Why mono colored icons for blender 2.8?

I think the UI is an important part of the software development, it`s real devlopment. It’s the first impression you have of the software and accompanies you through the whole process. It’s also the first impression what a new user has.
What is the use of best software, if working with it is horrible?

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The existence of individuals who “are fine” with the new icons is no counter argument for any of the points made about their readability. “fine-ness” is, if it even is a measure, personal and aesthetically influenced.
If 10 out of every 20 machines made in a factory do not work, the fact that 10 work is not proof that the design of the machines is right.

My point is the fact that you use both icon sets at a larger scale normalises the readability of the icons, making contrast less of a factor. Because everything is much easier to read when it’s big.

People do have trouble differentiating the icons. The contrast design principles and scale of differentiation given by varying types of contrasts is fact.
I have not ‘attacked’ mono icons, I have displayed reasons why they are worse at performing their primary function than the old icons which utilised more than just form.

Just because the icons “work” for someone (i.e. they don’t notice or care about the readability issues, and ‘like’ the icons, or they have such immaculately fantastic vision it does not factor in, or they have such fantastic muscle memory that visual cues make almost no difference etc.), does not mean that the icons design principles are good. This is no paradox, people like terrible things all the time, people work with terrible tools all the time and aren’t even bothered by it.

If I were to cut down a tree with a butter knife, and I said it ‘worked’, I ‘liked’ it, thought it was a fine solution, that does not mean that a butter knife is a good tool for cutting down a tree. It does not invalidate any arguments suggesting it is a terrible tool for that job.

Another useless “you can customise it” excuse.
I’m blaming the icons design principles and the ui implementation surrounding them. The mono icons require high levels of value contrast in order to be readable, this makes them pop more from the interface than the old icons. You could set their value lower, but then the icons would be even harder to read, because you’re left with no other form of contrast to seperate them from the backgorund.

I have not generalised about anything. I am simply not addressing single icons or the design of single icons. If I were I would be talking about particular shapes or symbols, iconography. I am talking about the design decisions behind the entire iconset and the theme systems surrounding that. I can not be specific about icons because no single icon is perfectly indicative of the entire set and it’s design philosophy. I can not address the readability of singular icons without first addressing the design principles behind those icons that directly influence their readability and the design changes allowed to that singular icon. In order to talk about these things, the iconset has to be taken as a whole complete thing.


Yea, i’ve been keenly using 2.8 , and im not phased at all by UI redesign or key changes, im totally fine with adapting to new things, and my workflow has changed to suit the new design, but im a sucker for visual things like themes and colors in the UI, so i would love colored icons just for the sake of them looking cool, nothing to do with ease of use. Im the sort of person that goes looking for skins to jazz up bland software and apps on my pc especially if they are monochromatic.
But yea i do get mixed up with that world icon and materials icon because they look very similar at a glance so colors might well help differentiate them.


Could someone tell me where the icon sheet is? I asked in the thread and was directed to the first post but could not find anything but a bunch of confusing links to various pages without a download.

Hi, the sheet is in the 1. post, the .svg is white on white background.
You can download with right click > save as.
I failure on this too some time ago. :yum:

Cheers, mib

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New icons for Blender 2.8 This thread? I can’t see an svg on a white background in the first post. I am so confused :thinking: :frowning:

Yes, its this thread, the first posting. The icons get close to invisible on white background.

Here you are, download with context menu RMB > Save image as …


Cheers, mib

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Thank you!

Similar thread for Solidworks when they went kinda monochrome:

I’m with Antaioz on this one. Although I may get used to it, when I’m looking for the world icon I’m spending time interpreting the shape, which takes longer than looking for a color (in the same area). With things moved in 2.80, I’m finding myself constantly ctrl+scrolling in those icons.

Mono looks cleaner, less cluttered. But to me it doesn’t improve anything efficiency wise, quite the opposite - recognizing color is faster than recognizing shape.


Yeah, following trends without real benefits is a weakness. Flat/mono is a curse.

Blender went hard to use. :v:


Have you Seen Office 365?
The same Problem: Not readable.

I do Not understand this behaviour to want this monochrom soup so hard.

Is it possible to scale only the icons bigger?

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I guess not, unless you hack the source code and compile it yourself. :v:

It’s as laughable as you wanting others to invest their time and money in doing what you want. Your points come across as entitlement, as do @Antaioz’s, not because you’re wrong or right, but because you’re not willing to get involved.

@jendrzych is a go-getter, he’s delivering work and causing change. And this is coming from me who also prefer the old icon style.

(Emphasis mine)
Why do they need to hear anything?
Stop writing text.
Show them. Make a mockup of what you think would look better.
Armchair criticism is not gonna have any impact.

This is open-source development. Since we’re in a hierarchy and have no stock / leverage in this decision, the best thing we can do is submit constructive criticism and move on.

I cannot “get involved”, because the decisions are not up to me. The most I can do, and am doing, is bringing these issues to light.

So, what are you saying here? Should devs not listen to feedback pointing out significant usability issues in their design?

The old icon sheet.

This is what I’m doing. What anyone who understands is doing. Offering the constructive criticism and feedback on the new icon style.
I’m not going to sit here however and let someone attempt to nullify criticisms with flimsy arguments and opinionated aesthetic driven responses that are false, irrelevant, or merely points about how I or someone else “comes across”. So I shall continue to rebuttal such comments.

:notes:…I’ve been dreading the flatness of you and me, x and y, never revolving into xyz… would it kill you to let me right click select - or not use mono coloured icons… :bomb: it’s Blender… cg experts are never in short supply…:notes:


This is a good question. I know setting a layout item’s scale_x and scale_y attributes in pre 2.8 will not affect the size of icons used inside it. Are icons still restricted to a fixed global scale in any given panel layout?

maybe it’s a compromise to be able to use monochrome icons at all.
otherwise you can only orient yourself with tooltips.

@Antaioz is correct, monochrome is objectively harder to distinguish than icons with shape AND hue differences. This is, indeed, a fact that one can’t argue around because one prefers the monochrome style.

With that said, it’s pointless arguing about it because @jendrzych has already made his decision. He wants to make monochrome icons. That wasn’t the spec given to him from BF, that is his personal desire and he isn’t beholden to anyone on the matter - it’s volunteer work, no pay. BF isn’t willing to spend money getting the icons made, no-one else is providing an alternate set, and (from experience) the more you argue with BF about the UI decisions in public, the more stubbornly they stick to their current decisions. Remember Ton trolling people about right-click select at the Blender Conference after Andrew Price’s UI commentary went viral? Yeah, the way things are going, I expect to hear about “monochrome icons” at next year’s.

Seriously, there is no point to arguing it any longer. The person making the icons has his view, is doing what he wants (as he should, not being paid & all), and the BF isn’t going to go out and pay someone for a job that they’re getting done gratis. The practical argument, such as it is, has been lost regardless of being correct on the facts.