Breeze as a Philosophy
Breeze is the central theme that permeates throughout the Plasma Desktop. Breeze's main purpose is to instill a sense of wonder and optimism in its users. Buttons, headers, checkboxes, colors, icons, and the rest were carefully thought out make a vibrant desktop that people want to use.
Breeze, as a concept, started as far back as 2014 with previous Visual Design members that integrated the work with KDE's developers. Icons showed a lot of what Breeze stands for. In their earlier iterations, Breeze icons presented rounded edges, squared icons with a small shadow to represent depth in the icon. Icon colors used a vibrant blue and green. White was used sparingly, instead a very light shade of gray was preferred. It signified modernity and sharpness in design.
Breeze joined the scene after the design team decided that Oxygen needed to evolve. These were the early years of mobile operating system adoptions with big players like Apple and Google. Both of these systems deeply influenced the market and perceptions of what was useful to users. These systems had recently adopted their new UI ideas around flatter design with stronger color. At the same time, Linux was seeing deeper changes with other desktop environments like Gnome.
Our design team wanted to avoid merely copying designs and integrating them into KDE, as was perceived. Instead, the team wanted to bring strong guiding design principles to the UI. KDE, like many Open Source projects, is managed through a decentralized contributing community spread through the world. It was clear to the team that we needed to work on aligning contributors to important principles that could help them create more effective applications. For this purpose, the team created Breeze with a series of ideas around color, shapes and interaction. The team put out a design toolkit so that designers could easily create mockups that used our approved assets to build applications. The team also provided sample applications built using the Breeze toolkit to demonstrate some of the ideas guiding Breeze and to also inspire developers.
A Sense of the Future
Even though the team worked hard in developing Breeze, they wanted this theme to instill a sense of the future in its users. For that reason, they spoke consistently of their desire to iterate and evolve Breeze overtime. Breeze should not be static, it is dynamic like the future. For that reason, Breeze is open to revisions and changes.
A Message to All
When designing applications, ask yourself, how can I make users get a sense of the future by using my application? Is there redundancy in my approach? Have all essential functions of the application been prioritized and given a prominent location? What elements in the UI can be powerful yet only shown when necessary?
We hope that as you interact with Breeze you feel a sense of peace. Breeze enables users to do productive work without getting in the way. Once the user sits at the desk to begin work, the user should feel at ease. Users should get a sense of the future and what it brings.