Mimetype updates

secondary title: see how open source work

Starting point

My first contribution to kde and breeze-icons were the mimetype icons. I’ll ask Uri Herrera for help and he get my mentor. After some iteration I come from really ugly mimetype icons to the fancy new ones.


I think they look really awesome but they had some usability issues. All background shapes are the same and the center element isn’t that visible at the initial look. But as they look awesome nobody changed something (there are a lot of icons). But from time to time I get feedback from the users via the VDG forum, bugs.kde.org or g+ that an usability improvement would be good.


But why do you want to change something that look awesome only cause of usability. The design guidelines from breeze icons say show only stuff that is importend. So have always the same background mean remove it cause it’s not importend.


And here we are. The simple paper shape were updated by different styles depending on the file type. What do you think? Usability improvement, yes or no? Did you know the file type according to the icon?



This is the first third draft of the mimetype update. I think it’s an usability improvement and it look good, but to look awesome I need the power of Open Source and the VDG. One person can make nice stuff, but work together will make your work awesome. So Alex L. and Gnastyle are now working on polishing the stuff.

Of course you can join, or you can have a look how it work to improve things. Clone the breeze-icon repositor, update them (once a day) and you will see how things change. And of course don’t forget to give feedback, cause without feedback I didn’t start this change.



33 Gedanken zu “Mimetype updates

  1. kmi schreibt:

    I don’t want to sound rude but moving the folded corner from the bottom to the top looks like „change just for the sake of changing things“.

      • cameralibre schreibt:

        I really like that the images are square and documents in portrait aspect ratio, and I think your new versions are a really nice improvement all-round.
        The only criticism that I have is the disc emerging from the music file, it seems unnecessarily skeuomorphic to me. Is it a CD, or a vinyl record? Both are pretty obsolete to represent digital audio, and the musical notation symbol is clear enough.

      • the „problem“ is that circle icons look a bit out of place, that’s the reason. If you have one music file in your download folder you would see always first the audio file. audio files should not be more importend than executed files.

      • kmi schreibt:

        I found folded corner at the bottom a nice change compared to traditional icon sets. That of all set, the „fresh“ Breeze now follows a stale tradition, is sad (my personal opinion only, obviously).

  2. Uniq schreibt:

    I see the new one as an improvement. Especially the new CMake icon will be better visible in a bunch of C++ files.
    The zip/gz icons have the zipper a bit too abstract. And the image is very reduced. Maybe a border or something to force the impression of an actual image.

  3. Smihael schreibt:

    Shadowing is now better but the icons are now inconsistent (especially iso needs a great deal of improvement, to me it looks just like a ring). Add some more shape… breeze is simple but boring, not fresh – oxygen was less boring only cluttered.

  4. Serafean schreibt:

    So I tried „Did you know the file type according to the icon?“ Results :
    „No“ means I had to look at the extension without a clue as to what it would be.\
    „Guessed“ means the extension was what I expected from the icon
    „Yes“ means I knew immediately, no thinking needed.

    doc: yes
    odt: guessed
    pdf : yes
    jpg: no
    svg : no
    folder : yes
    archive (zip/targz) : no
    c++/h : yes
    audio : yes
    iso : guessed

    Not common types where it doesn’t matter
    qml : no
    ui :no
    cmake : yes

  5. RASQ schreibt:

    I think this looks much better. It makes sense to have icons for documents (odt, pdf) be the shape of a piece of paper. It didn’t really make sense for pictures, disk images and archives. It’s easier to differentiate file types when they’re not all the same shape.

  6. Thank you for your work. I do like some of them- including the music. But I prefer the folded corner on the bottom- it looked different than what other icon sets do. It’s distinctive. I agree with KMI that to us it looks like a change just to make a change. I understand what you said about shadows, but I still like the folded corner on the bottom.
    I agree with UNIQ that the archive icon looks odd so I’m happy it’s still being worked on.

  7. FredoT schreibt:

    Good work, i like them. But the logos in the middle of the icons are too small and too thin for me. Would be great to have bigger ones.

  8. DaVee schreibt:

    I’m sorry but this is no improvement at all…
    It’s inconsistent (squares vs paper shape***), the ISO icon implies real CD (it looks like big O or tire to me, but that’s my problem) not a CD image file, the archive icon is „colored square with some whatever random line“, pdf icon don’t have corner because ???.

    So I’m begging you, please, first decide if you want to go full squares or full paper shapes and fix it accordingly. If you decide to go all squares, use it – like the audio icon (and change directory icon too, because there is no visual connection between them).

    *** If you want to just differentiate basic file types docs / images / audio / something, then use „one shape – one group“, so don’t use squares for archives and MAKE SQUARES visually „SMALLER“ THAN DIRECTORY icon – it looks weird when you have something bigger (directory) and its smaller than file. (directory contain files, not the opposite)

    I like some ideas, the corner movement make sense (unification with another icons – hurray), but overall its really not improvement.

    ps. sorry for google translate english

  9. Christian schreibt:

    I think it would be great if the (medium to bigger) icons would not only differ by colour, best example are the various compression formats and graphical images (.gif, .jpg, .png). If you could somehow add a symbol or letter(s) (e.g. z, tar, …) it would be a lot better, especially for people with visual impairments. A small effort would make breeze a lot more barrier free than it is right now.

    Aside from that: they look great, thanks for the continued good work.

    • Ordinary I would say no cause breeze mean no additional stuff and you can see if it is zip or tar via the filename, but maybe, we will see. In general it is a container it doesn’t be a big difference if it’s zip or tar.

  10. deevad schreibt:

    I had good guess with over all of the filetype. Good work.
    Here is a list of feedback:

    I liked the various shape ( square for zip , rounded for iso ). Good idea.

    I thought the *.txt was a *.icc profile ( because of RGB color ).

    I’m not convinced by a total change of hue between tar.gz and zip , or jpg and png. I like to can see a little difference (eg. a minor secondary color change ).

    The red for the PDF icon is a bit too low value while strongly saturated compare to other color palette. They look right now the most important files.

    Brainfart for 2020: use a fake isometric 3D thickness for file weight , or scale, when the flat-design trend will be on the knee. ‚weight‘ is a visual feedback I always wanted to got. I still find non-logical a 50KB txt files use the same visual room than a 1,2GB iso.

  11. richard schreibt:

    What does the folded corner means anyway?

    I only know this from copy machines, where it indicates which side up – But why for mimetypes?

    All around I like the way this is going (only minor complaints like other already pointed out: archive, ISO) – great!

    I’m missing Icons for .txt, video and shell script in your example.

  12. alamaki schreibt:

    Nice to see icon usability improving. I really appreciate it when artistic visions bend to the needs of human beings. Like how, at some point shutdown, restart and logout were all nearly identical circles and now they have different colors.

    The development of mime type icons looks good, but I wish there was more contrast and more meaningful representations. All of those demand near perfect eyesight, meaning that they are just squares of bland colors to the middle aged and older.

  13. akreuzkamp schreibt:

    I always wondered why images look like A4-documents… But why are they square now? 😀
    What about some photo-format, i.e. 3:2? 🙂
    Although I didn’t recognize .qml and .ui, i like the overall improvement 🙂

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