Directus Style Guide

A lot of thought has gone into the Directus brand, user-experience (UX), and user-interface (UI). Therefore it is important to follow this guide precisely so that consistency is maintained across the App and all extensions.

Global CSS Variables

To keep things standardized across many extensions, we have a global set of CSS variables that are available within the App (since extensions don't have access to "local" imports, we chose not to use SASS Variables). Whenever possible, these variables should be used. All the variables in use by the Directus app can be found in the global.scss file.

Variable Usage

  • Colors
  • Transition Speed & Easing
  • Border Radius
  • Box Shadow
  • Interface Border Width
  • Interface Widths


Directus uses 4 main breakpoints:

  • Small: 0 - 800px
  • Medium: 800px - 1000px
  • Large: 1000px - 1200px
  • Extra Large: 1200px - Infinity


Customazible through property. Modals should always have the top most layer

Element z-index
content-area 0
info-sidebar 10
header-bar 20
progress bar 25
sidebar-nav 30
modal 100
loader 500*


All type is rendered in the Roboto typeface with four weights: light (300), regular (400), medium (500), and bold (700). General text should be rendered in the page default:

font-size: 13px
font-weight: 500
line-height: 17px
color: --dark-gray (an alias of --blue-grey-600)
text-rendering: optimizeLegibility
font-smoothing: antialiased
selection: #e1f0fa


Directus uses the Material Design Icon Set, and only this set should be used unless otherwise warranted. Anytime a component accepts an icon prop, you can use any of the material design icons. Just pass the official name of the icon, and the component will handle the rest.

Every attempt should be made for icons to be clear and optically aligned using Google's guide. Proper sizing for icons includes: 18px, 24px, 36px, 48px, etc

Icons used within bordered interfaces (eg: Text Input) should typically be 10px from the edges, or 20px for more padded bordered interfaces (eg: WYSIWYG)

When an icon is to be used alongside text, proper optical vertical alignment is crucial. Some icons are "visually weighted" to one side and should be adjusted from true center by 1-2 pixels to compensate.

When an icon is to be used within a box/container, proper optical alignment is crucial. Some icons are "visually weighted" to one side (or have odd pixel dimensions at certain sizes) and should be adjusted from true center by 1-2 pixels to compensate.

All icons should be vector and one-off icons (not in MD) should be included inline.


When in doubt about icon alignment, take a screenshot and use a photo application to inspect it zoomed-in. Measure the distance on sides to ensure things are aligned/centered.


Icons can be used by including an i tag with the material-icons class. The text content of this element is the name of the icon as listed on


<i class="material-icons">backup</i>
<i class="material-icons">pan_tool</i>
<i class="material-icons">show_chart</i>


Directus uses the Material Design Color Palette but the limited subset of "brand" colors should be used whenever possible. The entire Material design palette is available as global CSS variables, and aliases have been created for each brand color.

Brand Color Aliases


--darkest-gray: var(--blue-grey-900);
--darker-gray: var(--blue-grey-800);
--dark-gray: var(--blue-grey-600);
--gray: var(--blue-grey-400);
--light-gray: var(--blue-grey-300);
--lighter-gray: var(--blue-grey-100);
--lightest-gray: var(--blue-grey-50);

Other Colors

--action: var(--light-blue-600);  // Action color. Used in buttons.
--success: var(--green);          // Something succeeded or is good
--warning: var(--amber);          // Something needs the users attention before succeeding
--danger: var(--red);             // Something failed

--body-background: #f9fafa;       // Form background to provide more contrast with White
--accent: var(--light-blue-600);  // User configurable accent. eg: logo BG & CTAs
--white: #ffffff;                 // Normal white
--black: #000000;                 // Always consider using "darkest-gray" instead

Accents and Alternates (Typically for Hover States)

--accent-dark: var(--light-blue-800);
--action-dark: var(--light-blue-800);
--success-dark: var(--green-800);
--warning-dark: var(--amber-800);
--danger-dark: var(--red-800);


All of these colors are variables and can be overwritten by the developer setting up the Directus instance. To ensure consistency across the platform, never manually add hex values in the codebase, always use these color variables.

p {
  color: var(--dark-gray);

small {
  color: var(--danger);

h1 {
  color: var(--amber-500);


We have two shadow styles that are used in the platform: one normal, and one raised hover state.

.card {
  box-shadow: var(--box-shadow);

.card:hover {
  box-shadow: var(--box-shadow-accent);




Easing Curves

transition     // normal; hovers
transition-in  // something enters the view
transition-out // something leaves the view

Use slower speeds for larger UI elements.

Page Chrome

Sizing for the main Directus chrome sections have their own variables in case you want to match those standard sizes (eg. a subheader or a secondary nav sidebar).



// If you need more breathing room at the page bottom


Directus offers several global classes for consistent text/input styling, all of which are in turn controlled by the CSS Custom Properties above. This means that the platform is themeable. By relying on these classes (and variables), you make sure that your contributions will fit nicely in the platform, no matter how the CSS is altered in the future.

Font Styles

  • style-0 (display / title)
  • style-1
  • style-2
  • style-3 (labels / section titles)
  • style-4 (small print, descriptions)
  • style-btn (button text style)

Input Widths

By default, these widths range from 100px to 800px. These widhts are especially important when creating interfaces, as it makes sure that all interfaces align nicely on the edit forms.

  • small
  • normal
  • large
  • x-large

Text Overflow

When working with dynamic text elements, you'll often need to ensure longer text is cut off with an ellipsis at the end. To make this a little bit easier, you can add the no-wrap class. This stops text from wrapping and adds ellipsis where the text gets cut of. This is especially useful in the readonly component of interfaces, seeing those are being used on listing pages where space is often tight.

Interface Sizing

To properly align inside the Directus field grid, special attention should be paid to the dimensions of each interface. Below we cover each in more detail.


Directus allows for fields to be set in 1, 2, 3, or 4 columns. These columns appropriately collapse at smaller, responsive viewport widths. Each column is meant to have a 20px margin between adjacent columns. For example, two small columns with a margin between equal a normal column: 140 + 20 + 140 = 300. All interfaces should confirm to these widths, or be 100% width, allowing the parent grid to limit the size dynamically.

  --width-small: 140px;
  --width-normal: 300px;
  --width-large: 460px;
  --width-x-large: 620px;

Click here to learn more about the layout of the edit form.


Interfaces should use an intuitive default height based on the specific input. Whenever possible, height should be made into an Option so that the user may configure this to the content's needs.


Single-line interfaces (inputs, dropdowns, buttons, etc) should always try to be exactly 40px in total height (including borders) unless otherwise warranted.


For spacing (padding/margin) of elements and components, increments of 10, 20, 30, 40, etc, should be used. For less than 10px, optical alignment should be used in increments of: 2, 4, 6, or 8 pixels. 4px, 20px, and 40px are the ideal spacings.

Field Labels & Field Notes

Each field's interface is displayed on the Item Detail page alongside a field label and field note. The system renders both of these so there is no need to include them in your interface styling. In fact, to maintain a proper distance between the label, interface, and note – no additional padding/margin should be applied to the top or bottom of the interface (unless warranted).

Field Labels & Field Notes

Interface States


This is the normal state of an interface, before it gets focus.

Interface States — Default

Interface States — Placeholder



Outer Border


Text / Values

value: --gray
placeholder: --lighter-gray

Readonly & Disabled

The main difference here is that the background is transparent and there is no hover/focus state. The value should still be selectable so that it can be copied to the clipboard if needed.

Readonly & Disabled




Inherits default style, but border darkens.





Cards should have a White background and use the global Box Shadow. When hovered, they should transition to the Box Shadow Accent, and should shift up 1px. Together, this will give the effect of raising/floating off the background.

Normal: --box-shadow Hover: --box-shadow-accent


The focus state should be an obvious but not overstated change, typically using the global Accent color. Borders should transition to the accent and text should darken. Secondary information should be initially hidden, and shown only on focus (eg: characters remaining indicator seen below). If an inline icon is used, it can also transition to the Accent color on focus (see below).


Left Icon Focus






Each field must pass system validation to be saved, if it is invalid then the interface itself should show this. Borders should transition to Danger. Additionally, an icon (typically "X") can be shown inline. Text should remain the default focus color, but can transition to Danger upon blur. Optionally, you can create an explicit valid state to be shown while updating/typing.

Invalid Focus

Invalid Blur

Explicit Valid



Optional: Text (Blur Only)


Layout View

Interfaces are updated on the Item Detail page (see above), but a static value is also shown on the Item Listing page (see below). You must decide on the best way to present your interface's data as a useful, raw, small, snippet of data. Below are some examples:

  • Title Text Input Interface: Shows plaintext
  • Date Published Date Time Interface: Shows timestamp by default, option for "contextual time" (seen example)
  • Slideshow Multiple Files Interface: Since this is a relational interface that could have many attached images/files, instead we choose to show the File Count on the listing page.
  • Views Numeric Interface: Shows the the plain number value
  • Status Interface Shows as a "badge" or "placard" to help it stand out. There is also an option to only show a dot of color (no text) for a more minimal view.

Listing View


There are other Item Listing views such as Calendar, Card, Map, etc. But the Tabular (seen above) is the system default/fallback – so this is the one that must be considered first.