I'm looking for the most absolute basic way to create a custom theme. By this I mean, what are the absolute bare minimum requirements for Drupal to run my theme. So, basically, I guess what files does Drupal need and what settings absolutely need to be specified? I tried looking at the Theming Guide over at drupal.org but I didn't find it to be very helpful.


4 Answers 4


If you're using D7, it ships with the stark theme which is a pretty good example of how basic you can get.

  • After looking through the Stark folder, it is indeed ultra simple. It's not joking when it says all the HTML generated comes straight from the Drupal core. Great to start with. +1 Jul 9, 2011 at 17:59
  • 1
    +1, Stark is great if you want to understand the basics of Drupal theming. Be aware that 'great to start learning' does not necessarily mean 'great to start building'. There are many starter themes, based on the best practices of experienced themers, that will give you a head start when building your custom theme. Jul 11, 2011 at 19:03
  • I admit, I tried Zen but it was just so bloated in terms of CSS files, I couldn't handle it. Jul 12, 2011 at 3:54

You need a .info file to tell about your theme. That should be enough or you might need to include an empty template.php file as well.

The rest you don't need which are

  • template files (.tpl.php)
  • CSS files
  • JS files
  • Theme overrides located in your template.php file.

Check out Creating a CSS-only theme, which shows you how to make an entire theme with basically two files (minimum): a .info file and a .css file.

  • I accepted the answer given by Nigel because, essentially, Stark gave me a visual representation of this answer. Cheers. Jul 9, 2011 at 18:04

Checkout the omega theme. It has everything you need and a pretty good backend interface to start.

There's lots of great documentation on the omega theme website as well on how to get started and theme your website.

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