Using the Darkest Dark Icon Designer
The Darkest Dark theme includes an Icon Designer that lets you customize your icons. So go ahead and unleash your creativity. With so many tired plugin icons out there, we would love to have you sync with us so we can include your contributions to the Darkest Dark theme.
The Icon Designer is included in the Darkest Dark theme, available as an Eclipse plugin from the Eclipse Marketplace.
Ready to start contributing icons to the Darkest Dark theme for your favorite plugin? You can help! To get started, install the Icon Designer feature of Darkest Dark theme & plugin either when installing Darkest Dark initially or adding from the Darkest Dark site inside Eclipse.
Learn the Color Patterns
Before making your own icons, take a look around your Eclipse. The Darkest Dark theme uses colors in specific ways to help simplify recognition of actions and provide consistency. For instance, Green is traditionally used to denote actions you take and Red is used to stop actions. Try to avoid icons with large quantities of red and green that are not primary places for the developer to look. The two main secondary colors being used in the icon set are Orange and Blue. This provides a consistent feel across icons. The remaining supporting colors are available for more options.
There are a few special colors like Foreground and Background that are bound to colors in the theme, though technically all of the actual color codes are programmatically defined and we’ll be allowing some control later to tweak the exact color palette.
Learn the Design Patterns
After getting a feel for why certain colors were chosen, take a look at styles of icons. You’ll notice that many icons follow certain patterns — if there is a folder, generally all folders will be structured the same for consistency even though they come from different plugins.
From the screenshot above, the series of folders all look consistent. For example, take a look at the Open Type icon which is a folder similar to the original Eclipse icon with a blue circle as a generic “object” concept. Open the Icon Designer view and press Ctrl+Shift with your mouse over that icon to quickly see the customized icon and original.
It is a simplification of the original icon to feel similar to an existing Eclipse developer but with a simplified modern feel. The Icon Designer intentionally limits the number of colors you can use in designs to force a more simplified model. While it would be possible to render multiple circles of different colors, it isn’t needed for rapid recognition of the action you are using.
There are a few specific places where the Darkest Dark theme has deviated from the original icon more significantly where the original icon is overly complex for the location the icon is being used. We recognize this is subjective and as part of moderating icons (more below) will be looking for fair representation as much as possible.
Understanding the Icon Designer Editor
Before starting to make your own icons, double-click on a few icons in the Icon Designer view to see how current icons are made. If you double-click the Open Type from the previous example, the Icon Designer Editor displays the properties for opentype.png.
Decomposing this editor section by section, you can understand the key elements of the Icon Designer Editor.
Overview of Icon provides basic information about the icon being edited including the natural dimensions of the image. Note that the Darkest Dark technology will render the icon at any zoom level requested allowing for rendering at @2 @1.5 and other resolutions at full quality.
Preview of Icon shows the initial icon as it is currently configured as well as the replacement icon that will be used in the Darkest Dark theme. It is important to note that on a high DPI system, the preview will show the high resolution version of the icon — as can be seen here with 32×32 images being rendered despite the actual image being 16×16.
Settings for Replacement allows configuration of the icon starting with the key layout which lets you choose to have a Standard or Overlay layout. When in overlay mode, two different icons can be configured.
Padding allows setting a certain amount of padding around the edges of the icons to be configured including if the padding is on all sides or just certain ones. An example usage of padding is providing replacement icons for the Quick Fix indicators in the ruler of the editor.
Icon allows for selection of the specific icon to be rendered as chosen in the Browse area of the editor. All icons are rendered using webfonts to allow flexibility of scaling and minimize size of the Darkest Dark theme despite being able to render thousands of replacement icons.
Scale controls the sizing of the icon within the layout. Used in combination with the overlay mode, the scale allows a lot of positioning flexibility to create icons. The location can also be set inside the bounding box, such that if you are rendering an I or – you can position center in the icon or shift within it.
Color allows setting the main color for the icon as well as filling in any fully enclosed areas in the icon from the webfont.
Overlay Icon allows configuration of the icon shown on top of the primary icon. Most of the settings are shared between the two though the Position allows configuration of how the overlay icon is positioned with regards to the primary icon.
Browse for XYZ Icon is a shared component that allows searching for icons that cab be used as part of making your own icon combination. Click on the desired Icon field on the left to control which icon is being specified. When searching, get creative! These are webfonts from things like Ionic and Material as well as some extra icons we’ve made at Genuitec.
Making Your First Icon
Ready to dive off and make your own icon? Our suggestion is to be lazy!
Step 1: Find a similar icon & copy it
Find an icon similar to it. Want one that looks like Open Type? Hover the mouse over the Open Type icon in the toolbar and press Ctrl+Shift to select the icon in the Icon Designer. Right-click or use the keyboard shortcut to Copy the definition of Open Type.
Step 2: Find the icon to replace and paste onto it
Now press Ctrl+Shift over the icon you want to replace to select that icon in the Icon Designer. Right-click or use the keyboard shortcut to Paste the definition of Open Type. The replacement icon appears on the toolbar.
Step 3: Open the icon in the Editor
Double-click on the icon you want to edit to open it in the editor. Read the section above again on how to use the various controls.
Step 4: Click Save and (often) to see a live preview
For many controls in Eclipse, the Darkest Dark theme’s Icon Designer is able to track usage of images and will dynamically reload the image into the control when you save the editor. Tweak, save, review, tweak again.
That’s about it to start making your own icons. When you restart Eclipse, you’ll see your customized icons in use! Though don’t stop there, sync the icon changes to Genuitec.com to let others benefit from your hard work.
Contribute Icons to the Darkest Dark Theme
Now you’ve made icons, share them with the world. Simply click the Sync action in the view.
You will be given an opportunity to log into your Genuitec.com account (same for forums, etc.) to track contributions by community members.
From that point, the icons will automatically be uploaded and reviewed for moderation. Designers at Genuitec will review suggested icons and potentially make small tweaks to contributions before releasing updates. The good news is that icons are updated over-the-air so that your friends don’t need to wait until another release to see your cool icons — they’ll get them within a couple days of moderation!
Curious about status of icons you have suggested? Drop us a note @genuitec on Twitter.