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Unpack The Features Of Dawn, Shopify’s Flexible, Mobile-First Theme


Meet Dawn, the latest free theme from Shopify. It includes an adaptable layout, site-wide cross-selling sections, and media-optimized product pages to boost sales. Easier to customize than ever, sections and blocks let you add, rearrange, and edit every page, without any coding.

We first announced Dawn in June 2021 at Unite, our developer conference, along with the launch of Online Store 2.0, which offers new features that significantly expand your ability to customize your online store. Dawn is now available for download on the Shopify theme store, along with other Online Store 2.0 themes.

While themes can be optimized for specific target segments, we strategically designed Dawn to please a wide range of merchants. We wanted to build a theme that could scale with you and your business over time. From setting up your online store for the first time to growing your sales, Dawn should continue to fit just right, like a good pair of jeans.  

We opted for a muted and minimalist art direction to let your products, assets, and content shine. We also stuck to user experience patterns buyers are familiar with across the web, so they can shop intuitively and feel right at home browsing your online store. 

We can’t wait to see how merchants around the globe will use Dawn and make it their own. We hope you give it a try. Here are a few reasons why we think you might like it. 

Achieve your desired vision with new ways to customize and more flexibility.

We’ve fit a lot of flexibility into Dawn. The theme lets you add sections to any page of your online store. Plus, we broke down some key sections into blocks, letting you add, remove, and reorder them to create custom layouts that better communicate your brand and product offering. One instance of flexibility that's particularly exciting is Dawn’s collage section, which lets you assemble different content blocks together to create a collage layout. You can use this section to feature related products on a product page, as a lookbook, an image gallery on your homepage, or even as a video section on your about page. The possibilities are endless!


Installing and managing apps has never been easier. Like other Online Store 2.0 themes, Dawn also includes support for app blocks, which let you easily insert apps into your online store and customize their look and feel within the theme editor. You can expect more and more apps to support app blocks in the future.

Flexible functionality and new theme editing choices mean you have more freedom when editing layouts and can achieve your vision without the help of a developer. 

Turn shoppers into paying customers

Dawn is our fastest theme yet—in fact, it’s 35% faster than Debut. It’s no secret how site speed can influence conversion, so we made it our mission to build the fastest theme possible. To achieve this, we had to optimize the way Dawn’s templates load content and intentionally handpicked the most relevant and flexible sections to keep the theme fast. We think you and your customers will love it. 

Most shop traffic comes from mobile sessions nowadays, so it was particularly important for us to design this theme to be mobile-first. Here’s a little behind-the-scenes secret: designing for mobile viewports is a lot more challenging than for desktop. You’re fitting the same amount of functionality and content onto a much smaller screen, and too often it’s tackled as an afterthought. When designing Dawn, we started with mobile screens and then adapted those for desktop. The result is a smarter, more intuitive user experience for buyers. As well as being mobile-first, Dawn is optimized to help you sell to more shoppers. For example, shoppers with visual impairments who may need to use screen readers or those who shop in different online spaces.  


When shopping online, buyers tend to engage in different types of behavior. We purposefully designed Dawn's experiences to meet the product discovery needs of different types of shoppers. First, there are the goal-oriented buyers who land on a website looking for something specific, so we designed sections that provide quick access to collections and introduced easy-to-use product-filtering options. Then, there are discovery-oriented buyers who like to browse and be inspired by content in order to make a purchasing decision, so we layered in highly visual sections that can be added to all pages. We also introduced cross-selling sections and blocks to let buyers discover related products throughout the shopping funnel, including in the cart. This way, you can introduce your buyers to other new products they’re likely to be interested in, even though they weren’t explicitly seeking them.

Easy to set up and get started

We consciously tried to make Dawn as easy to customize as possible so that by toggling a few settings you can achieve a differentiated and professional-looking online store. One way this manifests itself in Dawn is through our harmonized color palette. We dramatically simplified the color settings by reducing the number of options merchants have to customize, while still providing plenty of room for brand expression. This not only simplified the theme setup experience but also ensured consistent use of color across it.

Another great thing about Dawn is its adaptable layout. No matter what quantity of products or content you’re working with, Dawn’s templates scale to create visually pleasing pages. We also know that not all merchants have access to consistently edited product images, especially when you’re just getting started. That’s why we introduced a fail-proof setting in product and collection grid sections to adjust image ratios and instantly achieve a uniform layout. Moreover, the layout is robust out of the box to prevent inconsistent text alignment when images have different aspect ratios.

Make sure you preview Dawn in the Shopify theme store. To learn more about how Online Store 2.0 features compare to features in vintage themes, visit our updated documentation.

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This originally appeared on Shopify and is made available here to cast a wider net of discovery.
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