Icons, what they are, WHERE they are?

I think I’m using plasma6 (tumbleweed).

What is an icon, rather what is it SUPPOSED to be? The perfect example of an icon in a large number on the side of a US Navy battleship.

  • it’s message is clear, it’s a number
  • it’s design is purpose-built to reduce any ambiguity
  • it can be identified and read 10 miles away without a course in fine arts.

An icon is supposed to convey an unmistakable message usually about the identity and nature of some object or process. It’s supposed to be reduced the the simplicity beyond which it can no longer be reduced without losing the uniqueness of its graphic message even with a minimum of pixels. It’s OK to use a larger resolution image but the best icon withstands without loss the largest reduction in resolution. So much for what I remember from Communication Arts courses.

I’m looking at the system-tray on my Plasma desktop the icons of which have changed somehow, probably as a result of some change in ‘appearance’ settings. I’d like to bring back the icons that were there before even though those were no flashes in the pan either. This new set is really, I mean really, a disgrace!

For the USB devices it shows the image of a paper page with a stylised USB symbol on it. My deskbar panel at this level is 90 pixels and 3 icons wide so I’d have a hard time identifying it even with a microscope. The wifi icon shows an antenna with a fine halo-like radiation pattern but I wonder what it would look like reduced to a number of pixels in the twenties.

But the topic is not really icon design, it is ‘selection’, because I have tried I don’t know how many icon sets under ‘appearance’ but none of them have changed many icons on my desktop, certainly not in the system-tray!


In Plasma 6, all icons come from the icon theme, not the Plasma theme; see How all this icon stuff is going to work in Plasma 6 – Adventures in Linux and KDE. This is a change from Plasma 5, where some of the icons in Plasma (most prominely including the System Tray) came from the active Plasma style, overriding the icon theme. If you want to know the motivation for this change, I’d encourage reading the article linked above.

I suspect what’s going on here is that you’re using a 3rd-party icon theme that isn’t ported to Plasma 6 yet, but it’s impossible to know for sure without a screenshot. In general when discussing visual issues, it’s essential to include one so people know what exactly you’re seeing. We’re not mind readers. :slight_smile:

JFYI to reduce confusion in terminology, the number on the side of a ship isn’t an icon, it’s a piece of text. Icons are pictorial, not textual.


I would have been glad to upload images but could not find the icon for it :slight_smile: The navy ‘numeral’ is not called an icon but when I think of its role it really is because it conveys the idea of a number. I’ll tinker with the icon themes to see if I can isolate the responsible one, thanks. Can I replace such icons with my own too, as I do with some app icons?

Ultimately if you’re very particular about your icons, you may want to create your own icon theme you can set up exactly how you like it. This is fully supported. Just create it and import it using the “Install from File…” button on System Settings’ Icons Page.

Thank you. I’m 80 and spend my very little spare time with guitar sessions and have no desire to get into learning the use of inkscape (unless there’s some super-easy way to turn PNG images into incscape ones). Where in the SystemSettings-ColorsAndThemes menu tree do I find these icon themes then?