There is no end to how much you can customize your Linux desktop which makes it the most attractive platform for people who want total control over every aspect of their computing experience.
Installing icon packs is one of the more interesting ways to do this, and while they do not change the whole interface of your desktop, new icon sets will definitely freshen things up for you.
In this list I have only included the icons that have been my favorite one time or other over the years.
How to install icon packs in Linux
Before we go further, here is a quick tutorial on how to install custom icon packs for Linux. (You can skip this part if you know how to do it already.)
First, install the “gnome-tweak-tool” by running this command:
sudo apt-get install gnome-tweak-tool
Or if you run Ubuntu Unity, install the “unity-tweak-tool” instead.
sudo apt-get install unity-tweak-tool
Elementary OS users can install elementary-tweaks
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mpstark/elementary-tweaks-daily sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install elementary-tweaks
Grab the zip file of your desired GTK theme (from gnome-look or deviant art) and extract. Then move the extracted folder to “/usr/share/icons.”
Once the theme has been downloaded and extracted to your “/usr/share/icons” directory, open gnome-tweak-tool, unity-tweak-tool or elementary-tweaks to select the icon pack.
1. Ultra Flat Icon Theme
Ultra-Flat icon theme is flat and beautiful based on Flattr icons. This icon set can work with all kind of themes dark/light/or any other color. There are two variants of this theme Blue and Orange, all icons are same in both variants except folders, so you can choose what fits with your theme. The good thing is that it contain icons for all Linux desktop environments such as Unity, Gnome, Cinnamon, Mate, KDE (KDE desktop is now supported) and others.
Vivacious is a modern icon pack built from the fusion of other open source projects including Plasma-next, Flattr and Emerald. However, the design has been tweaked to achieve consistency so there is little resemblance with the base icons. Vivacious provides up to fourteen different colors for your folders via an extension and supports color switching on the most popular file manager apps (such as Nemo, Nautilus, Caja, etc.). You can use Vivacious on most GTK desktops including Unity, Cinnamon, Gnome Shell, Mate, Xfce, LXDE, and more.
Square, uniform and makes use of rounded edges. The icon theme looks somewhat inspired by a style very similar to Apple’s iOS icons. Moka is a very complete theme, in the sense that there are even web-app icons available (mostly used with Ubuntu’s Unity web app integration).
An icon theme, that despite it’s name, is designed to be not-so uniform. On the theme creator’s own Deviantart page, he states that “Consistency can be achieved by maintaining the same pattern instead of drawing the same container.” This allows for a very unique take on the idea of icons.
A flat style, circular icon theme for the Linux desktop. A fairly complete theme with 306 icons and counting. Dalisha makes use of the Moka icon theme’s symbolic icons (as the theme does not have it’s own symbolic set). A very beautiful theme with an interesting design, to say the least.
Perhaps the most popular icon theme on all of Linux. So popular in fact, that it’s spawned many, many iterations (like Faenza Mint, Faenza Oxygen and others). Faenza is perhaps the most complete icon theme on this list. Sports a square, rounded-edge design.
7. Super Flat Remix
Super Flat Remix is a simple flat theme derived from Ultra-flat-icons, Paper icon theme and Evopop icons. It makes use of subtle shadows and gradients for depth, and the result is an elegant flat desktop that goes quite beautifully with any of themes. Super Flat Remix supports all the major Linux desktop environments (Gnome Shell, KDE, XFCE, MATE, Unity and more).
Shadow icon theme is a colourful, flat icon theme with long shadows. The icon set comes with circular and square versions of its icons so you can choose which one you prefer. Shadow is made specifically for Gnome Shell so you will get the best experience there, but you can also test it out on other GTK desktop environments.
9. Numix Circle
Numix Circle is an astonishing icon theme, it comes with over 570 application icons and has custom folders icons,system settings icons,indicator icons,symbolic icons and so on. A flat, circle-styled theme. The most popular theme coming out of the Numix project. Regarded by many as the best looking icon theme on all of Linux. Numix Circle has a huge icon count (even sporting video game icons) second only to Faenza.
Much like its GTK theme, the Paper icon pack is heavily inspired by the material design trend. If you want your Linux desktop to resemble Android lollipop, this icon theme is one you should try along with it’s Shell and GTK counterparts. Note that Paper is still under heavy development, so it still lacks custom icon sets for a range of applications.