuitive. The project window is largely underutilized. Instead of the mostly unused, ugly and non-relevant message area there could be a task view with text explanations, like in many project oriented software, for example the schematic icon with “Switch to the schematic window” (along with “Create new project”, “Open recent project” etc.). A new user would very quickly learn what the icons mean.

At the moment there are also tooltips for icons. IMO every user should always check the tooltips in every software they ever use. That’s usually the quickest way to learn important functionality of new software, along with browsing through the main menus.


I really like the new icons, the only one that I dislike is the one for the page layout editor. To me, that icon is just deeply unintuitive because it focuses on the fields instead of the lines around the paper and between the fields - which is what I associate with the “look” of a page template. The inversion here is just too abstract - with the old icon you could guess the purpose even if you come from a software that doesn’t have the concept of a dedicated layout editor - with the new icon, you need to know what you are looking for and it still requires abstract thinking about the purpose instead of just clicking on “looks like the thing I want to open”.

I also agree with @eelik, in a few year of using KiCad, I’ve never once learned anything new from the log in the manager window. Why not just stack the icons vertically and place captions next to them. It’s a really simple change but it would give V6 a bit of a new “visual identity”. I would also change the grouping like this - with a heading and (2nd line of small text) for each entry:

Current Project
   Schematic (Open the root sheet of the project)
   PCB Design (Open the main PCB)
   Symbols (Edit project-specific and global symbol libraries)
   Footprints (Edit project-specific and global footprint libraries)
   Gerber Viewer (View stacks of Gerber files)
   EE Calculator (Calculator for common PCB and circuit design problems)
   Bitmap Vectorizer (Create footprints from bitmaps)
   Worksheets (Create and edit worksheet templates)

If no project is open, the grouping could change:

   Create new Project
   Open Project
   Open most_recent.kicad_pro (Last edited on 2021-02-07)
   Gerber Viewer (View stacks of Gerber files)
   Symbols (Edit global symbols)
   Footprints (Edit global footprints)
   EE Calculator (Run common PCB and circuit design calculations)
   Bitmap Vectorizer (Create footprints from bitmaps)
   Worksheets (Create and edit worksheet templates)

The symbol/footprint editor move between utilities and current project. The calculator should too eventually once it pulls data from the project / PCB stack-up. The word “project-specific” could be a link that opens the “manage footprint/symbols paths” window.

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FWIW, we chose the brownish paper for Eeschema, green for PCBNew, and blue for the “component” icons (ie: those things that go into either a schematic or pcb).

GerbView and PCB Calculator don’t really fit, so they got their own colours.

But the monkeys and over-caffeinated toddlers are a lot more fun…

the only way to please everyone is to please noone so I advocate KiCad becomes a CLI only toolsuite.
you can’t have disagreement about icons if there are none :wink:

as long as the schema is consistent and no glaring clash in colours it will be ok and I personally like the new icons and how they have improved over the last few months


We had already been discussing ideas for things like this, I think it would be neat too.


Oh, a derailment… yay :slight_smile:

Please make this an option, or you get the next discussion.
If it were to me you could get rid of this anchor window altogether and only bring the project manager up when one is dealing with managing the project from whatever tool one uses at the time.
The file explorer tree to the left is as useless as the log window on the right IMHO.

Decades ago - damn, time flies - I used a software called 3D Studio (from Autodesk).
They had different programs (just like KiCAD) for dealing with 2D shapes, then 3D models from those shapes, then another one for dealing with animations… aso asf.
Once they brought this software into windows they put all of this into one, which is the standard for all 3D CAD software afai-aware these days (no, I don’t say they did come up with it).
No idea how this concept can translate into KiCAD, but might be worth thinking about it?

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These icons need to look good in 16x16 size as well, there is no space for making resistors dual colored and such details.
It really doesn’t matter that the tiny piece of schematic depicted on the icon doesn’t look like it would in eeschema. What matters is that the graphic is easily associated with schematic and it does the job. And color or shape is sufficiently different to other icons so that’s good for quick visual identification.

We now have multiple versions of the main program icons so they are already different in 16x16 form than in the larger forms used in the launcher (however, that doesn’t mean we want to use a lot more colors in the big versions…)


This is the only place where full project path is displayed.
I use subfolders for project versions, and knowing which version ProjectX is open is important to me.
Of course, there are other ways of displaying full path and the huge text output window is not necessary for this.



I agree that the log window is largely a waste of space - it would be far more useful if it displayed something relevant to the current project - some statistics on the design for instance - revision dates, component counts, stack up details, ERC /DRC status, board and schematic previews and ideally some sort of version control information.
The tree view is quite useful in my mind - quick access to various resources - datasheets, renderings, boms, et c directly from within KiCad. On macOS at least these open appropriate applications - .csv./.html all supported.

The KiCAD main window has changed. It looks much better, but we really need to get back the display of the full path to the project somewhere. I have two parallell project folders for the 5.99 version and the 5.1.x version, and when opening a project in either of them I cannot risk that they get mixed up.

I really do not think there are much issues with the new icons in the main window. Effort is better spent evaluating the many icons with inappropriate red warning marks that are also often hard to distinguish at small sizes in the schematic editor.

Application: KiCad

Version: (5.99.0-9098-g25f621e880), release build

wxWidgets 3.1.4
libcurl/7.74.0-DEV Schannel zlib/1.2.11

Platform: Windows 10 (build 19042), 64-bit edition, 64 bit, Little endian, wxMSW

Build Info:
Date: Feb 13 2021 09:50:03
wxWidgets: 3.1.4 (wchar_t,STL containers)
Boost: 1.75.0
OCC: 7.4.0
Curl: 7.74.0-DEV
ngspice: 33
Compiler: Visual C++ 1928 without C++ ABI

Build settings:

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