A complete UI overhaul of Rhino would be a much welcomed move

If only you could get icons next to command names in the auto-complete while you type; then you could learn what the icons mean :slight_smile:


You seem to show certain disdain towards graphic design Nathan…

I don’t know why, but you make it seem as if it was an imposible task, a lost battle, a problem not worth solving… that it cannot be solved… how could it? Everyone thinks differently…

Like I said before, it is not all relative. There is good graphic design and bad graphic design. Rhinos icons are an example of the latter. Period.

I don’t understand why you thought that not being able to guess what a tool does from an icon of a program you have never used means something, it does not work that way…

Graphic design is not magic. And it is not supposed to. Why are you so demanding with it?

Let me be more clear, you are talking about graphic design philosophy when Rhino has icons drawn by a 5 year old. The very basic is wrong!

That’s like saying that reading a command list is hell. Before typing you have to learn and memorize.


You gotta start somewhere.

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That would be amazing, along with any shortcuts and aliases for those commands. Something for Rhino 8 maybe?

I think that with graphics design is often confused with aesthetics. If something looks great, but makes it harded to grok, then the design has failed. At least the photoshop icons are the worst from the examples you posted. The Blender and C4D at least have still colour to give meaning, like in Blender object, data, settings have consistent colours. But unfortunately in Blender the colour choices are not great, since they are all similar pastel-type colours - bolder colours would communicate function much better, more contrast.

I am all for making things look great, but if it goes at the expense of functionality then no.

One of the useful things of Rhino icons is that they are different, making it easier to discern between them. But no doubt things can be improved there.

this comment to me reads more as a “they are ugly” type, the aesthetics…

Agreed on that.

In the end I think the middle of the road is where it is at. Either side of the road is crap, but if we can have those meet in the middle then we’ll be on to something.

All those guys opting for monochromatic icons… wait till you get older and see what it does to your sight.


I don’t know if the colorfulness of GH icons is also a problem? I hope it is not, because they communicate very well.

As it goes for the color palette.
Shouldn’t there just be user settings with primary, secondary, tertiary, etc. colors that make a color palette for the Icons? This would be a design rather than a purely aesthetic problem to solve, which line or symbol in the icon should be treated as a primary or secondary in the hierarchy.

Users could go just full monochromatic, have low contrast, high contrast, or have only one contrasting (e.g. secondary) color in their icons. This could also help with the problems with the light, grey, and dark UI themes where it is difficult to prepare one set of icons that would communicate equally well on all backgrounds.

More of: some lines and symbols in the icons could inherit colors of the tabs (category) they belong to. So all mesh icons could have one distinct accent color and all solid, surface, etc. have different.

It’s only pasta sauce missing! :rofl:

Not just ugly, but downright unprofessional! I’ve said this before, but when I show Rhino to my coworkers, they think it’s a toy because it looks like a toy (then again, Rhino lacks so many basic things compared to other CAD packages, so maybe the icons are just honest).

(I’m redrawing most of the icons because I can’t stand them, but unfortunately only the main toolbar icons can be customized right now, none of the sidebar panels can and they contain some of the worst offenders.)


I think the same can be said about Grasshopper and Dynamo GUI.

Dynamo GUI - completely indistinguishable components

Grasshopper GUI - easily readable, very little effort is needed to understand operations by just looking with the “corner of the eye”

Because of this “manipulation” of addressing products to professionals, Dynamo GUI is IMO pretty bad and Grasshopper is a pleasure to work with. The cost of this elegant GUI uniformity is very high in Dynamo.

But I agree, that many of the Icons in Rhino, are a little accidental and could be done with better care.


Yeah, ok… I wanted to be diplomatic but in fact they think it looks like crap and thus don’t take it seriously.

(I’m actually drawing the icons more toy-like…)

But there’s one big difference between the Grasshopper UI and the Rhino UI: Grasshopper is 100% consistent. All of the icons follow the exact same theme and are drawn with the same level of quality (which is natural, considering who made it). However, the Rhino icons are all over the place (which is also natural, considering how old it is).

I think both Grasshopper 1 and 2 looks great, and sure, 1 looks a bit like a toy (but a toy I’d want to play with), but just look at how 2 is now getting a more professional look. I’d love it if Rhino itself could get the same overhaul.


I agree with you @eobet, don’t take me wrong.

I had a less serious mission of convincing my younger sister to use Rhino (she studies product design). For someone who just starts and doesn’t really understand all pros and cons of different software, how software looks plays a huge role. She was really hesitant because of the Rhino’s old-looking UI.

Well, I remember myself when I started and didn’t have a clue about anything, I disliked 3ds Max and had more interest in Rhino because of how Rhino’s Shaded Mode was nicely shading surfaces :smiley:
If I recall correctly also antialiasing quality played a huge role in my choices…


If I remember correctly the current theme of Rhino icons (which I personally like… but it’s great we can all make our own, too), was originally created for Rhino 4, mainly by David R. and to my eye it shows and GH icons are continuation of that style. More info here:
Rhino Toolbar Images [McNeel Wiki]

As for GH icons following the same theme, with that many of them, I am not so sure (yet I agree they are looking good):
2654757852 (1000×4108) (ning.com)

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There is a problem with the formatting of the icons in Rhino .
Surface , Solid , Mesh
Look at the order and the difference between the two pictures.
Rhino needs graphic designers to redesign and arrange the user interface


Well, it’s no surprise that he’s gotten better over the years then.

But this seems to be a tutorial from Rhino 3.0 and… well… I sadly don’t think it looks that much different than what we have today:

You certainly see the heritage, which imo, is completely unnecessary (and hello to the debates that can ensue from this statement…). :rofl:

Here’s a part of a Catia V5 toolbar:


And here’s Catia V6:


(And yes, yes… Dassault has a slightly different budget than McNeel, we know, dear lord do we know…)


Interesting…thanks for the reference.
I still like the old Catia toolbar, not aesthetically, but because I can instantly see and pick the icon with my peripheral vision, without trying hard to focus and actually see the one icon I need from the row of same looking minimalistic monochrome ones. Sorry, but I am with Nathan on the efficiency being more important that aesthetics. Both would would be ideal, but easthetic is so subjective that the best option is to let users freely customize everything, which Rhino does, except for the Tabs icons…


Exactly !
Customizability is the answer IMO.

I’m down with the efficiency argument, but I strongly disagree that the Rhino icons are that.

Here’s my aforementioned “toy style” icons, which I used to learn Rhino when I moved here from Alias and which I drew to be very efficient (to me):

(Note that I also changed my default highlight color to light blue, because I can’t stand yellow.) :slight_smile:

Regarding customizability, I think the grasshopper community shows that people can design dozens and dozens of icons and make them look more or less good and consistent, but I guess the fact that Rhino contains literally hundreds of them makes it daunting for people to try.

Perhaps Mr Rutten could create a new baseline after Grasshopper 2 work is done, ie Rhino 11-12? :slight_smile:


These are really nice… but most importantly they are the most efficient for you, which is quite subjective.
I love the fact that we can use almost anything we want in Rhino (except for colored text buttons :wink: )
95% of rhino I use command line/key shortcuts, but here are some of my custom tools “iconized”:


I Agree - and I’d like this to change: make them colourful like in WinRhino (I made a post about this some time ago)! That would be a much more ergonomic solution! The icons would be much easier to find (quickly).
I don’t need the text in the icons, though. Tooltips are enough in my opinion - I just wish they would be snappier. I also think, that after a few hours with a new program you really don’t need the tooltips anymore…

I disagree. Period.


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You gotta state why with arguments like I did…
Know anything about graphic design?

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The current Rhino icons are beautiful in their simplicity and essentiality. Only a few should be improved. We don’t destroy the look of a software with horrible icons just to make it look newer. The toolbar on the left is nice like that!

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Orrible! :face_vomiting: