Visual identity and feel for plasma

Ok, so, this will be long and a bit ranty but I really need to get this idea on some “paper” Ik it’s kinda bold of me to bring this up as someone new in the community, but I’ve been using kde for over a year and I can’t help but feel it lacks a lot in the recognition identity department.

Now, I’m not saying kde isn’t unique, it is. Neither am I arguing the stupid point of “kde copies windows” (if anything I think you can argue the reverse in some aspects)

I do however feel like it’s missing a signature workflow and look. There’s a lot to say about gnome but when you see a screenshot of the gnome de, you know it’s gnome. Or at the very least You can’t tell a mac user that’s macos. But I’ve showed vanilla kde to ppl before and the reaction was “how did you get different windows icons” and I kinda think that’s not somewhere we want to be.

Now, you can say that it’s on those ppl for being “basic windows users” (I don’t think that files but that’s a different rant) and maybe kde identity is “the fluid customizable de” and therefore doesn’t need a visual signature. But I do feel like separating from the “windows heavy” look will help distinguish it and show that it’s a different way to use a pc

Sorry if it’s a bit incoherent '-_- hope I got the meaning through

1 Like

I hope people understand no one is calling plasma a copycat . Kde plasma is extremely functional and feature rich. For it’s depth it deserves a signature look and feel (ux and ui identity) as default that’s a bit more modern.For that to happen someone who learnt the fundamentals of design should be included, who also is empathetic to the goals of the project .I believe kde and plasma needs is a proper brand brief and guideline (a base structure) which can help in all fields of its visual & workflow part . where gnome excels is that they seems to have a proper design direction (and a different perspective). Linux mint’s cinnamon also looks like windows but it also has an feels complete and stable. To me kde plasma for its vastness, feels busy and crowded (which i believe is due to shortcomings in presentation -ux/ui).On functional scope kde is top notch no one is denying that (steam deck is an example to show it’s strength.).The community needs people from design community merge into plasma so that it actually can reach it’s potential
.The designers have the ability to communicate effectively and make things more intelligible.

.Do understand that i’m neither demanding/asserting (no one should) or downplaying anyone’s hardwork. and i believe this is what most people are trying to infer . (No its not because windows and kde plasma has bottom panel as default.)
I hope i won’t get blasted for this :sweat_smile:

1 Like

Yeah. Exactly. I think kde was designed this way to ease transition from windows. But that’s I think much easier than it seems. I think that as long as you’ll supply an easy to access and interact systry, minimized apps icons and a desktop luncher that binds to the super key/clickable from the desktop most ppl will adjust to the new workflow. I also think diverging will encourage ppl to explore.

there’s a post here about making first party themes to onboard macos users too. And there’s a link there to a page about kde design discussion that among other things explains how if you try to copy something, ppl will notice and be annoyed by the discrepancies bc they’ll expect the same experience, but if you’ll provide a different comfortable, environment they’ll be more open to poking around. That’s a good stance, We should lean more into it imo.

1 Like

KDE was originally inspired by CDE, which is afaik older than windows. CDE also had the one panel at the bottom and the rightside window buttons.

Thank you for the info. Just go to show that the copycat argument is pretty baseless lol

ye i think nicco has already addressed this in a video

Windows itself is moving away from the “Windows look”. So by not chasing the “modern look” but staying at the “traditional desktop look”, KDE automatically gains uniqueness, as everything else moves away from that.


the argument was not whether it looks like windows or not tho. I was addressing how the project needs to promote and add in designers on it .

Being totally different to distinguish your special product is a bad idea, it can work if your product is unique, or it’s already dominating the market or if you have enough money to advertise it. The best is to make it easy for people to use while providing attractive extra unique features.

Look how Samsung and Xiaomi copied Apple design then added their own features while providing different devices from cheap to expensive, and now they dominate some hard to access markets.

OK. To me, the uniqueness of KDE is that it doesn’t change for the sake of change, or for the sake of uniqueness, or for the sake of promotion, or for the sake of modernness. But YMMV.

i did not say that it needs to be unique for unique’s sake . The project needs designers to work on it . its a great functional project , but its UI/UX isnt able to communicate its potential as i see it. Try reading again what i’ve said.

The project needs designers to work on it.

I don’t think KDE is stopping any designer from joining their ship, the community is really open and friendly interacts with users, and it welcomes any volunteer who can help Plasma project.

1 Like

Of course KDE needs more designers, (and more programmers, more QAs…), for no specific reason at all…

door is always open doesnt mean anything if there is no push or promotion to get designers to work on the project.Its not similar to programming by contributing to a foss project. usually design is a set work (means unless there is some message indicating it requires rework , usually no one comes in) and the process is much longer(its a long work for a stable design that may last decades) and different from programming.
gonna rephrase it : this project’s coding is a continuous process . design direction and then final product is a something that stays same for a long time .Programmers who come out of their course do usually have some knowledge about foss projects and there are events and promotional activities right ? .not the same for designers. i hope i didnt butcher it

Are you aware of KDE’s visual design group (VDG)? KDE does have designers, KDE also has human interface guidelines (HIG).

speaking as a newly minted plasma user who came from windows 7 (no experience with 8, 9, 10 or 11) i can say that, to me, KDE does have a signature look.

i’m able to do things in KDE that are impossible in windows so that right there invalidates any sort of “look alike” argument.

KDE is powerful and unique… it’s “brand”, if you want to call it that, is it’s ability to become whatever you need it to be.

that’s the brand.

steam knows this, ubuntu studio knows this, and i know this after only using it since april.

i don’t want there to be an easily recognized feature that cannot be removed or altered… if wanted that, i would use macos.

i don’t want there to be set configurations to imitate other OS GUI… if i wanted that i would use those other OS’s

just give ME the power to make it how I want it… that’s the value of plasma to me.


Nobody asked to copy anything from other Oses.You should read what i typed in. ui/ux is an important part of a desktop environment as equal as programmers i dare say . Having ui/ux designers contributing will only benefit and enable the project to reach its full potential .

a brand brief will make sure the project has a good design guideline so that developers know how their sub projects within plasma should come out (it helps the devs , taking toll from them in design section).
Lastly no one said here that it’s customizability should be removed/compromised (having people with knowledge may actually lead to better ways to customize).

The argument wasn’t about whether it looks like windows or not from me .

yea i know about HIG .iirc it’s outdated and not followed much (nicco has said that he doesnt follow it ). he addressed how it’s not helping the devs. 11:00
. i was just trying to bring in a convo as the wallpaper contest was a success.

username checks out :wink:

i don’t think anyone here is trying to put words into your mouth, mr head… they are just expressing their opinions on the subject raised by the OP.

my concern is that in order to visually “brand” the desktop so it’s easily recognized in a screen shot would require some kind of fixed aspect of the UI that cannot be changed (logo, layout, etc) .

in my mind that defeats the purpose of the flexibility that KDE offers and i would not want that.

the “brand” is, “wow, i’ve never seen that DE before, what is that?” … it’s KDE, of course.


ah i’m sry if i got excited or crossed a line :sweat_smile:.
I understand your concern but no designer would take away a project’s usp (kde’s usp is it’s customizability) and i dont think the people who are leading this project would do that . by nature ux/ui is empathetic.Design guideline would give visual consistency and would help the dev to properly address how they can visually implement each feature or make it better.
For example gnome’s design has that can still be modified to ur liking.
secondly ux polish is aimed at making it easier to do tasks and approach all the features as easily and efficiently as possible . which would greatly benefit plasma as the de is now filled with features but the way it’s arranged, to me is busy/cluttered/crowded. Im not saying there is no attention to ux/ui in the project , what i am saying it is that it should be a priority.

1 Like