How To Design A Shopify Theme [2024]
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How To Design A Shopify Theme

Last modified: November 1, 2023

How To Design A Shopify Theme
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Numerous Shopify merchants visit the Shopify Theme Store every month to look for a new theme for their online store. Most of the themes listed on there have been created by Shopify partners, and this is a great place for freelance developers and designers to earn a small additional income by designing and selling a theme.

If you would like to earn some extra income this way, here are some useful tips to help you get started.

Key Takeaways
Understanding Shopify’s Liquid code is key to effective theme customization.
Incorporating essential Shopify features enhances theme functionality and user experience.
Investing time in learning Liquid can yield significant returns.
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1. Get Familiar With Liquid

If you’ve not worked with Shopify templates before, then you should start learning their unique open source template language, called Liquid. Without this knowledge, you’ll never know how to design and code Shopify templates for your customers.

As a template language, it acts as a conduit and intermediary between HTML and the content on a website. Without it, data such as product data, product price, page content, etc. wouldn’t be able to be rendered on a user’s browser and the website wouldn’t function.

There are numerous resources that can help those new to Liquid to become familiar. Here are a list of some of the best resources available. This is a lot of reading, but when you can charge more than $100 for a theme, the eventual value is worth the investment.

2. Use Timber Theme Framework

In addition to Liquid being unique to Shopify, there’s also an open source theme framework which is unique to Shopify, called Timber. This acts as the bare-bones for theme templates that can be used by designers to start learning Liquid. It comes ready for designing and includes a significant range of templates, snippets and code that a designer can use as it is, or modify within their own projects.

Learning Timber is an essential part of the theme development process.

3. Become Familiar With The Theme Review Process

There are numerous themes that are submitted to the Shopify Theme store, but very few of them get published within the store. This is mostly because the developers don’t understand the theme review process and get rejected because they’ve missed something off.

Before you submit your theme, you should ensure that you have the following for it.

  • Three mockup designs for desktop and mobile layouts that include homepage, collection and product pages.
  • Reasons why you’ve created your design choices.
  • A link to other design work that you’ve created.

4. Develop Something Creative

One of the biggest requirements to get your theme onto the Theme store is to ensure that you’re designing something new. Don’t offer a theme that is very similar or offers an almost carbon copy design of an existing theme. You need to fulfill a niche’s need that merchants will be looking for. This could be based on product types, inventory sizes, a merchant’s preferred marketing tactics etc..

If you can’t make your theme standout, then you’ll likely get rejected.

Creating an app is a great way to build your business. However, it is not easy and you need to spend some time investing in your new venture.

Keep Reading

Considerations in Shopify Theme Design

Mobile Responsiveness

With a significant portion of online shoppers using mobile devices, ensuring that a Shopify theme is mobile-responsive is paramount.

A theme should automatically adjust to different screen sizes, providing a seamless shopping experience across devices.

Optimization for Speed

Slow-loading websites can deter potential customers. It’s essential to optimize images, reduce unnecessary code, and streamline functionalities to ensure that the theme loads quickly, enhancing user experience and potentially boosting sales.

Integration Compatibility

Many Shopify store owners rely on third-party apps for added functionalities. A well-designed theme should be compatible with popular integrations, allowing for easy addition of features without compromising the design.

User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI)

A theme’s design should prioritize user experience, ensuring easy navigation, clear call-to-action buttons, and intuitive layouts.

The user interface should be visually appealing, aligning with the brand’s identity and resonating with the target audience.

Flexibility and Customizability

As businesses evolve, their website needs might change. A good Shopify theme should offer flexibility, allowing store owners to make adjustments and customize various elements to suit their changing requirements.

Steps in Designing a Shopify Theme

  1. Define the Objective

    Before diving into design, it’s essential to understand the primary goal of the online store. Whether it’s to showcase a product line, tell a brand story, or facilitate sales, having a clear objective will guide the design process.

  2. Research and Inspiration

    Look at successful online stores and note what works well in their design. Drawing inspiration from various sources can help in creating a unique and effective theme.

  3. Sketch and Wireframe

    Start with a rough sketch of the website layout. Once satisfied, move on to creating a detailed wireframe, outlining the placement of elements, navigation, and overall structure.

  4. Choose a Color Palette and Typography

    Colors and fonts play a significant role in conveying a brand’s identity. Select a color palette that aligns with the brand, and choose typography that is both aesthetically pleasing and readable.

  5. Develop the Theme

    With the design elements in place, begin the development phase. This involves coding the theme, ensuring mobile responsiveness, and integrating necessary functionalities.

  6. Test on Multiple Devices

    Once the theme is developed, test it across various devices and browsers to ensure consistency and functionality. Address any issues or glitches that arise during this phase.

  7. Launch and Gather Feedback

    After thorough testing, launch the theme. Encourage feedback from users and make necessary adjustments based on their input to continually improve the theme’s performance and user experience.

Conclusion: How To Design A Shopify Theme


Creating an app is a great way to build your business. However, it is not easy and you need to spend some time investing in your new venture.

  • What should I consider when designing a unique Shopify theme?

    Technical proficiency and creativity are vital for designing a unique Shopify theme. Analyze current themes to identify gaps and create a design that caters to niche industries, specific products, or inventory sizes, ensuring enhanced functionality and user experience.

  • What are the challenges faced when designing a Shopify theme?

    Designing a Shopify theme presents challenges such as ensuring mobile responsiveness, optimizing for fast loading speeds, and integrating various third-party apps without compromising design integrity.

  • How long does it typically take to design a Shopify theme from scratch?

    Designing a Shopify theme from scratch can vary in duration based on complexity and requirements, but on average, it takes between 4 to 6 weeks. Factors such as custom functionalities, design intricacies, and client feedback can influence the overall timeline.

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