Creating a Theme

Hugo has the ability to create a new theme in your themes directory for you using the hugo new command.

hugo new theme [name]

This command will initialize all of the files and directories a basic theme would need. Hugo themes are written in the Go template language. If you are new to Go, the Go template primer will help you get started.

Theme Components

A theme consists of templates and static assets such as javascript and css files. Themes can also optionally provide archetypes which are archetypal content types used by the hugo new command.


Hugo is built around the concept that things should be as simple as possible. Fundamentally website content is displayed in two different ways, a single piece of content and a list of content items. With Hugo a theme layout starts with the defaults. As additional layouts are defined they are used for the content type or section they apply to. This keeps layouts simple, but permits a large amount of flexibility.

Single Content

The default single file layout is located at layouts/_default/single.html.

List of Contents

The default list file layout is located at layouts/_default/list.html.

Partial Templates

Theme creators should liberally use partial templates throughout their theme files. Not only is a good DRY practice to include shared code, but partials are a special template type that enables the themes end user to be able to overwrite just a small piece of a file or inject code into the theme from their local /layouts. These partial templates are perfect for easy injection into the theme with minimal maintenance to ensure future compatibility.


Everything in the static directory will be copied directly into the final site when rendered. No structure is provided here to enable complete freedom. It is common to organize the static content into:


The actual structure is entirely up to you, the theme creator, on how you would like to organize your files.


If your theme makes use of specific keys in the front matter, it is a good idea to provide an archetype for each content type you have. Archetypes follow the guidelines provided.

Generator meta tag

With a growing community around Hugo we recommend theme creators to include the Generator meta tag with .Hugo.Generator in the <head> of your HTML code. The output might looks like <meta name="generator" content="Hugo 0.13" /> and helps us to analyse the usage and popularity of Hugo.