Being Shopify's first source and reference theme with Online Store 2.0 features, the theme's built-in performance, flexibility will help build better commerce. Shopify Dawn theme represents an HTML-first, JavaScript-only-as-needed approach to theme development.

If you are a merchant getting started with Shopify, the Dawn theme is the default theme you will be getting started. So when compared to the Shopify Debut theme, you are likely to start with a theme that is 35 times faster. Built with some amazing features and exciting add-ons, let's explore the Shopify Dawn theme in detail below. 

Read our Shopify 2.0 benefits for merchants and developers this BFCM 2021 to capture more sales like never before.

Shopify Dawn Theme overview: 

Dawn Shopify theme is the first theme that uses atomic design components, minimal JavaScript, and other opinionated sets of features to be an ultra-lightweight, mobile-first theme that maximizes flexibility and minimizes complexity. 

Best features Shopify Dawn Theme:

  • Web-native: Through progressive enhancement—not polyfills, Shopify Dawn theme supports all the latest web browsers while maintaining support for the older ones.

  • Supports all features: The theme functionality, design, and flexibility allow merchants to build custom layouts with JSON templates, app blocks, and sections on all pages.

  • JavaScript-only-as-needed: The Shopify Dawn theme uses Javascript only as-needed approach to enhance the store performance while delivering the best experience.

  • Accessibility: From the tree view of all the content to accessible color schemes, the Dawn theme is organized to help merchants easily update the hierarchy of a page.

How to install Dawn Theme Shopify 

Simple as downloading Shopify themes, you can leverage the Shopify Dawn theme by visiting the Shopify Theme Store. You can see the Shopify GitHub repository for theme development and pull and push your custom requests. 

Shopify Online Store 2.0

Suppose you are looking for help migrating your theme to Shopify dawn theme or upgrading your theme to Online store 2.0 features, or implementing the Shopify 2.0 features in your pre-existing themes. In that case, you can always reach HulkApps Shopify Online Store 2.0 experts. 

Upgrade to Shopify 2.0

Easily mark the changes with Shopify 2.0 Dawn Theme editor

Simplified to empower merchants to take advantage of Online Store 2.0 new features and tools, the Shopify Dawn theme editor is categorized into three parts: Left Panel, Preview Section, and the Right Panel.

  • Left panel - Adding sections and app blocks: 

  • Shopify Online Store 2.0 - Left Panel

    Here you can change the layout or structure of the sections to reflect your content sequence on your store page. You can also add sections or blocks (inside the section) whenever needed.

  • Preview section:
  •  Shopify Online Store 2.0 - Preview Section

    The theme editor preview section would be showing the changes done in the layout. You can also observe these changes with three different preview options: Mobile, Desktop, and Full-screen.

    To select a particular page: You can select the drop-down given above the preview section to select the page you want the changes to be implemented. By default, it would be showing the layout of the homepage.

  • Right panel:

    Shopify Online Store 2.0 - Right Panel

    The theme editor now includes a tree view structure to view the section's content in the right panel sidebar instead of drilling down into different sections. You can hide, edit the content from this sidebar, and, most importantly, include dynamic resources. These options will let you quickly update the hierarchy of a page. 

    If you want to learn more about other Shopify 2.0 themes and the theme architecture design between Shopify and Shopify 2.0, you can read our blog - Online Store 2.0 Shopify Themes and Architecture.

    Why you should upgrade your Shopify to the new Shopify Online Store 2.0

    Empowering the creatives and giving more power to merchants to build a flexible storefront, Shopify Online Store 2.0 launches a new store design experience - read more in our Shopify 2.0 introduction blog. Below is a quick snap of the difference between Shopify Vintage themes and Shopify Dawn themes. 

    Features Vintage Theme Dawn Theme Shopify
    Supports Desktop and mobile view Yes Yes
    Customize using Theme Editor Yes Yes
    Sections on all pages No Yes
    Structured color scheme - Yes 
    Optimized for speed - Yes
    Easily integrate the apps  No Yes
    Multiple language currencies Yes Yes
    Collection page filtering By product tag only Yes
    Supports dynamic sources for metafields Yes

    Shopify Dawn Theme Customization

    Before we go ahead and play around with the Shopify Dawn theme, here are a few points on the supported page types, sections, and color scheme of the Shopify Dawn Theme. 

    Shopify Online Store 2.0 - Dawn Theme

    Shopify Dawn Theme - page types:

    Each theme has its own default sections and settings, and below are the page templates already available in Dawn.

    • Product pages

    Shopify Online Store 2.0 - Product Page

    By default, you will get the Product information section and a Product recommendations section, where Product information contains the following default blocks:

    • Text (default displays the vendor attribute)
    • Title
    • Text (default displays the product subtitle attribute)
    • Price
    • Variant picker
    • Quantity selector
    • Buy buttons
    • Description
    • Share

      The product information section can contain up to 16 blocks, with additional blocks such as Product rating, Quantity selector, Custom liquid, Collapsible tab, and Pop-up. 

      Suppose you want a sticky product information option or hide other variants' media when a variant is selected or enable video looping. In that case, you can mark the changes in the Product Information section settings.

      Product recommendations 

      As the terminology specifies, Product recommendations will display all similar products or products frequently bought together with this product. You can customize the product details in the product recommendation section from the right panel.

      • Collection pages

      Shopify Online Store 2.0 - collection page


      Like the product page, the collection pages have a Collection banner and a Product grid section by default. The Collection banner section settings have Show collection description and Show collection image, whereas Product grid section settings display how many products/page to their ratio and other aspects.

      • Collections list pages

      Shopify Online Store 2.0 - Collection list Page

      Like the above two points, the collections list page displays all your collections and the required options.  

      • Pages, blog pages, blog post pages, cart page, password page, 404 page, search page

      Shopify Online Store 2.0 - Theme Settings

      Like the other pages, these options have their own set of sections and settings, which you can configure to set your brand storytelling. 

      Shopify Dawn Theme - sections:

      Built-in reference to showcase Shopify Online Store 2.0 features and tools, the Shopify Dawn theme embraces Sections everywhere features. That is, you can add sections on any page, and the default sections that appear on each page are the announcement bar, the header, and the footer.

      The other section that you can leverage is:

      • Blog posts
      • Collage
      • Collection list
      • Contact form
      • Custom Liquid
      • Email signup
      • Featured product
      • Featured collection
      • Image banner
      • Image with text
      • Multicolumn
      • Page
      • Rich text
      • Video

        Each section has its own section setting that you can set up to suit your business needs.  For more detailed information on Shopify 2.0 metafields, you can read our blog - Why Shopify dynamic sections are the game-changer?

        Shopify Dawn Theme - color schemes: 

        Shopify Online Store 2.0 - Color Schema

        Revolutionizing the Debut Shopify theme, launched in 2016, Shopify Dawn theme design architecture adopts advanced UX design and web standards. As a result, the theme is 35% faster than its predecessor, more flexible with JavaScript as needed to ensure top-notch performance. 

        Manage your color scheme

        • For solid colors, 

          • Use the color picker or 

          • Enter the hexadecimal value of the color

        • For color gradients,

          • Paste the Gradient CSS Code inside the color box

          The key features of the Shopify Dawn Theme 

          • Atomic color system:

          Shopify Online Sore 2.0 - Atomic structure

          As we know, color makes a huge impact on the customer conversation; the Shopify Dawn theme provides accent color and background color to make the theme more versatile for brand expression. 

          • Open-source Theme code:

          Shopify Online Store 2.0 - Open Source Theme Code

          Encouraging the adoption of an Open Standard, Shopify Dawn theme is an open-source theme. The reference theme facilities for higher quality theme development across the board provide Shopify merchants access to premium Shopify themes.

          • Customizable sections:

          Shopify Online Store 2.0 - Sections Everywhere

          Setting the right path to deliver the optimal experience, the Shopify Dawn theme replaces the Slideshow option with the Image Banner section, where you can display one image, a piece of text, and a CTA. 

          Shopify Online Store 2.0 - Slider Component

          The best part of the Shopify Dawn theme is the slider component, where images snap from one to the next rather than having a smooth scroll between the images. It helps you maintain visual harmony while enhancing the performance of the store. 

          • Upgraded performance:

          Shopify Online Store 2.0 - Upgraded Performance

          Without losing sight of delivering the best user experience, the Shopify Dawn theme aims to maximize flexibility while minimizing complexity. 

          For instance, the header navigation (desktop type) no longer collapses into a burger icon; instead, it wraps multiple times when navigation items collide. Altering the navigation layout, this theme's behavior doesn't comprise flexibility or the conversion rate. 

          If you are a merchant looking to get proven CRO strategies that bring outstanding conversion results, collaborate with Shopify CRO experts at HulkApps that help grow your organization. 

          • Smart defaults: 

          Shopify Online Store 2.0 - Smart Defaults

          Without limiting you to crop the image to fit into the customized sections or facing content overlapping an image, the Shopify Dawn theme image integrity and accessibility are the Shopify theme's main key design principles. 

          Show your brand voice with Shopify Dawn Theme Customization

          As the introduction of Online Store 2.0 marks the beginning of a new commerce style, the Shopify Dawn theme helps merchants like you make smarter, unique design decisions while delivering the best performance, i.e., the theme's speed is high along with flexibility.

          Enhance your store flexibility with our step-by-step Shopify 2.0 migration blog.

          Apart from maintaining a healthy balance of performance and agility, the open-source codebase Shopify Dawn theme simplifies and enhances your store color choices. The customizable sections and smart defaults will give you more control over store design and reduce reliance on developers for design changes. 

          While the Shopify Dawn theme is the new default theme for merchants starting with Shopify from August 2021, you can leverage the Shopify Dawn Online store by migrating with HulkApps Shopify Online Store 2.0 experts.