If the change in appearance is intentional, will someone kindly point me to some reading material about why it is so?
Edit: I haven't installed CCSM or fiddled with Compiz settings.
Normal With the Dash open With the HUD open
The behavior is intended. "We’ve also integrated the panel and the dash, so indicators are rendered in a more holographic fashion inside the dash. Together with efforts to mute the contrast of Launcher icons the result is a more striking dash altogether: content is presented more dramatically." Source