Here is an interesting idea. Some people run a dock andthen a panel at the top for the menu and stuff - like on a Mac, but others just run a single or double panel - like Windows. How a bout combinign the two to ceate a single panel which instead of havin the usual way of choosing which application to switch to uses a dock instead? Incase you're confused I have included a screenshot.
To do this you will need to install a dock first:
Open up Synaptic (called Package Manager in Mint) and search for avant-window-navigator and select the avant-window-navigator package. It will ask to install other packages Click yes and then click Apply and OK again and let it install.
After that, you need to search for devilspie and install it.
Then open up your home folder and hit CTRL+H. Then open up the .devilspie folder and download this file and put it in the folder. Now go to Startup Applications (Preferences>Startup Applications) and click Add. For the name put Devilspie, for the command put devilspie and for the comment put starts Devilspie.
Launch Avant-window-navigator and tick the start AWN automatically box. Then change the size of the icons to something smaller that is about the same sixe as your panel or a little bigger (I have a 21 pixel panel and therefore awn is 26 pixels).
For style either choose flat or none. None works better as it lookslike the dock is part of the panel.
You can customise any of the other options to make the dock look nicer such as hover, open, close, launch options and change the little triangle to a dot that glows. You can also add applications to the dock so they stay there all th etime or add applets like a clock, lock screen button or log out button. Or even email.