Downstream Branding

This page is work in progress.

This page documents the current opportunities for downstream distributions to apply their own branding to GNOME 3. It also provides links and recommendations to GNOME design work, in order to allow distributions to brand their products is an way that is consistent and coherent with the GNOME 3 user experience.

This page is intended as a living document which tracks current usage, limitations and areas for further development.

Branding opportunity



Examples / Links

Supported branding opportunities


GNOME allows a background to be set for both the session wallpaper and the lock screen

Jimmac's old wallpaper guidelines might be useful

Browser bookmarks

Distributions can add bookmarks to the default set in the browser.

Distribution name

Where UI text refers to the product or operating system, the distribution name is generally used.

The distro name is picked up from /etc/os-release.

Details settings panel logo

The details panel is designed to describe essential information about the system. It is therefore appropriate to replace the GNOME logo with a distribution logo.

FIXME: what icon size and format?

Fedora example, GNOME bug report

Downstream applications

Downstreams can create their own branded applications and can optionally add them to the dash in the shell.

Initial setup

First run is a prime opportunity to establish a relationship with the user. The final step in the initial setup assistant is a good place to incorporate distribution artwork and messaging.



Login screen distro logo

The login screen allows a distribution logo to be set.

The logo can be set with the gsettings get org.gnome.login-screen logo gsettings key. Due to the position of the logo on the login screen, an image that does not need to be tall is recommended. Landscape orientation images can work well.

Online accounts API keys

GNOME provides API keys for online services, which may be overridden by distributions. Overriding an API key results in service providers registering users from the distribution. In some cases the distribution being used will be advertised to other users.

Software - OS upgrades

Software's OS upgrade feature allows artwork to be presented to users, along with a link to online information about the new version.

Upgrade banners can be defined using a GNOME software plugin. OS upgrade banner artwork is created programmatically by cropping the default distro wallpaper.

Fedora example

Branding opportunities to be avoided

Boot loader theme

Menu for choosing which OS to boot into, etc

It is difficult to style the boot menu so that it looks good, and it is often something that users will not want to interact with. It is therefore recommended to have a plain boot loader menu.

The GNOME boot menu designs integrate well into the rest of the boot and login experience.

Browser home page

Most browsers default to showing a "speed dial" UI for common websites, which reduces work for the user. Setting a distro-specific home page overrides this.

Keep the browser default behavior - this will usually be geared to delivering the best browser experience. Speed dial UIs can be prepopulated with some distro defaults.


Visible on the local network, shell prompts, remote logins, and exposed as a setting in Sharing and Details.

It is recommended to set the hostname to "<user's name>'s Computer", as this establishes the user's relationship with the device. Using a distribution name as the hostname risks feeling like an imposition over something that is personal to the user.

Bug 767107

To be determined

Boot, shutdown and update installation progress screens

Existing designs are plain and unbranded. However, these are due a refresh.

First boot experience

First boot is another key opportunity for establishing a relationship with the user. The current behavior is to show Yelp with the Getting Started guide. A first boot tutorial could include opportunities to set the tone and establish a brand relationship.


It would be good to provide a way to integrate downstream help resources into Yelp, even if it's just some prominent links to online resources. Another idea that we've had for some time is to provide positive documentation that helps to sell the product, and which could be modified downstream.

UI font

While some distributions do change the default UI font, it's not entirely clear to what extent this is supported. It could well be the case that some UI layouts are tweaked to fit Cantarell. It would be good to identify any GTK improvements that would help our UI adapt to different fonts and font sizes.

It would be useful to have design guidelines covering the use of different font weights in UI design, and perhaps a list of features that fonts are required to have to be compatible with GNOME.

UI theme

Custom UI themes can result in incompatibilities with custom application theming. This area requires research and development.

Sound theme

The only sound effect used by upstream GNOME is the "drip" alert sound.

Downstream references

Design/OS/DownstreamBranding (last edited 2018-02-20 09:10:53 by AllanDay)