Colour coded icons

Love the color coding of the icons. The only one that seems to not work well, at least with the default theme, is the red ones when selected:

They start to lose clarity in context of the light gray fill.


man, that’s exactly what I wanted to point out: human readable “motel’s”.
What do you think, that I have not suffered from stiff neck in the earlier blender versions?

True. I feel like you’re going to run into the same issue with tabs no matter what. If you have too many tabs with text, you can’t read the text. If you have too many tabs and icons, you have indecipherable icons. I also don’t change tabs that much in the T panel in 2.79. It’s definitely not as often as I’m switching tabs in the properties editor.

Maybe the real solution is making the tabs scrollable like the properties editor tabs are. So the tabs may not all be on the screen at the same time, but at least they can all be read.

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I really like the new icons, but one really bothers me. It’s the object icon. It’s used all over the interface and it just doesn’t make me think “Object” it looks more like an axis or an empty. I feel like it should match what is being used in the outliner, or even better, it should be changed back to a cube. A cube refers the user to the default cube - the first object a user sees when they begin their journey into the world of Blender.

Right now, the mesh data icon in the Outliner matches the mesh data icon in the Properties Editor, but this is not true for the Object Icon in these places. It seems like the Edit mode icon should either match the icon used in the Outliner or vise versa.



I like the new icons! The UI looks a lot more modern, which is a great improvement. The only thing that I think has been lost is a quick readability based on colors. I made a quick mockup of how colors could look like and where colors are needed and not needed.

I’m not 100% percent sure if I like it better with more colors or not. The UI feels a bit “warmer” and approachable with colors. Also it feels easier to find the material tab etc.


Hi. I love the shapes of new icons, they give feeling of talent of artist, that created them.
Excellent work!

But there is an issue about monochrome I would like to clarify.
As professional artists we all remember Types of Contrast scale by Sam Nielson
So current situation is looking like this

As we can see from this scheme, colored icons are pretty much more simple to hanlde, because their contrast type is much higher on the scale.

This can be tested like this:

Colored icons are much simpler to handle even with blurry unconcentrated view, so
that’s why so many people feeling loss of comfort with monochrome icons interface.
Because you have to pay additional attention to recognise shape.

We can remeber GIMP experiment.

Steril monocrome design compels to search proper tool every time it is needed, that hurts especially if they are packed like this.

And, of course, that issue brings especially strong pain here, in file manager.


It tooks seconds to realise, that folder don’t contain blend file in every folder that contains images, if it doesnot contains it, because user forced to view through every single icon to recognize it’s shape, while there are no any problems at any other file browsers with colored icons. Just because there is no problem to find an orange in a bunch of potatoes.

There were nice solution - put some color in a part of icon, that will be enough to bring acceptable amount of contrast into the scheme.

So, monochrome scheme, like in GIMP, must necessarily be optional to avoid cognitive overload.

Thank you for attention.


Just turn on a *.blend file in filtering options - You’ll realize that it’s easy to spot if a *.blend file is there, or no.These icons were designed the way to minimize use of colours. You’re not familiar with them yet.
Although making *.blend files orange would be super helpful, since it’s most important data IMHO. I’d leave the rest of icons just white.

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An idea for color coding the icons

Use the color channels (R,G,B) to separate elements. Technical example:

That should make it easier to keep working with Inkscape & the parsing process in the build script for Blender. For developers its just a matter of using a shader that binds the channels to theme coloring.

The next debate then would be what separation for most icons is needed. For example perhaps just 2 information channels with:

  • base (basic pictogram in ui as it is now)
  • context (selections, active, center,…)

There is a difference between familiarity and the characteristics of a person’s physical perception.
Familiarity is about shape and style, perception is about health.

Like subitizing.


That will not work, because of the same issue - color contrast should be between icons, to distinguish one from the other. That means no color mixing.

This mockup’s great. Some key elements consistently colored across all icons would help make things very readable. I guess a hard part would be coming up with what elements should be colored.

I really like what’s happening with the viewport tools where what they do defines colors:

It would be great if something similar can be done across the other icons, but I’m not sure that’s possible.


The thing about the tool icons is that the colors actually communicate something - green means add, blue means modify, etc… The way color is used in all the colored mockups here is basically at random, without any meaning.

It is true that colors help with visual distinction and make each individual one “pop”. But Blender has a crazy amount of icons, and if they all stand out it creates a lot of noise (may look great on a small section of icons, but not when applied to the whole interface).

So if the colors are actually communicating something (type, hierarchy, function, etc…), I’m all for them. But if it’s just a rainbow of meaninglessness, it’s better to stick with monochrome and let shape do the talking.


If I may I like this idea, however I would suggest that the active tab in the properties instead lights up with its color when active. Where I would implement this Idea of colored icons is in the modifiers tab where could be of most use , we could easily distinguish what kind of modifier we are using at glance.

I hope your proposal is taken into consideration
I also like the new icons, but my buggy brain has serious difficulties with monochromaticity


and besides my brain buggy has serious problems with monochromaticity, at the same time my brain buggy loves the recognition of the various categories divided into colors


reasoning on monochromatic and colored icons, I understand that the monochromatic icons make it easier to manage the themes, the colorability of them.
with the colored icons if you want to keep this ability to color the icons based on the themes you must make the code a more complex piece, so that the icons have 2-3 layers of coloring that can be modified by preferences in the themes.

i saw this suggestion on the blender artist forum and it seemed pretty good


thats already great, i love to drag and dropping the object name to the material and the obdata

The reason icons need color is to be easier to read against each other, not just the background. Easily identifiable, easier to find, easier to read. It shouldn’t matter if the color itself is related to a higher meaning or not, although it would be better of course. Users should come before maintenance by developers and much earlier than aesthetic at a distance. Ideally these colors would be controlled by the theme, a limited color pallete could work on multicolor flat icons, like 1d’s proposal. Calling a couple of selected colors a rainbow is just chromophobia, as if the best way to avoid a tasteless use of color is to avoid color at all, but nothing further from the truth. Although I’ll take a rainbow if it improves usability any day

“You’re not familiar with them yet” is an Apple level explanation of the likes of “it’s not the antenna, you’re holding your phone wrong”

Speaking of shape, shapes could also be improved. IMG_20181014_110742 World is hard to understand as a world, it looks like a topspin, a continent wouldn’t hurt. And physics and particles are much harder to understand, nothing wrong with the stars, and a bouncing ball is easier to get than… planets, gravity?? Constraints are ok but seems like an arbitrary change.

Here’s a link with more users complaining. Better to design with an evidence based approach rather than by some school of aesthetic


acually a chain, makes much more sense for constrain.

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