GTK+ Developers Are Testing An Updated Adwaita Theme

Along with the GTK+ 3.24.3 release, the GTK+ developers have released an updated, more vibrant Adwaita theme as "a trial", with the possibility to include it in a future GTK 3 release.

The proposed changes in Adwaita, the default Gnome theme, consist in:

  • More vivid colors with a more extensive palette.
  • Header bars and buttons have been made lighter and more elegant. Buttons use shadows instead of solid borders, their corners are more rounded, and their background is flatter, while the header bars have been updated to complement these changes, to give buttons sufficient contrast. There's also more contrast between the header bars focused and unfocused states.
  • Switches become more rounded and lose their "ON" and "OFF" labels to "bring the theme into line with other platforms and make switches more compact and modern in appearance".

The updated header bars, colors, and switches can be seen below:

Old header bars on top / new header bars on the bottom

Left: old / Right: new

More rounded, no label switches

Last screenshot (the switches) was taken from a video on, that's why its quality is lower than the rest.

The updated Adwaita theme is being tested for the next three weeks, the developers hoping to merge it into the GTK 3.24.4 release if all goes well. They expect feedback, while also conducting their own tests.

And we appreciate your feedback—in particular if you are a GTK application developer. You can provide it on irc (in the #gtk+ channel on GimpNet) or via the gtk-devel-list mailing list, or by filing an issue in gitlab.

The theme is available as a separate tarball with the GTK 3.24.3 release. To give it a tray, extract the NewAdwaita-1.tar.xz archive in your ~/.themes folder.

You can download the theme, create the ~/.themes folder if it doesn't exist, and extract the theme there using:

mkdir -p ~/.themes
tar xf NewAdwaita-1.tar.xz -C ~/.themes

Next, use the Tweaks application to change the GTK theme to NewAdwaita (Appearance -> change the Applications theme).

The theme looks great with GTK 3.23.1, which I'm using on both Ubuntu 18.10 and Fedora 29, with a note that the switches still show "ON" and "OFF" labels for me.

Read the article explaining the updated Adwaita theme on the GTK+ Development blog (via/image credits