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Blender 2.8 will get Monochromatic Icons


Gottfried Hofmann writes:

Blender 2.8 will get all-new icons. They are vectorized (i.e. won't pixelize when zoomed in) and will be monochromatic. Check out this video to see the implications:

About Author

Gottfried Hofmann

Founder of, co-author of the Cycles Encyclopedia. Blender enthusiast since 2.50 alpha 0. Got a knack for simulations and teaching.


  1. I appreciate that on a relatively small screen device, like a phone, that colourful icons can be difficult to distinguish in a brightly lit environment and the current fashion is very much towards single colour icons. But that's not where I use Blender. My initial reaction is to prefer the current multicolour icons.

  2. Monochromatic is a trend in software interfaces, introduced by the minimalist style started several years ago for handheld devices.

    It has pros: more consistent, themable, zoomable, looks cleaner at small size.
    But also cons: less readable, looks boring.

    The best would be to simply have the option: colored and not themable AND monochromatic and themable. But of course, this requires more work.

    Really a matter of personal preference, but if the big companies all do it, then probably most people prefer it... at least I hope there are reasons other than "It's cool and trendy".

    • well yes it is a trend and not a trend. Houdini 17 uses colors, max uses mono but with different mono colors. as it is now in Blender there are many icons that are greyish with no shadow, not very nice, not very practical.

  3. I'm just starting to dabble with 2.8 and I'm generally getting the feeling that I will just need to accept that I'll be re-learning a lot things about Blender. Now that I know that, monochromatic icons are just part of the deal.
    At first glance... I like it.

  4. Honestly did anyone really ask for the new icons? The color in the old ones made it much faster to identify what you were looking for, I'm working for a couple of hours now in the latest 2.8 release, doing a Bcon2018 presentation project and I can really tell some of the changes are completely unnecessary and super confusing. Not even mentioning the entire shortcut change, I'm not complaining about re-learning stuff and getting used to the new interface, but really, was the Ctrl + Up Arrow such a bad thing to change it for Ctrl + Shift?

    There was more or less a shortcut consistency from the earliest 2.3x versions up to 2.79, did anyone even think for a second that changing the shortcut layout as we have right now makes 99.9% of the Blender online tutorials completely useless once 2.8 is out?

    • I have the same opinion. Icons as icons are very nice, but THEY MUST BE COLORED, because I'm now look at them, and search the given option. This can't be. Make the same icons in color, and problem solved.

      The same was, or still is in NUKE, monochromatic confuse. Nothing more. You should hear users, and not what looks nice, what trends are etc. Icons looks great, but they need color!

    • I agree CHOCOFUR,

      there is no real incentive to make shortcut changes other than that the devs maybe are a bit too motivated. Don't get me wrong, they are doing god's work but when people dive deep into developing stuff it can make them overthink, and that's what's happening here imho. Your remark about older tutorials is spot on. I hope they make their new presets the alternative rather than the norm though. Upon startup people could choose their preference.

  5. I didn't like this unnecessary change. It's hard to find a specific icon. It seems that we are back to black and white monitors. We need a better UI, and this doesn't help.

  6. I'm sure they will take some getting used to; but like with the new shortcuts, it will probably only take a few days of consistently using them until they're just as second-nature as what came before.

  7. Henrique Tarrio Manetta Perticarati on

    Hmmm, well. I don't like them at all. I love current Blender icons because they accomplish two different goals: to teach what a certain tool does, and then to be recognizable amongst other icons, in a way to be fastly accessible. The new icons are trying to follow a minimalistic trend, but I think that they are failing at both goals: they are more abstract than the previous ones and kind of all look the same. However, I think that the color-coded icons on the outliner represent a very good idea.

  8. Take more time on UI & UX, lost old users and old tutorials, please stop destroying blender. for me, I am much focus on the feature and performance. 4k composition with ofx plugins, high fps in eevee, realtime 4k textures painting, that's will amazing than the new icons.

  9. On the contrary of most people here, I really like the change. The interface looks much more modern and user friendly which will attract new users for sure. Really guys it takes 5 minutes to get use to it. Don't be old farts :-)

  10. Well done IMHO! I'm lovin the new icons and UI. Everything is in the same place pretty much except new features. They're basically place holderders.

    Looking forward to more addons to be updated.

  11. While I appreciate the use of the vector in place of rastor for reasons of themes and enlargement, I must also say that without the color they are much less easy to 'read' and use.

  12. After a few months with GIMPs greyscale icons, It still takes me longer than it should to find the action I'm looking for. At least that application allows for changing back to colour.

    Grey flat icons were originally introduced into UI design to ensure the UI does not take away or distract from the main content/editor. I think the Chrome and Mozilla browsers were one of the first to introduce this. It makes sense when there are only a few icons to distinguish from each other, but grey icons do not scale well to an application like Blender.

  13. I hate this trend of making all icons mono-chromatic and flat (Gimp, Blender...).
    What is the UX justification for this?
    Where does it help someone using the software. Everything look the same. Nothing to catch your eye to help you distinguish between two of them.
    Color in icons helps a lot when trying to locate a button in the interface.
    Shape is not sufficient. Color conveys an additional message to our brain that allows it to process the information faster.

    Maybe this flat icons make the UI look sleek but it doesn't help the UX at all.
    (I do think there are nicely designed, but they won't help productivity)

    In Gimp the option to use the old colored icon set is still offered (but probably the icons set won't be maintained), I really hope the same option will be available in Blender 2.8.

  14. I love the change and I'm impressed how professional and good looking they are.
    What a huge work from the designer.
    well done!

  15. I love the new design
    I hope they keep it like this and people who want the coloured option can change it in the themes settings

  16. Adobe stupidly decided to make all their Acrobat DC icons grey, which was the worst UI decision they ever made. Many are very similar, and it is difficult to quickly discern the function of the icon (even with daily use). This contradicts the whole idea of icons, that they should represent a quick and instantly recognisable function. It will be very sad if Blender goes the same way.

    • Fellow, I'm forced to use Adobe InDesign because Scribus does not have some fundamental functionality for my work. It's very boring to spend hours with that bunch of icons that seems like they was washed with some chemical and lost all colors. Even after years, it's a suffering, it's hard to distinguish the icons from each other. Fortunately, I don't use any other Adobe products, instead I use opensource alternatives.

  17. With this scheme blender interface looks completely different, feels like another software, cant relate to the earlier blender. This feels like have come from another planet, and not progression from earlier versions which i will personally miss.

  18. With the lack of depth due to the loss of color and shading when large groups of these icons are grouped together in close proximity they end up looking something like a noise pattern, becoming lost. The eye then tends to ignore them altogether as it can't come up with any immediately recognizable pattern, thus defeating the entire point of the icons.

  19. Architects say color brings joy to a room - same for icons. If colored icons were an option I would choose them over grey, as long as the colors were logically varied and pastel. Blue and gold are one classic readable combination; the artists of this community will know others.

    I use a custom theme with colors that give an immediate subtle cue for each editor. Such cues are even more important for icons. Having icon groups color customizable, easily savable and transferable to new Blender versions would be ideal.

  20. Henrique Tarrio Manetta Perticarati on

    Most of all, I don't think that the problem with the new icons is being monochromatic or grayscale. Many of Adobe's icons are monochromatic, but still, they are recognizable shapes with a lot of valuable information and they help to provide clarity! I think that the problem with these icons is being too minimalistic, in a context where it does not help at all.

  21. I wish it was an option. I am ok with dark interfaces and flat themes, but I do like to be able to choose. I liked the coloured ones.

  22. Really small minimalistic flat monochrome icons tightly grouped together are hard to use, as they all looks the same at first glance and not telling their purpose. Old icons maybe not looking as modern and trendy, but they are functional and easy to choose fast, which is the main purpose of icons.
    I'd like to see customization options to use custom or old versions of icons, which are distinctive and easy to tell what function each button represents.

  23. Nathaniel Diaz-Rúa on

    I love it, but may I suggest that the icons be available in color and monochromatic via optional setting?

    That way all are satisfied and can Blend their own way.


  24. Please make it custom-able so that I can choose the colorful icon. Please STOP changing the UI any more and only put your times on the improvement of functions.

  25. Color is a great way to convey information. Removing it means that there is less distinction in the icons and it forces the user to actually "read" the icon instead of spotting it at a glance.

    I like the color theme idea for modifiers, objects etc, but monochromatic icons are less usable. In fact, in the segment about the vertical ones in the toolbox, you clearly see the advantage of color information.

  26. New icons are bit problematic, they are too tight, you feel there is not enough space around them so there is feelling they are sticked together. And this minimalistic look in first glance is ok, but for a moment you realize you have to fight for finding an option too hard.
    Anyway hudge job done, maybe now shoud be more polished, and maybe bit of shading (not so flat) could repair readability.

  27. Yes, these new trends help to sell a product for newcomers. But for users that uses the version before it is step backward. It is a thought of person involved in process of changing interface with flat icons set.

    • I think this needs just next step in this direction to fullfill the idea of good minimalistic design (even its quite was done till now). It is possible to have this monoicons better. Just needs more work/time

  28. This is a very bad step. I opened the software and immediately my brain was confused, looks good in some places like on the splash screen, but try searching for a file and then you eyes will go what the hell are my looking at.
    This is officially my first complain about 2.8 so far.
    I hate the monochromatic icons.

  29. Perhaps the issue is with the contrast, color too white for the eyes when looking at it with the gray theme. It gives me headache

  30. Went back to pre-electricity era. I feel like color blind. Development should move up not down.
    It is slowing modelling process and make it boring.

    • Years ago I visited a workout gymnasium that was planned by an architect. This guy made the decoration of the environment all in black and white, including the paintings on the wall! "Because it's the modern tendency", he said. What a boring place to stay more than 2 minutes!
      * Nothing against architects, I'm criticizing this specific one.

  31. Nooo! Not Blender too! Sobbing....
    Everything looks the same now - have to search and figure out what each icon means, instead of finding them with a quick glance.
    Same as with Windows 10, Android, etc etc. This flat icon plague is spreading :-(
    Please, please revert this.

  32. Not just Windows etc, Apple too have the monochrome curse, in their Finder sidebar - I've had to go round the houses and install extra software just to bring the colour sidebar back because I detest the monochrome version so much!

    The thing is, the argument for flat icons falls completely, er, flat, when you follow the argument through...

    If flat is so great, then why are app icons on the computer's dock still colour? (both Mac and Windows) and why are ALL icons for apps on phone and pads not monochrome? Huh? Why? Because colour HELPS, that's why! Because colour icons are BETTER than flat icons, that's why!

  33. I've just had my first opportunity to load the latest 2.8. The icons are TERRIBLE! The strip of buttons across the top of each buttons panel is completely useless. I used to be able to hit exactly the one I wanted based on colour alone. Now I find my self staring at them, wondering what they're supposed to do. This is a major step backwards for Blender. Colored icons should remain the default, and leave these vague Adobe-bad icons to an option buried in the user preferences. Reminds me of my late grandpa trying to watch snooker on a black+white TV!

  34. I have to agree, I just loaded the latest build of Blender, Oct 17th, and the new icons are much harder to read. Stripping UI elements of color is a monumentally bad idea that has no rational justification.

    In photography, color is used continuously to create separation. With monochromatic icons we lose data, and we gain nothing.

    I like the design of the new icons but the lack of color is causing confusion, and it seems that the vast majority of the feedback is against this move. So, the solution is rather simple: keep the design but add color information to allow us to identify the icons faster and more easily.

    Thank you.

  35. When stop UI designers telling users what's better for users, for %&$§ sake !?! This stupid monochromatic UI dogma is hyped for the last 3-5 years and it ..... DOES NOT WORK. It's ugly, it slows down productivity even after month of using the software. No, it's not better, because it's not distracting, it's worse because it strips away information necessary for recognition and memorization. People, who would theoretically benefit from it, don't because they use key short-cuts anyway, the other just struggle finding the damn right icon.

    I am really really angry about this dumb UI theory nonsense that uglyfied and obsfucated so many good programs

  36. Horrible idea, sorry. Done 30 hours in Blender 2.8 now, I'm fedup of mixing the icons up due to the lack of colour.

    Can we please have this as an option - you can't please everyone so let us make up our own minds.

    It's slower for me, I've no idea why we need to have this specific change when really I know there are far higher priorities elsewhere in this wonderful program. Please stop with the non optional tweaks - it does spoil things :(

  37. Color convey information.
    Just try to collect mature fruit using only black and white vision (nightly, for instance) to remember how color is hardwired in human orientation. And for those who never saw fruits on a tree, just think in a black and white traffic light.

    What is surprising to me is how brilliant programmers like Blender's ones can take such a fashion driven decision. As it is certainly user hostile i hope it is, at least, programmer friendly.

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