Customizing your Shopify theme: The ultimate list of resources & tools

Posted by Thomas Holmes on

Here it is - the ultimate list of resources, references and tools to help you customize your Shopify theme! There are many that you can use directly in your store and there also quite a few to help inspire the process overall.

Let's start with your logo!

10 steps to the perfect logo
Although this article is aimed at logo designers, there’s a lot of good pointers for us all.
10 Common mistakes in logo design
This is a great article in Smashing Magazine that outlines ten mistakes to be avoided in logo design - well worth reading.
Logo Design Love - a guide to creating iconic brand identities (book)
A beautifully designed book on logo design. You can read a free chapter here.
LogoPond - identity inspiration
Although they seem to have gone way overboard with advertising, this gallery of logos is worth a browse for those seeking inspiration.
Brand identity style guides from around the world
This article features links to more than sixty brand identity guides - a fascinating resource that shows how the big companies manage their identities.

How about a bit of color?

ColorLovers - colors palettes
Searching for a color-combination (or palette) for your store. Browse through millions of color palettes on this immensely useful site. Note not all palettes are available for commercial use.
Spectrum app (for Mac)
This excellent app provides some great ways to create your own color palettes.
Kuler - explore, create and share color themes
A great online tool from Adobe with some similar features to the Spectrum App plus the option to browse through thousands of downloadable color themes (or palettes). App (for iOS)
Create color palettes on your iPhone or iPad based on a website or photo of your choice.
Browse the Behance network by Pantone color
Behance is full of amazing creative work. With this tool, you can browse the network based on a pantone color and find great artists and inspiration.

And a background or pattern?

Subtle patterns
If you’re looking for a low-key pattern to use as a background on your store, this site provides hundreds of great subtle patterns to download. Also check out this bookmarklet that allows you to visualize the patterns direct on your store.
Noise texture generator
For another variation on subtle patterns, use this tool to create textures with noise.
ColorLovers - patterns
This great site also offers a huge selection of patterns. Note not all patterns are available for commercial use.
Dinpattern - free seamless patterns
If you’re looking for something a whole lot less subtle, take a look at this site for some attractive repeating patterns.
25 free high resolution blurred backgrounds
Another option is to go with a high resolution blurred image for a background.
Creative market - handpicked graphics
You’ll find a nice selection of paid patterns in this marketplace.
Patternhead - design freebies, resources & inspiration
Some excellent and free design resources from Shopify Expert, John Rawsterne. You'll find some great patterns for your store here!

Great photography really helps!

Flickr - advanced search for creative commons licensed photos
This photo sharing website is an excellent source for photos. You can only use photos shared under the creative commons attribution license for free. Use the advanced search and check the “only search within creative commons-licensed content” checkbox. You will also have to credit the photographer with a link back to their photograph - some good guidelines here.
iStockPhoto - royalty-free stock photos
On this site you can buy individual stock images. So many stock photos are horribly overused and clichéd so if you have to use stock photos, spend time to find good ones.
Analog App (for Mac)
You can use this useful app to find a great filter to your photos. You can also adjust the filter intensity to control the effect of the filter.
Edit photographs in your Shopify admin
While viewing a product, click the edit icon on a product image and you can carry out a whole host of adjustments to the image including applying filters. Useful!

And pretty fonts are always good!

Google web fonts
An excellent service by Google that provides access to more than six hundred free web fonts. Integration into your theme will require some knowledge of HTML and CSS.
Another excellent service providing hundreds of high-quality commercial fonts for use in your store. There are a number of different pricing plans including one for free. Integration into your theme will also require some knowledge of HTML and CSS.
Typecast - Experiment with type
A great tool for visualizing and experimenting with over 23,000 font combinations available for the web.
Best 20 webfonts from Google Web Fonts and @font-face embedding
A great showcase for some of the best Google web fonts.

Perhaps some icons?

An amazing archive of hundreds of free icons. If you need icons - check it out!
The Noun Project
A project to build a global visual language of symbols featuring hundreds of downloadable icons.
The Entypo pictogram suite
More than 250 carefully-crafted pictograms available for free for use in your store.
Iconic open-source icon set
More than 170 icons are included in this high-quality icon set.

Or maybe you need to learn about editing your theme?

A practical guide to HTML & CSS
A set of lessons covering from beginner to advanced levels. If you want to delve into HTML and CSS, this is a great place to start!
Web fundamentals and Javascript courses at Codecademy
Learn to code HTML, CSS and javascript with these online interactive courses. A brilliant new approach to learning coding.
Shopify wiki
The official Shopify wiki covers the basics for store owners, designers and developers.
Build a Shopify theme with the liquid engine (.net magazine)
A good overview article written in .net magazine covering the basics of liquid for Shopify.
I’m going to teach you to be a Shopify ninja
A beautifully designed tutorial that brings you through developing a Shopify theme from scratch. Great for understanding how it all fits together.
Shopify Cheatsheet
The cheatsheet provides a complete list of the variables used in the Liquid template language used in Shopify themes.
Shopify Textmate (Mac) and e-text-editor (Windows) bundle
If you are used to one of these desktop editors then this is the best way to edit and update theme files you’re developing.
Shopify desktop theme editor (for Mac)
Extending the idea of the textmate bundle a little further, with this app for Mac you can edit and update files from your favourite code editor on your desktop. 

Research tools are always helpful

Evernote app - remember everything
Evernote is an brilliant research tool for filing and cataloguing designs or design elements that you find interesting. It can be used for saving interesting articles you find online. It has many other uses also. Well worth checking out.

And inspiration rarely hurts

A vast source of inspiration - try a search on any subject in this content sharing service.
Svpply - “a curated collection of the world’s best products and stores”
Not only is this a good place to market your design-conscious products, it’s also a place that you can research how other stores present their products and stores online. They have a really beautiful iOS app too.
On a similar note to Svpply, Fancy describes itself as part store, blog, magazine and wish list. Plenty of research and marketing opportunities here.
Awwwards - recognition and prestige for web designers
If you want to see the latest trends in web design, Awwwards is certainly one of the best places to visit.
SiteInspire - website showcase
Describing itself as “a showcase of the finest web and interactive design” - there’s plenty of great web design here.
The best designs
An excellent gallery of all types of inspiring websites. It also features a large selection of premium themes for Wordpress just in case you’re thinking of starting a blog. 
Benchwarmer for Dribbble (extension for the Google Chrome browser)
Dribbble is a community of designers sharing their work in progress. With Benchwarmer installed, each time you open up a new tab in Chrome, you get an overview of what’s happening on Dribbble. There’s always something to catch the eye!

Of course, we couldn't forget...

Shopify blog
Great new articles every week and a huge archive of comprehensive articles. It's well worth digging in!
Shopify discussion forums
As well as providing a deep archive of questions and answers, the forums are also a great place to post your questions.
Shopify experts directory
Or perhaps you want to hire a professional to customize your store? Enter Shopify experts, a directory of designers, developers, marketers and photographers that are all Shopify-approved, the best of the best! 
Shopify Entrepreneurs Facebook Group
This lively group on Facebook had around 15 thousand members: store owners, Shopify experts but above all entrepreneurs. You'll have to request membership. It also now has a spin-off discussion forum.
Shopify & You ebook
Naturally the list couldn't be complete without my ebook on Shopify. An easy-to-use, step-by-step ebook that covers everything you need to know about designing, setting up and running a truly awesome online store with Shopify.
That’s it! Or at least that’s the first attempt at this list of resources. If you have any essentials that you think should be added to the list, please let me know in the comments.
Please share this list with relevant friends and co-workers!

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