There have been a couple threads recently with questions on theming or customizing the look of our phones. I figured I’d give a shot at putting together a general overview of some of the tools and options available to help give your phone the look and feel you want. Themes: these are typically either flashable .zip files, or .apk files, that change the look of your current UI. Themes are a good option for people who want a quick, easy, and fully fleshed out way to change the look of their phone. Depending in certain variable (Sense vs. AOSP, stock launcher vs. custom launcher) the manner in which you install and apply the theme can vary. • Sense – Sense themes are typically .zip files that you need to flash from recovery. These files will change a lot of files within the ROM so it is best practice to create a nandroid to revert back to in case you don’t end up liking the theme, or if you run into any problems after flashing. Most devs will provide detailed installation instructions so please go by whatever they recommend. Also, some of the most recent Sense ROMs have tools that make flashing themes a simpler process so definitely check to see what’s out there. • AOSP (CM based) – Cyanogenmod based ROMs can use an app called Theme Chooser. This tool is very easy to use. You can search the market for compatible themes, download and install them, and then use the Theme Chooser app to select and apply the theme. The beauty of this tool is in how simple it is to change from theme to theme. As opposed to having to flash a .zip, and potentially needing to restore a nandroid to revert back to stock, with Theme Chooser you only have to select and apply the stock theme again to go back. • Custom Launchers – there are a variety of custom launchers available in the market, some of the most popular being ADW Launcher EX, Go Launcher, and Launcher Pro. These launchers have a ton of themes available in the market, and changing themes works similarly to the Theme Chooser app describer above. Once you have installed the launcher you can search the market for a theme and download it. You then go into the setting menu for your custom launcher and there is an option available to apply the theme. Launchers also provide an easy method to move from theme to theme, and they also provide flexibility to apply pieces of different themes (icons, etc.) to further personalize the look of your phone. Customizing: this is where you can start really putting your own personal touch on things. There are a ton of tools available to really make your phone look unique and also function more effectively. I will provide a list in the second post, but this list can always keep growing so please post whatever tools you feel should be added and I will updated the master list. • Your Base – before you start customizing you need to find a base that works for you. By base I mean the actual ROM/kernel combo you begin with. This will vary from person to person so it is best to test different setups yourself and find what works best for you and your phone. • Custom Launcher – as stated in the Themes section above there are a lot of launcher replacements available in the market. Similar to your base, the launcher you choose will vary from person to person. Find one that is stable, smooth, and has the options you want. Launchers will allow you to modify the look and feel of your phone quite a bit, and combined with some of the tools below you can really make your phone stand out. • Lockscreen Replacements – Widgetlocker is the one I use for this, but there may be other good choices available. Think of this similarly to the custom launcher, but for your lockscreen. You can combine this with the tools below as well to create a whole new lockscreen that looks and functions how you want. • Widgets – there are tons of widgets available in the market for all sorts of functions. Some provide numerous widgets with different looks (Beautiful Widgets, Fancy Widgets, etc.), and others provide a single widget that you can customize (SimiClock, Minimalist Text, etc.). Widgets not only provide a custom look, but they can also improve the way your phone functions. • Apps – there are some very useful apps available to help with customizing the look of your phone. Some allow you to create custom pieces (Simple Text) and some help in the layout and functionality of the pieces (Desktop VisualizeR). • Icons – Icons are the actual image you see on the screen. Beyond some apps that allow you to create icons, you can also find icon packs online. There are some great resources available to find the look you want for your icons. • Wallpaper – I don’t really need to explain what wallpaper is, but don’t overlook the importance of wallpaper in making a stunning home or lockscreen. You can combine wallpaper and icons to make colors blend or pop, or you can get really creative and use a wallpaper that allows you to place icons so they combine to look like a uniform, custom UI (see this - MultiHome on Android | MyColorscreen, Where Technology Meets Art).