HIG Theme Data


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139233Jun 10, 2021Apr 3, 2017Minified + gzip package size for @hig/theme-data-poc in KB


HIG theme data proof-of-concept

HIG theme data is a representation of the HIG visual design language in the form of data.

Getting started

yarn add @hig/theme-data-poc

Access theme data as json

import lightGrayTheme from '@hig/theme-data-poc/build/lightGrayTheme.json';

// {
// ...
// }

Access theme data as javascript

import { lightGrayTheme } from '@hig/theme-data-poc';

// {
// ...
// }

Extend a theme to make a new variation

import { extendTheme, resolveTheme, lightGrayTheme } from '@hig/theme-data-poc';

const redAccentedThemeConfig = extendTheme(lightGrayTheme.config, {
const redAccentedTheme = resolveTheme(redAccentedThemeConfig);

// {
// ...
// ...
// }


  • Autodesk products evolve toward a greater level of visual coherence
  • Product teams can alter visual design of products with minimal developer effort


  • Enable teams across Autodesk to share UI components
  • Shared components are highly visually flexible
  • HIG developers are not a bottleneck to collaboration


  • Deliver HIG design as data for consumption by any product regardless of tech stack
  • Enable product teams to customize theme values in order to meet their needs as they see fit
  • Enable product teams to extend the schema to incorporate new or product-specific components

Important domain concepts for everyone


Named values (colors, spacings, typographic specifications, etc.) from which most (all?) other values in a theme are derived


A property of a component provided by a theme. E.g. Divider is a component. '1px' is a border width. DIVIDER.BORDER_WIDTH is a role mapping a width to the border width property of the divider component.

Theme schema

A set of roles and types which define the properties of the design language


Data defining a primitive value (e.g. “#0696D7” or “16px”) for each role in the theme schema.

Additional concepts for technical folks

Theme configuration

Data defining a primitive value or reference for each role in the theme schema.


References in a theme configuration may point to a basic value or another role. References may point to roles defined with another reference. For example, TEXT_AREA.FOCUS.COLOR may refer to INPUT.FOCUS.COLOR, which refers to ACCENT_COLOR, which refers to BASICS.COLORS.AUTODESK_BLUE_600.

Theme generator

The theme generator is javascript code that overrides values in a theme, adds new roles and values to a theme, and replaces references with primitive values.

Thoughts on modeling a theme

We have chosen to model theme data more simply than the domain.

In terms of domain, at the highest level, values in a theme fall into three categories—basics, system-level, and component-specific. Examples of system-level values are accent colors, default text properties, and colors of background surfaces. Component-level values fit into a hierarchy beginning with category (e.g. form fields), below that falls component (e.g. select element), then sub-component (e.g. option element). Category, component, and subcomponent are arbitrarily deep, and not all components fall within a category. Within a component values vary according to state. Component states are better represented by a node-map than a tree. Finally, for a given state, a value maps to a property (e.g. background color).

- Basics
- System-level values
- Component values
    - Category - optional
        - Component
            - Subcomponent - arbitrarily deep
                - State* - more of a node map than a tree
                    - Property: value

In data we model the theme as a flat map of key-value pairs. We represent the hierarchy in the key, but only as much as is needed to disambiguate one key from another. e.g. a role in the theme may have a key such as TEXT_AREA_DISABLED.TEXT_COLOR. The key uses component name, state name, and property name but does not describe a category.

Ideas discussed but not advanced at this time

  • Stylesheet factories: Functions that map a theme and state to a stylesheet for a component
  • Stylesheets: Data providing a set of styles for each state a component can enter
  • Using theme schema to raise errors in development when attempting to access an undefined or mis-typed role
  • Validating themes against a json schema
  • Considering how a component will declare role dependencies

If you find any bugs or have a feature request, please open an issue on github!

The npm package download data comes from npm's download counts api and package details come from npms.io.