Playing around with integrated graphics on the wallpaper. (The panel graphic and the top graphic near conky.)
Gnome-panel doesn't support proper alpha-transparency without making everything look like a frellwit. But you can use a single colored panel bg and then set that to 0 in the opaque options.
Also, emerald theme is inspired by this concept.Other info
Apps: conky, firefox, feh, dockbarx
GTK: Smee (modified to allow single colored panel bg.)
Fonts: Tahoma, Trebuchet MS (conky.)
Update: Hey guess what, if you want to make a similar desktop I'll give you some templates and hints.
1. Here's a PSD (Photoshop) template with the top and panel graphics - [link]
You will need to adjust the images to your screen resolution + add your wallpaper of choice as the bg layer. Then just save it as a png background. (You can hide the heart button layer though.)
2. Select a GTK theme that doesn't use a backround image in the panel. (Use my Smee
style for example and comment out the following line in the panel.rc file - bg_pixmap[NORMAL] = "/Panel/panel-bg.png" # Disable for normal panel backgrounds.
Open your panel settings and set the height to 32px and make the background 100% opaque.
Then install and add the dockbarx applet to the panel. (I'm using the Gaia dockbarx theme.)
3. Here is the start-here.png file - [link]
Add a single menu applet.
Open gconf-editor and go to apps > panel > object(s) and find the menu applet. Select use custom icon
and then add the path to the icon in another area somewhere below or above that value.
Note: To edit the setting of each panel applet with my Smee theme you'll need to rightclick just to the left of the icon near the applet. I've removed the handles in that theme.