The removal of color in these new Unified ODF Icons makes it difficult to identify OpenOffice.org documents at a glance. Especially at the smaller resolutions, a person cannot make out any identifying features of these relatively generic icons. It is common for file selection dialog boxes to render a list of files at only the 16x16 icon resolution. Because each icon style is so indistinguishable from each other, and from other generic black and white icons such as those of text documents and generic document icons, one must refer to the extension of the file name to ensure that they are working with the appropriate document.
I can't imagine why anybody on your team would regard this change is an improvement. I would strongly encourage you to re-introduce the previously used colors back into the icon set design.
Every time I work with an OOo document I am frustrated that the team has decided to make this change from the 3.0 colorful icons shown on this site to the Unified ODF Icons shown on this particular page. I have gone out of my way to download icons of the older style and associate them in place of the icons bundled with your current distribution.
I just noticed how your icon design choices might have originated from the work of ODFToolkit.org. Perhaps you should relate my feedback about color being useful up to that group as well. Despite the interest in designing a set of icons without regard for the application being used, limiting yourself to a pallet of black, white and grey tones is ridiculous, considering how readily identifiable colors are at smaller resolutions.
Thank you for considering this feedback. Hopefully the Discussion page is an appropriate place to discuss this topic. Feel free to delete this entry if it is not appropriate.