I really like the work that Sam Hewitt’s Moka Project has put together with their icons, Moka gnome shell and Orchis GTK themes. Unfortunately the Orchis theme isn’t fully compatible with GTK 3.14 and has a number of small issues that were annoying me. As much as I stuck with it due to the outstanding design of Orchis still those issues kept bugging me.
I initially ended up forking Orchis and fixing a few of the most egregious issues, at least to me, and submitted a pull request back to the project. As I was looking at fixing more things though it became apparent that this would take more time then I had available due to my general unfamiliarity with GTK theming and not understanding the nuances of the changes between 3.12 and 3.14 at the theme level. Also, while I’m comfortable with CSS having done Java development for web sites at various points in my career, I’m certainly not a designer nor a CSS guru.
So I ended up looking for alternatives and I came across the Numix theme. It was also well designed and supported 3.14 however the color palette was not to my taste. Having said, I had a look at how it was coded out of curiousity and noticed that it would be very easy to change it’s color palette. Rolling up the sleeves, I spent a couple of days playing with things and soon had a variant of Numix that used the Orchis color palette and assets and worked acceptably for my needs, thus was born Lavender.
Lavender is my first attempt at customizing a GTK theme. Lavender includes the GTK 2, GTK 3 and metacity themes from Numix with minor modifications, to the best of my ability, to support the Orchis color schemes. It also replaces the Numix assets for radio buttons, checkboxes, etc with the equivalent ones from Orchis. Lavender is not as attractive as Orchis, which is a superb design, but it gets the job done and works well with GTK 3.14 so it meets my needs.
Lavender also includes a slightly modified version of the Moka gnome shell theme. The primary change being a small purple bar shown to the left of running applications, similar to what Vertex does, to make them easier to pick out. As I get older I find I’m having trouble seeing contrast differences in blacks so this change was geared to my older eyes.
Finally let me clear that my effort pales in comparison to what the folks who originally built Numix and Moka/Orchis have put into their themes. Quite literally this work would not exist without those two giants, if you like this theme please, please donate to both these projects using the links below.
You can download Lavender at DeviantArt.