Ambiance X Professional Ubuntu 12.10 Theme

Wow, the introduction of the Ubuntu phone is very exciting news but there is more exciting news I would like to share. It is my pleasure to announce the desktop is getting some love with the release of the Ambiance X professional theme for Ubuntu 12.10. As the title may suggest the theme is a re-design of the default Ambiance theme targeted to a professional audience. The following is a quick walk through.

Design Features

Window Frame / Tool Bar

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The window border in “Ambiance X” is the same as Ambiance. The control buttons are located in the upper left with the same appearance. The lightly sculptured toolbar is designed to support control buttons which are recessed as visualized by the “All Settings” > “Appearance” breadcrumbs in the screenshot above.


The design and visual appearance of the scroll bars mimic those found in Chrome and Chrome OS. The scroll bars are designed to blend with other desktop artifacts to enhance productivity. As the above screenshot demonstrates, the colors are balanced and the gradients tastefully accentuate the presentation to offer the user a rewarding viewing experience.

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Highlights & Accents

Ubuntu would not be “Ubuntu” without orange highlights and accents. Rhythmbox is a good examples of this style at play. Selected rows and rails are painted in a rich orange color. The slider control as seen in Rhythmbox above and Totem Movie Player below are presented as a “progress styled” globe. This will be the case when ever hash marks are not present.
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Bridging GTK2 & GTK3

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The user experience should not segregate GTK2 and GTK3 applications but the reality is these are two different environments support by two different technologies. Ambiance X bridges these environments with the goal of providing a consistent user experience which minimizes the differences to achieve a fluid design.

In Summary

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In the final analysis, a good GTK theme must provide an environment in which every installed application can showcase its strengths and minimize its weaknesses. In today’s world this includes applications written to leverage the GTK3 environment in addition to those which depend upon GTK2.

If you have an interest in the Ambiance X theme please refer to the Gallery and/or Installation page.


6 thoughts on “Ambiance X Professional Ubuntu 12.10 Theme

  1. I always use the Ambiance theme on Ubuntu, because I find the default Ubuntu look and feel WAY too dark for everyday use. My wife and I prefer to look at something friendly, not something depressing, so your continued work on that theme is very much appreciated. However, might I make one suggestion: You say that you are targeting “professional users”. But those are NOT using Ubuntu 12.10 – professional users only use LTS releases for many good reasons. Will Ubuntu 12.04 also get to see the modified Ambiance theme?

  2. A great improvement over the standard theme. Thanks for sharing it!
    I only have noticed one problem. In the preview pane in Evolution the text in the header is in white, which makes it difficult to read over the grey background. Is there any way to change it to black?

  3. I stopped reading at “to offer the user a rewarding viewing experience”. I felt that reading such marketing style fluff was not a rewarding my reading experience. You are not real…

  4. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but this could use some work. The gradients everywhere are way too strong and make things look a bit tacky. The recessed toolbar buttons provide no contrast to show that they are clickable. I’m not sure why you chose to show the seek bar widget differently for different scenarios, and the circle looks like it was a last-minute add-on. Finally, the toolbar buttons in Software Center are black, in contrast with the muted toolbar from the Appearance dialog — at least be consistent.

    There are some good things; the color scheme for selected items is a nice tone. But the “bubbly” buttons and gradients kinda clash with the more flat Ambiance look.

    You’re getting somewhere with it though, this definitely has potential.

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