A walk through branding with the SharePoint 2013 Design Manager

January 8, 2013 —  (Page 1 of 4)
A common requirement for many SharePoint projects is to apply some sort of custom branding to a site. However, many SharePoint admins and Web designers found that trying to apply branding to SharePoint proved to be a bit of a challenge, especially with regard to knowing what placeholders needed to be present on a master page for it to work properly. Microsoft is looking to remedy this in SharePoint 2013 with the Design Manager.

The Design Manager is basically a wizard that walks you through the basics of creating custom-branded master pages and page layouts for your publishing site (the Design Manager isn’t available on sites without the publishing features activated). You still have a lot of work to do, but Microsoft has tried to make the process much easier than it used to be. The idea behind the Design Manager is that Web designers can create an HTML mockup of what they would like their SharePoint site to look like in whatever Web design tool they are comfortable with, then convert that HTML file into a SharePoint master page.

You can access the Design Manager directly from the Site Actions gear. On the left side of the page are the various steps you’ll be working through. Step 1 is basically an introduction, so you likely won’t be spending much time here.

Step 2 of the Design Manager allows you to set up various Device Channels, which allow you to have a different master page applied depending on the browser that is accessing the site. This is a topic for another article, so let’s move on.

In Step 3, you are given a URL for mapping a drive on your computer directly to the site’s Master Page Gallery. In SharePoint 2013, the recommendation is to put all branding assets, including images, scripts and CSS, in the master page gallery. (In past versions, the recommendation was to keep master pages and page layouts in the master page gallery, and have images CSS, and scripts in the Style Library.)

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