New icons in nightly

So there are new icons in the nightly that solve some issues with licensing and dark themes.

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What do you think? I have to say, I’m not a fan of the dark grey being dominant everywhere even if it works better in dark themes.
There is no reason why main large icons in the launcher should be completely devoid of color. When I first saw them I was convinced that it’s a new colorblind mode that got enabled inadvertently instead of them being real icons.

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Because the source is svg, I wonder if they could be paremeterized for different colors.

I’d have to use them a bit (and since I’m not testing out nightlies, I really won’t know my final opinion until after the RCs start coming out) to be sure what I think. One thing that I spotted right away because it stands out is the use of the red glyphs on some of the icons. I like that. The red glyphs are like the verb of what the button does, and the rest is the context (the object in sentence structure terms) of the icon’s meaning. I’ll miss the bug icons for ERC/DRC, but the new one does look a little more professional.

The color scheme of the icons is already an issue on gitlab:

And also in an “epic” about implementation of the new icons:

Apparently there is not much love yet for the grey icons.
Maybe I can get used to them (after looking for years at the other familiar icons) and maybe they’ll get a bit more colorful over time. (Higher contrast is one of the things mentioned in the “epic”.) At the moment the icons still seem to be in flux and changes are still being made.

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Note: this set is not designed to solve the issues with dark themes. We will (in the future) have two icon sets, one for light themes and one for dark. The current new icons (which are still being iterated on) are the “light mode” set.

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These things are always likely to be quite personal but I really rather like the cool muted palette - the icon set looks more professional and coherent - certainly an improvement on macOS. Few more tweaks might be needed but this is a very good start.

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Each release have its own set of icons so I will have to get used to them again :roll_eyes:
I like the previous set more - more colors make them easier to distinguish, now I must focus more to distinguish the shades of grey or pale colors, some more contrast would make them a lot better for me.
And icons with PCB should be green because PCBs are green, aren’t they :wink:

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PCB Editor and Gerber Viewer icons are way too similar in this scheme

I really don’t like this set

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The icon theme follows the modern minimal flat trend. Within some years it may look outdated.

Minimal color set (two contrasting colors) is good in small mobile phones where there are only few icons visible at one time. However, in desktop environment it’s not good. The shapes in the new icons are distinct and I like that and those shapes very much. But in normal use the users follow all visual hints when they navigate through the UI. It’s not possible now using colors. Even a plain colored box would be a good enough for an icon in daily use after the user has learned to use the UI instinctively. Plain shapes may be more difficult. I haven’t read any scientific research about this but this is my instinct.

Now the calculator, one of the less important part of the project manager, stands out with the orange color. All red details stand out as if they were warning signs because everything else is so colorless.

Othewise the icons look good and professional and mostly I like the change, but colors (or lack of them) aren’t so good.

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I have never liked the kicad icons. With UX design in my background i tend to pick on stuff like this (too much). For me the “visual weight” and image outline is not at all consistent - feels like they come from very different designers. However, the set above does seem to go for a better harmonization than what it is now.

KiCAD operates on three different OSes which all have different emphasis on style and use of color, weight etc. Not too easy to make it work well (unless it supports icons for each OS).

They are certainly functional and that is most important - lots of other fish to fry before picking on icons.

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The project view app icons have been updated:

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Each one has more distinguishable look. It takes time to get used to the new blue color for the board and fp editors, but it actually reflects the new board color scheme better where the front copper is blue.

I wonder why the gerbview icon has “Ki” while the others don’t, but it’s OK for me.

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This is a bit offtopic, but IMO “native look & feel” is overrated. Such thing doesn’t actually even exist in reality and I don’t see any good reason to try to achieve that for a large desktop application. It’s much much more important to be self-consistent.

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Hi there,

please, add some more colour. Colour lets me distinguish between those icons more easily. Working with colour keeps one longer concentrated. As to my 0,02 €.

Cheers

Aquila

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I wonder why the pads have a hole when the Gerber drawings normally don’t. But it’s also OK for me :wink:

One trend I noticed in some CAD tools is moving away from icons altogether. I would definitely prefer that approach. If you crate a logical and easy to use shortcut system (such as hierarchical keyboard shortcuts) then you don’t need to take up space with icons in an already crowded GUI. I personally use icons only when there is really no other way to do something.

Well chosen icons are far easier for casual users.
Start using text menus more and you run into language problem for users who are not native to one of the small choice of KiCad translations

Especially for those of us here who are here giving away free support. I don’t want to have to learn what each OS decides is best for the button graphics. It’s bad enough keeping track of the other OS level things. But If I (on Win10) give a screenshot (or sequence of screenshots for a process) I want to be sure that the person whom I’m trying to help will see something very nearly identical if they are running the same version of KiCad as I am no matter what OS they are using.

Can you imagine the hassle of fielding all the “but my bottons don’t look like that” issues with different OSs using different icon packs to match the OS look and feel (or even worse on Linux break that granularity down to different DEs using different icon packs for “native look & feel”…)

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And how do you get to learn what an icon actually means without reading something first? As a not native user I can suggest that localization is not really such a big problem. Besides, I’m not really advocating here use of menus but rather a robust hierarchical keyboard shortcuts and menus as a backup. I would agree that with the current keyboard shortcuts you probably wouldn’t be able to do that.

If I was a betting man I would say that if you included some data collecting with KiCad to track GUI buttons presses, you would be surprised just how few people use them and from those that do, just how few buttons from the standard set are actually being used.

TL;DR

  • Colors are bad when they serve no purpose
  • Colors are great when they help the brain get important information fast
  • There is some inconsistencies and overlooks on the current set of icons

I think those icons are flawed and inconsistent in many ways. However, they are beautifully crafted and clearly feel like the step towards a contemporary flat GUI that even the big bad EDA will be envious of… x)

The lack of colors is tiring: I cannot figure out what is what here:
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Colors are fast to the brain. Very fast. If some of you remember how fast Quake III was to understand for new players, you may also remember how vivid and well colored were each category of items in the game.

A good example of color usage is with FreeCad where action groups have their ‘ambiance’.

On the other side, you can look at the new Inkscape dark (snapshot) that looks almost as licked as a $5000 software full of bugs coughadobecough.
I think the simpleness and expressiveness of the icons speak for itself here.

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Given those examples, what seems to work the best is that all icons should be working monochrome first, and then colors could be used to convey even more information, either dynamic (notifications) or shortcuts for the brain (categorization).

That’s why I believe the pink accent on icons is overkill. It doesn’t convey information. A simple round placeholder that is using the same color as the icon is enough for the task here.

Now, some details I noticed here and there.

The down arrow to indicate “Place” could be replaced with a more expressive (+). The cursor already has this pictographic terminology when adding a symbol, and that type of actions are named " Add Symbol", Add Hierarchical Sheet… etc…
The Add hierarchical sheet and label icon are not great at all. The icon representing Hierarchy Sheets in general already exists and is well understood (tree of boxes). Why not simply take the already existing icon and add a + in a circle, like it has been made with the “Leave Sheet” icon?

On the opposite, the down arrow for “Import hierarchical sheet pin” is perfect. It conveys the fact that something that is already existing as data will be used. Great.
The “Paste” circle could also be a down arrow instead of the lined square imo. I didn’t understood what the table stands for.

The “No connection cross” is too big compared with the other features displayed.
The annotation icon could be R?->R1 to get even more eggspressive.
Edit Symbol is missing its edit pen.
Report bug could be a bug over a file (file bug or bug report) instead of a checklist
List hotkey looks like we are about to graph some UML stuff there. A simple cubic Key could do the job.
Configure path could be a folder with a cogwheel.

So yeah, lots of little tweaks. Here is my shot at making some icons, just to show what I have in mind for the hierarchy mostly. And yes, bring the bug back x)
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A big thank you to the creator of those icons. That was a big task and it looks awesome already (check this out guys: https://gitlab.com/kicad/code/kicad/-/tree/master/bitmaps_png/sources).

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But that is the whole point of Icons. They should be easily recognizable individually. The more they look alike, the further they are from being useful.

“Picking” on icons now is an issue because of the recent change, and because of the upcoming KiCad V6. Once V6 is released there probably won’t be much change in icons for a long time.

@eelik Printing “Ki” on the icon for Gerbview is a weird choice. Gerbers are a universal file format and can be made with many programs not related to KiCad. “Ki” does not add any hint that the icon has to do with gerbers. The Icon looks more like it would be for editing PCB’s with KiCad, so that would be Pcbnew.
The old harsh black & white of the Gerber icon makes it instantly clear that it is some interface that works “outside” the standard design process (produces output, end of the line) and the big “GBR” clarifies it even further. For reference, here are the old icons again:
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