Dawn is Shopify's reference theme, 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 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.

Ways to use Dawn

You can use Dawn in the following ways.

Clone Dawn and build

You can use Dawn as a starting point to build your own theme. If you're using Shopify CLI for theme development, then you can use the init command to clone the repository to your local machine. You can also clone Dawn directly from the repository.

This process is documented in the Create a theme tutorial.

Explore example theme components

Shopify theme architecture is flexible and can be implemented in different ways to support your merchant's goals, or meet the needs of a certain merchant segment.

If you're new to Shopify themes or want to understand how certain architectural components can be used, then you can explore the Dawn implementation of the component.

Because Dawn already has JSON templates for all of its pages, you can use it as a model when adding sections to your own theme.

If a component is implemented in Dawn, then its implementation is linked from the component documentation.