Visual modes

Light mode

The light mode is the default mode in Cloudscape and is intended to be used under optimal lighting conditions, such as daylight and well-illuminated spaces.

This mode is suitable for reading large amounts of text, due to the background and text color combination. It also facilitates consuming several information blocks at once, rather than focusing on a very specific task, making it easy for the eye to scan all the elements in one page.

Dark mode

The dark mode is used to build low light interfaces that help reduce the eye strain caused by long hours of screen use. It offers better contrast in very bright environments, such as direct sunlight, and eases the consumption of information in poor lighting conditions, improving accessibility in both cases.

The dark mode provides the user with greater focus, sequences the different content areas on the screen, and improves productivity in highly interactive interfaces. The use of darker background colors and brighter foreground colors creates a sense of depth that improves the content hierarchy. The use of accent color helps highlight navigational elements and important information on the screen.

General guidelines


  • Build the light mode first, and then the dark mode.
  • Follow the dark mode implementation guide and use design tokens to implement the dark mode.
  • Give users the option to decide which type of experience works best for their needs.


  • Don't mix components from different modes in the same application

Implementation and demos

Implementation guide

1. Adjust your application's custom styles

To ensure that your custom elements can switch interface modes, use design tokens to style custom elements of your interface that are not provided out-of-the-box with Cloudscape.

The design tokens' names do not change within the same minor version and are backward compatible. To adjust your custom styles, replace all hard-coded color values with the appropriate design tokens, depending on the context of color usage.

We recommend you replace all hard-coded color values with design tokens.

2. Adjust images

Make sure that the different visual assets on the page are dark mode compatible. Always use colors with purpose as they help establish the visual hierarchy of your content. For example, using a very light color for an illustration in dark mode will make it very important on the page, while using darker colors will help it integrate better with the background.

Raster images: Replace raster images with the dark mode compliant versions or implement a dynamic switch mechanism. To do this, use our global dark mode css utility classes.

SVG images: Use design tokens, similar to your application's custom styling, to style SVG images.

3. Adjust child iframes

Child iframes do not inherit CSS styles of the parent page, therefore to ensure that they are dark mode compliant, they have their own switch mechanism.

Browser support

Dark mode is based on CSS custom properties  (also known as CSS variables). Old browsers, including IE11, do not support CSS variables , therefore switching to dark mode won't work in IE11.