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Re: Adding icon sets to Emacs -- and next steps for icons.el

From: Stefan Kangas
Subject: Re: Adding icon sets to Emacs -- and next steps for icons.el
Date: Wed, 24 Aug 2022 16:09:44 -0700

Eli Zaretskii <eliz@gnu.org> writes:

> But "the new one" looks black-and-white here?  I doubt losing colors
> is going to be loved.

There is still color: we just use a single one (black).  All in all,
black is not necessarily a bad choice: the text I'm reading now is
black, as is the text in any paperback book.

But we do go from one distinct style to another.  This is true.  It is
inevitable that some people will love a change like this, while others
will hate it.  Others will probably be indifferent.

I think we could think about this from the point of view of what most
users will prefer.  In doing that, we would probably do well to note
current trends in UIX, which definitely have been moving more and more
towards the minimalistic.  Clear icons of a single (or two) colors seem
to be the norm.

I tend to think that this is a valid choice, that, if nothing else,
helps simplify and unclutter the user interface.  This allows users to
focus more on the task at hand rather than unimportant and secondary
details (such as decorations).  The user interface becomes secondary to
the daily work.

I note that these icons have been created by professional designers, as
have the guidelines on how to use them.[1]  This includes the one-color

These icons are immensely popular and used "everywhere" -- which as
Dmitry notes means that we do lose a bit of independent "character".
On the other hand, I think the current icons also don't have much
character, as they are just the default icons coming from GTK/Gnome, if
I understand things correctly.  They look quite generic, and, dare I say
it, dated.

There could be other good icon sets, of course, and we could evaluate
them side-by-side with the material icons.  So far, I didn't find any
that also both have enough coverage, and a free license, but there might
be some that I've missed.

So, in summary, I think the icon set I suggest is both a good and safe
choice, that helps clean up the user interface and give it a more
contemporary look.  I hope that it will be accepted as the default.

[1] For more on this, please see:

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