The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Tailwind CSS Themes

Tailwind CSS has revolutionized web development by offering a utility-first approach to styling, allowing you to build responsive websites with lightning-speed
Jan 25 2024 · 5 min read

Background

Tailwind CSS has revolutionized web development by offering a utility-first approach to styling, allowing you to build responsive websites with lightning speed. 

But… what if you crave more than just base styles? What if you dream of infusing your website with unique personalities, tailored to specific sections, audiences, or marketing campaigns? The answer lies in the magic of crafting CSS themes for your application. 

Whether you’re a developer seeking to elevate your projects or eager to explore creative possibilities, this post will guide you in mastering tailwind themes step-by-step easily.

So, Get ready to learn the design flexibility, brand consistency, and an enhanced user experience — all powered by the Tailwind!


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Benefits of themes

Designing themes can have multiple benefits from branding to improved SEO. Before diving into the programming, Let’s quickly see the benefits of having themes in any website or application.

  • Branding and Consistency: Drafting a theme allows you to create a consistent look and feel for your website or application that aligns with your brand identity. This can help to create a more professional and memorable experience for users.
  • User Preferences: Offering users the option to choose a theme (e.g., light/dark mode) promotes accessibility and personalizes their experience.
  • Accessibility: A well-crafted theme will be accessible to users with disabilities. This means that your website or application will be usable by people who use screen readers, have low vision, or have other disabilities.
  • Content Focus: You can choose themes that best showcase the content’s nature. For example, a dark theme might suit a portfolio showcasing dramatic photography, while a light theme would better choice for educational content.
  • A/B Testing and Optimization: You can experiment with different themes to see which ones resonate better with your audience and improve conversion rates.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): A well-structured and consistent theme can improve your website’s SEO. Search engines like Google can more easily understand the content of your website if it has a clear and consistent theme.

Creating Multiple Themes using Tailwind.css

In this section, we will see a step-by-step guide on how you can easily create themes for your web application using Tailwind CSS.

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Prerequisites

To create themes you should have the following things available.

  • The latest version of tailwind.css is installed for whichever frontend frameworks you are using.
  • tailwind.config file at the root of the project
  • style.css file for tailwind.css with the following content
/* style.css */
@tailwind base;
@tailwind components;
@tailwind utilities;

Before starting, Huge thanks to the dev for the guidance! ✨

Decide colors and size

Choosing the right colors is essential for creating a visually appealing and consistent theme. Consider your brand identity, target audience, and the overall mood you want to create. You can use online tools like Adobe Color, Colourcode, or Coolors to help you create a harmonious color palette.

The first and foremost step for working on multiple themes is to decide its base colors and sizes for the whole application.

List out your base theme colors and sizes for backgrounds, borders, and fonts which includes all human interaction events also as hovering, focusing, and clicking.

Here is an example,

  --color-primary: #7684ff;
  --color-secondary: #909090;
  --color-success: #6ccade;
  --color-danger: #fe8a7e;
  --color-info: #ffffff66;
  --color-label: #ffffff0d;

  --font-primary: 3rem;
  --font-label: 2rem;

Feel free to name it as per your preferences. Maybe it can be color-topbar , color-sidebar or font-title.

Follow this for all your themes like light, dark, or other. If you need to decide to theme yourself, you can choose contrast colors from the base theme colors or get help from Adobe Colors or Coolers. Make sure your brand’s identity and user experience remain the same for all your themes.

Create different files for themes

Organize your theme files by creating separate CSS files for each theme. This will help you keep your code clean and maintainable. You need to create different files for all your themes like default.css,dark.css, and light.css.

To make it easier to access, put all your files inside the themes folder. Now add your colors for themes in all the files theme-wise as below,

/* your-theme-name.css */

html[data-theme="your-theme-name"] {
  --color-primary: #0c198d;
  --color-secondary: #909090;
  --color-success: #6ccade;
  --color-danger: #8a170b;
  --color-info: #ffffff;
  --color-label: #ffffff0d;

  --font-primary: 3rem;
  --font-label: 2rem;
}

Import theme files in styles.css

Once you have created your theme files, you need to import them into your main styles.css file. This will allow you to use the styles from your theme files throughout your website or application.

Note: If you don’t want to create files, you can add css variables directly to the style.css inside html[data-theme=”your-theme-name”] block .

Here is the code,

/* style.css */

@tailwind base;
@tailwind components;
@tailwind utilities;

@layer base {
  html {
    ...
  }

  /* import your all themes below */
  @import "themes/your-theme-1.css";
  @import "themes/your-theme-2.css";
  ...
}

Add classes in a tailwind.config

Tailwind CSS uses utility classes to style your website or application. These classes are applied to your HTML elements to control their appearance. You can use different classes to create different looks for your theme.

In this step, you need to overwrite Tailwind's default theme to create your theme like below,

/** @type {import('tailwindcss').Config} */
module.exports = {
  content: ["./src/**/*.{html,ts}"],
  theme: {
    extend: {
      colors: {
        primary: "var(--color-primary)",
        secondary: "var(--color-secondary)",
        success: "var(--color-success)",
        danger: "var(--color-danger)",
        info: "var(--color-info)",
        label: "var(--color-label)",
      },
      fontSize: {
        lg: "var(--font-primary)",
        md: "var(--font-label)",
      },
    },
  },
};

The above configuration will take colors according to the selected theme using CSS variables functionality.

You can use these classes inside your UI like below,

<div class="border-info bg-primary flex items-center justify-center 
            text-center text-info w-[1000px] h-[100px]">
    <span class="text-lg">Hello from Tailwind themes</span>
</div>

Change theme

Now it's time to add life to the code!!! Let’s add a button to the UI, which will switch the theme.

<button type="button"
    class="mt-5 bg-danger border-info text-center h-[auto] 
           w-[auto] p-5 rounded-5 text-info text-sm"
    onclick="changeTheme()">
        Change theme
</button>

First, we need to add data-theme attribute to the <HTML>,

<script>
  document.querySelector("html").setAttribute("data-theme", "default");
</script>

Then, On clicking the button, we will change the data-theme attribute of the <html> tag, which will change the colors of the theme.

<script>
  document.querySelector("html").setAttribute("data-theme", "default");

  changeTheme = () => {
    var theme =
      document.querySelector("html").getAttribute("data-theme") == "default"
        ? "light"
        : "default";

      document.querySelector("html").setAttribute("data-theme", theme);
  };

</script>

Here is the full code of the HTML,

<!doctype html>
<html>
  <head>
    <meta charset="UTF-8" />
    <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0" />
    <link href="./output.css" rel="stylesheet" />
  </head>
  <body>
    <div class="flex flex-col items-center justify-center h-screen">
      <div
        class="flex items-center justify-center border-info 
               bg-primary text-center text-info w-2/6 h-24">
        <span class="text-lg">Hello from Tailwind themes</span>
      </div>
      <button
        id="button"
        type="button"
        class="mt-5 bg-danger border-info text-center p-5 rounded-5 
               text-info text-sm"
        onclick="changeTheme()">
        Change theme
      </button>
    </div>
  </body>

  <script>
    document.querySelector("html").setAttribute("data-theme", "default");

    changeTheme = () => {
      var theme =
        document.querySelector("html").getAttribute("data-theme") == "default"
          ? "light"
          : "default";

      document.querySelector("html").setAttribute("data-theme", theme);
    };
  </script>
</html>

That’s it. You will have your themes working 🎉.


Conclusion

With a few key steps, you’re now able to create Tailwind CSS themes effortlessly! Remember, your themes should reflect your brand and resonate with your audience.

If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to add them in the comments section.

Keep crafting and stay innovative!!


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Sumita Kevat
Sumita is an experienced software developer with 5+ years in web development. Proficient in front-end and back-end technologies for creating scalable and efficient web applications. Passionate about staying current with emerging technologies to deliver.


sumita-k image
Sumita Kevat
Sumita is an experienced software developer with 5+ years in web development. Proficient in front-end and back-end technologies for creating scalable and efficient web applications. Passionate about staying current with emerging technologies to deliver.

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