I'm personally not too much of a fan of the current OS X-esque styling, so I'll be mocking up a newer, lighter, flatter style for several apps over the next few days. The goal is to keep the current layouts and HIG, while offering a less Apple-y look.
Hm- the grouping of the maximize and 'hamburger' menu button seems to imply that the menu serves a similar function or has a purpose on the same level as maximize/fullscreen. Of course, it is quite different. According to the HIG, it would make sense to put the menu further in, since people probably maximize more often. Also, the level of padding between the buttons and the window border is debatable. One idea could be to have the buttons lay flat against the side of the window, making them look more distinct (and possibly being a better target area for the mouse when the window is maximized).
I like the style- it almost reminds me of where GNOME is going, but a bit more toned down. It's good to see that the title and toolbar are obvious, but not overpowering the content. I could live with this, certainly.
Oh, no doubt. Having too many separate buttons in the toolbar can look weird if they all have their own outline (a la GNOME). So I'd say it's sort of a juggling act of deciding on priorities. But I would being lying if I said I didn't think this is a step in the right direction overall. As much as I like to think flat design is overrated, when it comes to basic user interface elements on a computer it's hard to argue against it.
I hope you keep giving us more of your vision, I really enjoy the feeling my eyes get looking at this.
Not necessarily. There are ways to do clipping and the such that don't have an impact on the GPU (or CPU), so long as compositing is already running. The different would be negligible. Of course, pixel-based 'fake' antialiasing is possible and would be less intensive still. So yeah, I'd say it's not an issue given the technology being used (libmutter).
Maybe the use of the colorful icons in elementary would give yours a more elementary-ish look even with the flat light theme in your shot however I do like how you used symbolic icons instead but they seem to be a bit smaller than usual.
They also seem to have a very specific shape for widgets in the toolbar where yours are rounded theirs are squared you can get an idea from looking at their site (check the header and the Register and Login buttons). I think that the buttons for close and maximize shouldn't be displayed as part of the toolbar but instead as part of the actual window as Dan's mockup.
I'm planning on introducing Tap Revival-style icons with the plank mockup. I do agree about the size of the icons (I just ripped them off of Bootstrap), but leaving them as part of the window doesn't look that great either.
I'm not too much a fan of the square widgets, and I feel that they make the window feel constrained. I will definitely experiment with rounding.