Ubuntu – How to make a Theme from scratch for Unity


I'd like to make a theme from scratch for Unity.

What knowledge and information/skills are needed? Are there any tools or templates out there for something like this already? I don't have any Python experience so tools biased towards beginners are preferable.

Best Answer

  • 10.04 to 11.04

    To avoid problems with a theme I create I start with another theme and then copy it over to a new name and use theme Equinox Evolution Midnight to create a new theme that I name Rinzwind. This avoids errors, crashes and notices about things not being present for this theme.

    • create a new theme based of another theme

    Themes are stored in /usr/share/themes/:


    Steps taken in this image:

    • Open terminal and cd /usr/share/themes/
    • sudo mkdir Rinzwind
    • cd Rinzwind
    • sudo cp -R /usr/share/themes/Equinox\ Evolution\ Midnight/* .

    Inside the new directory is a file named index.theme that needs to be changed to the new theme name. So after entering sudo gedit index.theme change all the old theme names to the new one:


    String, search and replace Equinox Evolution Midnight -> Rinzwind
    IconTheme and CursorTheme I will keep for now but editing these 2 is almost the same as for this theme.

    And now we have a new name for an old theme:


    • Creating a new theme

    Inside our new directory are 2 sets of images:



    With an image editor (Gimp) you can change the colors or do various things on the images. Make sure to keep the same size of the image and of course use sane colors (stick to one color and 1 or 2 shades of this color to make a theme and not something that gives people instant headaches).

    Recreate these 2 directories in your Pictures folder by copying the theme to your Pictures. I copied the 2 directories inside the theme and removed all directories that are not images with this as a result:


    Open all the images inside gimp and start editing them and when you are satisfied copy them over with to your theme's directory and check if it works. Remark: since the theme is owned by root you need to use sudo to copy it over.

  • Related Question