On creating an icon monster…

I fully agree with Tuomas regarding the over-use of icons everywhere.

You can, in fact, set GTK+ (and thus, GNOME) applications to not display button icons. At first it may seem a little weird (as you may not be used to it), but not having icons in the dialog buttons will probably grow on you over a short time.

Here’s what you type in a terminal (or in the run dialog entry form if you hit alt-f2 or select “Run Application…” from your main menu) to turn off the button images:

echo gtk-button-images=0 >> ~/.gtkrc-2.0

(For those who may not know, it simply appends the text “gtk-button-images=0” inside a GTK+ configuration file in your home directory, which tells GTK+ to turn off button images.)

Of course, this doesn’t change everything, but it does allow you to have cleaner looking buttons on dialogs and such.

Update: Jakub has a good comment on Tuomas’ blog: “Not only will cleansing the icon noise help with usability, it will also help with artwork maintainability.” (excerpt)

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4 Responses to “On creating an icon monster…”

  1. also note that especially the bluecurve icons, with the standard size – are just little blogs of color, one cannot tell them apart or read details. They need to die or get bigger to be useful – and the latter is not an option.

    let’s just kill these off for 2.14, please?

  2. SchAmane says:

    Very interesting and good note.
    And… i love this all icon.. so let them overload our desktops 😉

  3. tihopilik says:


    I can’t be bothered with anything these days, but shrug. I just don’t have anything to say recently.


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