a.l.e, I agree.
Having the icons up somewhere where people could fork their own copy to experiment with would be a good step forward. It might even allow for some sort of competition to emerge that could push the designs to evolve faster and better.
Could one of the developers - or someone else in the team - make a start on this by putting the current icons out there somewhere? It might help to get the dice in hand before the rolling starts (to - clumsily - continue your analogy!).
A competition on a pixel art website - http://wayofthepixel.net/
for example - might help to get some interest.
The same could also be true for the splash screen. Even if someone has no interest in Scribus specifically, the chance of getting their artwork seen by thousands of people around the world every day when the application starts up might be an incentive for someone to come up with something brilliant.
Again, a competition on a digital art website - http://www.deviantart.com/browse/all/
springs to mind for something truly original - might be something worth looking at.
As an extension to all of this - and this might be a little controversial, but - is the Scribus application icon ready for a re-design? 1.5.0 is shaping up to be - as far as I've seen - a much more capable and modern product. Would it now be time to ditch the ancient ink nib and go with something a bit more up-to-date? (I can almost sense people choking on their food reading this.)
I realise that the application icon is sometimes seen as some kind of quasi-religious thing that must not be defaced in any way but if Scribus is touted as using "new approaches to page design" by using "a modern and user-friendly interface" (from scribus.net), shouldn't the whole "theme" of the software give that impression from the start?
I know that some - or most, or even all - of what I've said above might be a bit too much for some people to come to terms with but I'm talking from the perspective of someone who only has the best intentions for Scribus. (I've put a reasonable amount of time into the Scribus project myself and I wouldn't have bothered if I didn't think it was worth supporting.) I really think that a new brighter, modern look would get more people involved and show the world that Scribus has so much to offer.
Changes to the icons, splash screen, and application icon would mean very little extra work for the developers and this sort of thing can mostly be done in tandem so it shouldn't hold back any development or testing.
At the very least we can see the direction in which people think Scribus should be going, even if nothing is eventually done about it.
Anyway, that's my two-penneth on the matter (for now anyway).