How to Create a Custom Theme in Magento 2?

A theme determines how the elements and the entire website are presented to the user. It combines a combination of custom templates, layouts, styles, and graphics to give a Magento store an uniform experience. There are number of ways to create a custom themes in Magento 2. You can either use a Magento Theme Builder Software like TemplateToaster to create your Magento Themes or create them by manual coding. It uses theme.xml, introduced in Magento 1.9, and a new folder structure in Magento 2 that works in a similar way to Magento 1.x, but has the added advantage that you can select unlimited parent themes to inherit from, and you can configure the theme.xml file in your theme.

Let’s say you want to create a brand new theme based on the new Magento “Blank” theme. First, you would create a new folder in app/design/frontend, for example Mageplaza/simple. You would then create a theme.xml file in this directory, path: app/design/frontend/Mageplaza/simple (it is probably best to copy it from app/design/frontend/Magento/blank/theme.xml), In this case, we want to base on Magento 2’s Blank theme.

How To Create Magento 2 Theme

9 Simple Steps To Create Magento 2 Theme:

So your app/design/frontend/mageplaza/theme.xml file should look something like this:

<theme xmlns:xsi="" xsi:noNamespaceSchemaLocation="../../../../lib/internal/Magento/Framework/Config/etc/theme.xsd">
  <title>Mageplaza Simple</title>

Theme structure

Theme Folder structure

├── simple/
│   ├── etc/
│   │   ├── view.xml
│   ├── web/
│   │   ├── images
│   │   │   ├── logo.svg
│   ├── registration.php
│   ├── theme.xml
│   ├── composer.json

<Vendor> is theme vendor. e.g: Mageplaza

<theme> is theme name. e.g: simple

Ok, let’s go

1. Creating a Magento theme folder

Creating a folder for the theme:

  • Go to app/design/frontend
  • Creating a vendor folder app/design/frontend/<vendor> e.g: app/design/frontend/Mageplaza
  • Create a theme folder app/design/frontend/<vendor>/<theme> e.g: app/design/frontend/Mageplaza/simple
├── Mageplaza/
│   │   ├──simple/
│   │   │   ├── ...
│   │   │   ├── ...

2. Declare your theme

Now we have folder app/design/frontend/Mageplaza/simple , now create a file named theme.xml that define basic information about theme such as: Name, parent theme (in case your theme inherits from an existing theme), preview image

<theme xmlns:xsi="" xsi:noNamespaceSchemaLocation="urn:magento:framework:Config/etc/theme.xsd">
     <title>Mageplaza Simple</title> <!-- your theme's name -->
     <parent>Magento/blank</parent> <!-- the parent theme, in case your theme inherits from an existing theme -->
         <preview_image>media/preview.jpg</preview_image> <!-- the path to your theme's preview image -->

3. Composer package

Composer is a tool for dependency management in PHP. It allows you to declare the libraries your project depends on and it will manage (install/update) them for you.

To distribute your theme as a package, add a composer.json file to the theme directory and register the package on a packaging server.

composer.json example:

    "name": "mageplaza/simple",
    "description": "N/A",
    "require": {
        "php": "~5.5.0|~5.6.0|~7.0.0",
        "magento/theme-frontend-blank": "100.0.*",
        "magento/framework": "100.0.*"
    "type": "magento2-theme",
    "version": "100.0.1",
    "license": [
    "autoload": {
        "files": [

4. registration.php file

You can add the following content to register the theme to Magento 2

 * Copyright © 2015 Magento. All rights reserved.
 * See COPYING.txt for license details.

You should change Mageplaza, simple to your vendor, theme name.

5. Creating static files, folders

In a design, there are many static files such as javascript, css, images and fonts. They are stored in separate folders in web of theme package.

Here are the structure

├── web/
│ ├── css/
│ │ ├── source/ 
│ ├── fonts/
│ ├── images/
│ ├── js/


In Magento 2, theme or extension development, when you update any files in app/design/<area>/Mageplaza/simple/web folder, you have to static folders which located at pub/static and var/view_preprocessed Otherwise, you still there is no change in frontend.

6. Configure catalog product images

As you can see in the theme structure I mentioned above, there is a file called etc/view.xml. This is configuration file. This file is required for the Magento 2 theme but it is optional if it exists in the parent theme.

Go to app/design/<area>/Mageplaza/simple/ and create a folder etc and file view.xml You can copy the view.xml file in parent theme such as Blank theme app/design/frontend/Magento/blank/etc/view.xml

Ok, let update the image configuration for catalog product grid page.

<image id="category_page_grid" type="small_image">

In view.xml, image properties are configured in the scope of element:

<images module="Magento_Catalog">

Image properties are configured for each image type defined by the id and type attributes of the <image> element:

<images module="Magento_Catalog">
	<image id="unique_image_id" type="image_type">
	<width>100</width> <!-- Image width in px --> 
        <height>100</height> <!-- Image height in px -->

In Magento 2 default, it uses <theme_dir>/web/images/logo.svg, in your theme, you can change to different file formats such as png, jpg but you have to declare it.

Logo size should be sized 300x300px and you open file <theme_dir>/Magento_Theme/layout/default.xml

<page xmlns:xsi="" xsi:noNamespaceSchemaLocation="urn:magento:framework:View/Layout/etc/page_configuration.xsd">
        <referenceBlock name="logo">
                <argument name="logo_file" xsi:type="string">images/custom_logo.png</argument>
                <argument name="logo_img_width" xsi:type="number">300</argument> 
                <argument name="logo_img_height" xsi:type="number">300</argument>

8. Basic layout elements

The basic components of Magento page design are blocks and containers.

A container exists for the sole purpose of assigning content structure to a page. A container has no additional content except the content of included elements. Examples of containers include the header, left column, main column, and footer.

How To Create Magento 2 Theme Magento 2 Layout

9. Layout files types and conventions

Module and theme layout files

The following terms are used to distinguish layouts provided by different application components:

  • Base layouts: Layout files provided by modules. Conventional location:
    • Page configuration and generic layout files: <module_dir>/view/frontend/layout
    • Page layout files: <module_dir>/view/frontend/page_layout
  • Theme layouts: Layout files provided by themes. Conventional location:
    • Page configuration and generic layout files: <theme_dir>/<Namespace>_<Module>/layout
    • Page layout files: <theme_dir>/<Namespace>_<Module>/page_layout

Create a theme extending file

Rather than copy extensive page layout or page configuration code and then modify what you want to change, in the Magento system, you only need to create an extending layout file that contains the changes you want.

To add an extending page configuration or generic layout file:


For example, to customize the layout defined in <Magento_Catalog_module_dir>/view/frontend/layout/catalog_product_view.xml, you need to add a layout files with the same name in your custom theme, like following:



Override base layouts

Overriding is not necessary if a block has a method that cancels the effect of the originally invoked method. In this case, you can customize the layout by adding a layout file where the canceling method is invoked.

To add an overriding base layout file (to override a base layout provided by the module): Put a layout file with the same name in the following location:


These files override the following layouts:

  • <module_dir>/view/frontend/layout/<layout1>.xml
  • <module_dir>/view/frontend/layout/<layout2>.xml

Override theme layouts

To add an overriding theme file (to override a parent theme layout):


These files override the following layouts:

  • <parent_theme_dir>/<Namespace>_<Module>/layout/<layout1>.xml
  • <parent_theme_dir>/<Namespace>_<Module>/layout/<layout1>.xml


- Changing block name or alias. The name of a block should not be changed, and neither should the alias of a block remaining in the same parent element.
- Changing handle inheritance. For example, you should not change the page type parent handle.

Static Block for Magento 2

Static Block for Magento 2

Mageplaza Better Static Block is a helpful solution to manage the content of store sites properly.

Check it out!

Congrats! Now you have your first simple Magento 2 theme. You can try to create a complexible theme later. Remember to consider all the possible aspects that we share here to create an amazing theme, as well as take a look at the below theme collection suggestions.

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Image Description
Sam is the CEO & co-founder of Mageplaza, a company established to support Magento merchants with different powerful tools and resources. Sam Nguyen is also the CEO & founder of Avada Commerce, an e-commerce solution provider headquartered in Singapore – aiming to support more than a million online businesses to grow and develop.

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