Tango Icon Library

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We have designed a basic set of desktop icons that follow the style guidelines. The set has been created as a proof of concept for the style, but works rather well as a replacement for the base theme under GNOME and KDE.

  • Tango Icon Gallery - a sample implementation of the naming spec following the style guidelines.


You can check out the tango-icon-theme module from freedesktop.org cvs:

cvs -d:pserver:anoncvs@anoncvs.freedesktop.org:/cvs/tango login
cvs -d:pserver:anoncvs@anoncvs.freedesktop.org:/cvs/tango co tango-icon-theme

You can check out the icon-naming-utils module from freedesktop.org cvs:

cvs -d:pserver:anoncvs@anoncvs.freedesktop.org:/cvs/icon-theme login
cvs -d:pserver:anoncvs@anoncvs.freedesktop.org:/cvs/icon-theme co icon-naming-utils





The Tango icon library contains a basic set of icons for the most common usage. To make it easier for a developer to find an appropriate icon for their application a number of aids are there to help.

The SVG versions of the icons contain useful meta information such as keywords which enable searching. The naming specification defines structured naming scheme that also helps.

In future we also plan to provide a web-based searching facility for finding icons easily.

How to Participate


  • You may file bugs in our Bugzilla
  • The icon-naming-utils may be missing links to existing names. Patches are welcome on the tango mailing list.


  • You should make sure you have read and understood Generic Icon Theme Guidelines. Suggestions to improve the guidelines to better match the goals of the Tango project are welcome on the tango-artists mailing list.
  • As for file formats, the bitmap icons should be RGBA PNG and the vector icons in SVG format.
  • While this is no requirement, we suggest you use Free Software to produce the artwork. Try Inkscape for a vector editor and GIMP fits the bill perfectly as a bitmap icon editor.
  • Join the Tango-artists mailing list.
  • If you are an independent software vendor and you aim to comply with theme guidelines, let us know your thoughts too. Screenshots are welcome.
  • We hold semi-regular drawing sessions each Friday. Feel free to join the effort.

Additional Sets

While the base set aims to fulfill the core icon needs, we are working on additional icon sets for used in specialized applications.


Also see the original themes:

File Types

  • Artist
  • Hacker
  • Musician
  • Office Worker

GNU/Linux distributions

  • Ubuntu's Tango Theme -- a derivative of the standard Tango theme, using a more orange approach. (ubuntu)

Web platforms