Roots theme takes you back to the roots. It is a modern HTML5 + CSS3 theme blueprint inspired by the HTML5 boilerplate (Paul Irish and Divya Manian) and drupal theme tao (Frank Febbraro).

The main features are:

  • browser default style reset
  • complete drupal core style reset
  • server side css browser selection - no more hacks or conditional markup
  • implementation of a meaningfull typographic base grid / style
  • css expert skill included (kudos boilerplate)
  • theme preprocessors (kudos tao theme)
  • custom theme settings for design development

What's next? Just implement your design as a sub-theme to roots to benfit from a lean and clean base. As a starting point for rapid development the sub-theme Sprout is in the package. Sprout provides basically a clean admin theme and some ideas about how to build up on roots.

Under the hood

Style reset

The roots style reset is a HTML5 reset (including deprecated html tags). To overcome the annoying work of re-styling drupal core elements (eg. the roots base theme excludes all drupal core style sheets. Saved bandwidth is a free addon.

Some functional drupal styles (auto-complete, draggables ..) are re-implemented via the roots.drupal stylesheet in a way that does not affect the overall clean look. Please note that all addon modules are free to add their own styles.

As we all don't like ugly css hacks or browser specific style-sheet, a server side css browser selection is included. You can target almost any browser type or feature by just using the classes automatically added to the body tag.

All stylesheet inclusion is done media-specific - never use media=all. It makes your layout a lot more predictable.

For the screen media the following stylesheets are included:

  • roots.reset - the bwroser default reset
  • roots.base - basic definitions for readability and usability
  • roots.grid - just a raw layout
  • roots.type - the typographic rythm
  • roots.table - base styles for tables
  • roots.form - base styles for form elements
  • roots.drupal - essential drupal core styles

For the print media we define the following stylesheets:

  • roots.reset - the bwroser default reset
  • roots.base - basic definitions for readability and usability
  • roots.print - all the print specific stuff

Typographic base style

So many design blueprints take care of your layout grid while there's so much need for vertical rythm and typographic sensibility. Roots adds this while providing full freedom of choice to the designer via the sub theme.

The templates will add the class prose to areas containing output rendered by drupal filters. Only those areas benefit from the typographical base style while all other content is left quite untouched (as is the page layout).

Alterations to core markup

Roots leaves most core element markup alone - but implements some very good overrides from tao theme:


The fieldset element in core has been retained but with additional markup for simpler theming. The legend element contains a sub-element span that can be positioned properly across browsers and the main contents of the fieldset follow other object templates with a div.fieldset-content.


To distinguish between different instances of the .form-item wrapper, Roots adds a .form-item-labeled class to labeled items and .form-item-option to checkboxes and radios.


All numeric page links are grouped together into a ul.pager-list set. Next/previous links are grouped together under ul.pager-links.


All username instances are wrapped in an a.username or span.username.

Print style preview

Roots allows a site's print stylesheets to be previewed by checking whether $_GET['print'] is set. For example, to preview a node's print stylesheets, you would go to


All template files are located in the templates sub-folder. They're designed to follow a strict pattern. Each element is classed as such:
with the name of its hook and then the type of wrapping element within the template.

Theme settings

In the theme settings for roots you can toggle settings that provide visual aid while growing your very own theme based on roots.

Sprout - an overview

Sprout is a sub-theme to roots. Sprout is where all the customizing happens.

The main features are:

  • reasonable backend style
  • a extendable set of amazing admin dashboard icons
  • some (minimal) inspiration for your individual frontend style

What's next? Sprout is a work in progress. It is meant as a starting point - so go ahead and enjoy.


Want to customize this theme in a unique way for your website, we are here to help you!

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