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Call me Sam: a theme for Hugo

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Main page screenshot

Sam is a Simple and Minimalist theme for Hugo. It lets you categorize and showcase your content the way you want to.

Focused on content and typography, the stylized index page is really just a list of navigation links that you can set in your config.toml. This versatile design is limited only by your imagination, as you can make it say anything you like. Here are some ideas.

Index page iterations.


  • Showcase content
    • Content-focused page templates for list pages, single pages, and posts
    • A responsive CSS grid gallery page that renders from images in your Page Bundle
  • Customize
    • Custom navigation menu set via config.toml
    • Custom footer text
    • Custom background video via config.toml
  • Developer-approved
    • Syntax highlighting
    • Share-ready pages with Open Graph and Twitter metadata you can customize in config.toml and page front-matter
    • Effortless use of Hugo Pipes to generate CSS from Sass files
    • Tested for compatibility with Hugo versions as far back as 0.49.2

Quick start


  • Extended version of Hugo (latest version recommended)

Extended Hugo's PostCSS requires JavaScript packages to compile the styles for this theme. If you're seeing an error like this:

Error: Error building site: POSTCSS failed to transform "css/main.css"

You can install the required packages using npm. You'll need postcss, postcss-cli, and autoprefixer.

To temporarily address this issue, please pin autoprefixer@9.8.6.

npm i -g postcss postcss-cli autoprefixer@9.8.6

If you're new to Node.js and npm, learn how to install and use npm here. It is recommended that you use a version manager for your Node.js installation, such as nvm.

Note: If you are using Hugo as a snap app, the above two Node.js packages have to be installed locally inside exampleSite.

cd exampleSite/
npm i -g postcss postcss-cli autoprefixer

1. Get the theme

Run from the root of your Hugo site:

git clone themes/sam

Alternatively you can include this repository as a git submodule. This makes it easier to update this theme if you have your Hugo site in git as well. For this you need to run:

git submodule add themes/sam

2. Configure your site

From the exampleSite, copy config.toml to the root folder of your Hugo site and change the fields as you like. There are helpful hints in the file.

3. Create pages


hugo new

Where page can be anything you like. A contact page, a bio, dates for your upcoming world tour... Anything!

4. Design your main menu and index page

In config.toml, customize the entries for [[params.mainMenu]] however you like. You can have as many or as few entries as you like. You can even include external links.

This list comprises the index page and part of the navigation menu at the bottom of single content pages. Here's an example:

    link = "/photography"
    text = "photography"

    link = "/posts"
    text = "writing"

    link = "/about"
    text = "who dis?"

Preview your site locally

Use Hugo's built-in server to see your site in action as you make changes.

hugo serve -t sam

Visit localhost:1313 in your browser to see a live preview of your site.


To create a new post, run:

hugo new posts/

Image gallery

To create an image gallery, place all the files you want included in your Page Bundle. The directory structure might then look like this:

 └── gallery/
      ├── file_1.jpg
      ├── file_2.jpg
      └── file_3.jpg

To automagically generate a gallery from the images, set type: "gallery" in the front-matter of You can also set other options for the gallery:

  • The gallery title
  • The page link with url
  • The maxWidth of the resized images
  • Whether you want the images to link to the full size files, with clickablePhotos
  • You can keep the orignal aspect ratio of the images in the grid with keepAspectRatio

Here is an example of a gallery's

title: "Portraits"
type: "gallery"
url: "/portrait-gallery"
maxWidth: "800x"
clickablePhotos: true
keepAspectRatio: false

In order to create more than one gallery, create multiple Page Bundles with images and type: "gallery" defined in the front matter. For example:

 ├── gallery/
 |   ├──
 |   ├── file_1.jpg
 |   ├── file_2.jpg
 |   └── file_3.jpg
 └── portfolio/
     ├── file_1.jpg
     ├── file_2.jpg
     └── file_3.jpg

That's it! Sam's gallery layout template will automagically build the page from your images.

Custom video background

To change the default home page background to a looping video, you need to set a list of video sources and optionally an overlay color (default: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.4)).

Here is an example configuration of config.toml:

    source  = "/background.mp4" # Your video file
    type    = "video/mp4"
    poster  = "/background.jpg" # The image to show when the video isn't playing

    overlay = "rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.4)" # optional

And here is a screenshot of what that might look like:

Video background main page screenshot

Editing the theme

This theme uses Hugo Pipes to compile, autoprefix, and minify its CSS styles from the included Sass files.

To make changes to the CSS, edit the Sass files located in assets/sass/, then build your site using extended Hugo, which you can obtain from Hugo Releases.

If when building you do not see the changes you have done, make sure to build your website with the --ignoreCache flag, otherwise Hugo will attempt to use its own cached Sass files.

You can run the built-in server to preview the site as you make changes to the Sass files!


If you have a question or get stuck, please open an issue for help and to help those who come after you. The more information you can provide, the better!


Pull requests for bug fixes and enhancements are welcome! Please ensure you first read about contributing to this project.

Open source themes like this one would not be possible without some amazing contributors. Thank you!


Copyright (C) 2018-2020 Victoria Drake

Licensed under Apache-2.0

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