Dawn is Shopify's reference theme, which is built for performance, flexibility, and ease of use. It uses Online Store 2.0 features, including JSON templates, which support app blocks and sections on all pages. Dawn is used as the basis of all free Shopify themes.

Dawn is an ultra-lightweight, mobile-first theme that uses atomic components, minimal JavaScript, and an opinionated set of features. It maximizes flexibility for merchants, while minimizing complexity.

An image of Dawn

We developed a set of best practices and used them to build Dawn:

  • Performance - Every part of Dawn was built with performance in mind. Dawn uses several strategies to optimize performance. For example, it makes use of CSS and native browser features over JavaScript wherever possible to reduce the bundle size and decrease load times.
  • Design - Dawn was built with the experience of merchants and customers in mind. It combines flexibility and ease of use with powerful brand expression and an intuitive interface.
  • Accessibility - Dawn was designed and built to follow our best practices around accessibility. Its settings are organized to help merchants design accessible color schemes.
  • Use of sections and blocks - Dawn builds flexibility into templates by splitting template functionality into sections and blocks. This allows merchants to build custom layouts on any page and introduce app blocks in multiple locations on a page.

You can explore Dawn and its code to understand how these best practices can be applied.