I don’t like the new Thunderbird theme.

I’ve been using Thunderbird branch builds daily, since before the new Thunderbird theme landed, two and a half months ago; and the new Thunderbird theme has not grown on me. It’s too beige. It’s too yellow. There’s no variety of colour. It lacks vibrancy. Every time I open the latest 1.5 release, it’s such a welcome relief on the eyes, after looking at TB2.

I’m sorry Arvid. I know you worked hard on the new theme. I understand the desire to have a visual difference between TB1 and TB2; but I don’t see the improvement. I don’t see the theory behind the changes (except for the background of the message-list pane); and after two and a half months of daily use, I think I’ve given it a fair shot.

UPDATE: Not labelling these screenshots was intentional. Show this post to someone who’s never seen Thunderbird, and see what they choose.

[screenhot od TB2]

[screenshot of TB1.5]

21 Responses

  1. Cameron November 4, 2006 / 2:37 am

    That’s the first I’ve seen of it, and my first comment is – why isn’t the print icon the same as Firefox’s??!

  2. Colin Ogilvie November 4, 2006 / 5:41 am

    I actually quite like the new Thunderbird theme (more so than I like the new Firefox one) I have to say.

  3. Dao November 4, 2006 / 6:23 am

    Erm … you may want to change your Windows theme. The default theme is all about beige.

  4. brother November 4, 2006 / 8:31 am

    I’ve been using TB2 since late july at least (shitty TB3 just totally borked =() and I’ve come to really like the new theme. In comparison with the upgrade Fx2 got for it’s theme TB2 is way behind. On the other hand the new Fx2 theme isn’t nearly as good as the default for 1.5.

    I found an old TB 0.3 (or something similar) at my moms ‘puter for some weeks ago. I really miss the blueish theme it had, the new icons and stuff in TB2 outnumbers the 0.3 though =)

  5. Randy November 4, 2006 / 2:04 pm

    I like it, but the icons should be the same as in Firefox (e.g. the print button).

  6. sdf November 4, 2006 / 2:14 pm

    – needs to be “firefox-compatible”, e.g. print icon
    – the write pen needs a paper under it (like the old version)
    apart from that i like the new theme better (the old one looks “old” and will look even older when aero is the norm)

  7. Chris Ilias November 4, 2006 / 2:36 pm

    Dao: You think I should change my windows theme, just because the Thunderbird theme doesn’t look good on it? That’s a very unrealistic request of myself, or any user.

    Everyone: FWIW, I like the Fx2 theme. It may be glossy, but the icons aren’t beige and yellow.

  8. Wayne Woods November 5, 2006 / 4:31 am

    It goes to show how different opinions on themes can be… and how hard it must be for a team to settle on a new theme for a product.

    I really like the new Thunderbird theme. I think it’s tasteful and shows real talent in icon design. And apart from this blog, I’ve seen very little criticism of it (except for usage of particular icons in particular situations, but that’s a tweak issue).

    On the other hand, I’ve found the new Firefox 2 theme to be only “OK” on Windows, and substandard on Mac. That’s completely subjective, of course. But the fact that it drew enormous criticism suggests that it’s not a minority view. And witnessing what happened on Bugzilla and Mozillazine forums, it seems to me that the developers evolved it into something passable only though the heavy barrage of (constructive) criticism steering them in the right direction.

    If nothing else, the Tbird theme has this advantage… it’s been added early, not at the last minute like the Firefox theme was. So any flaws can be dealt with properly, and not patched in a hurry to meet a deadline.

  9. Ian November 6, 2006 / 5:42 am

    Which screenshot is which? I must say, the second one looks far better.

  10. Ian November 6, 2006 / 5:43 am

    Ah doh, I just read the file names. In which case, the new theme is nowhere near as nice as the old one.

  11. silentj November 6, 2006 / 6:40 am

    I think the new theme is much nicer / more professional then the old theme

  12. starwed November 6, 2006 / 10:12 am

    In the new theme, the individual icons are more appealing, and quite possibly easier to read at a glance. But it’s lost some sense of vibrancy, probably caused by the more subdued palette.

  13. klint November 6, 2006 / 11:41 am

    I really prefer the new theme, as the most important thing is revealed to the eyes first : the messages themselves, not the more vivid colours of the icons as before ! Even if it’s not vibrant, it’s neat and I like the change from round icons to more square ones.
    But, as one says in French, les goรƒยปts et les couleurs ne se discutent pas !

  14. a-giรƒยขu November 6, 2006 / 11:54 am

    First time I’ve seen the new theme and I think the palette pales in comparison to the old one.

  15. Jon Pritchard November 20, 2006 / 10:34 am

    I really love Arvid’s work with the Qute theme. As for compatibility between the two themes, yes it should be there for continuity. But they’re completely different themes, when Mozilla gets Arvid to redo the hideous FF2.0 theme then that’ll be continuity. Not the other way around.

    I agree with Chris Ilias it needs some contrast added, perhaps an entirely new theme was the wrong way to go about this? A new Qute version?

  16. betbest1 December 16, 2006 / 12:28 pm

    I wish someone would release Qute for Thunderbird 2 (like QuBranch for Firefox).

  17. Andrzej April 21, 2007 / 2:05 pm

    there are no email icons in the version 2.0 !!! give them back!!!

  18. Andreas July 21, 2007 / 9:50 am

    you did name the filenames of your screenshots ๐Ÿ˜‰

  19. serkan July 2, 2008 / 6:35 am

    Hi Chris!

    I totally agree with you and don’t like the look of TB2 either. I’m searching for an TB1.5 look-a-like theme for some weeks now but without any success ๐Ÿ™

    I don’t want TB to look like FF because I don’t like it’s look, too ๐Ÿ™‚
    I’m using it with a theme called “Winestripe”. It makes my FF2 look like FF1.5. So to give it a summary: I’m searching for something like Winestripe for TB2. ๐Ÿ™‚

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