Branding SharePoint using Application Customizers

I’ve been a SharePoint designer now for over 10 years. By designer, I mean changing the look and feel of SharePoint. Not just adding simple themes, but making SharePoint, “not look like SharePoint”.

It’s a common request for companies and schools to have an intranet or communication portal which reflects their brand and identity. Although Microsoft have come along in leaps and bounds in this area with out-of-the-box options, it’s still a common requirement for some deeper unique branding.

The ways in which we apply design customisations have changed over the years. From MasterPages and themes to custom actions, the landscape has been ever-changing but moving slowly towards JavaScript and client-side customisation.

The most recent SharePoint UI (modern experience) gives designers the opportunity to deploy custom headers and footers to all new SharePoint pages. To make these customisations, we need to use the new SharePoint framework. Projects are built using web stack tools and libraries such as Node.js, Yeoman and Gulp. I’ve provided an overview of these on previous blog posts last year:

Getting started with the new SharePoint framework

Creating a picture library slideshow using jQuery cycle



In the video above, I show how design has changed over the years and I create a new Application Customizer SharePoint framework extension using TypeScript and SASS for design purposes.

It’s an exciting time to be a SharePoint designer and the quicker these extensions are released as general availability, the better! We can then start updating customisations and switching clients over to the new pages.

4 thoughts on “Branding SharePoint using Application Customizers

  1. Matt Schuessler

    Hi Tony, Great beginner tutorial! Thank you for sharing. I would love to see more videos getting started with SPFx.

  2. Adam Coulombe

    Thanks Tony, great video – I appreciated the summary/history of customizing SP. I am just getting into it and its often difficult to find the right info that is up to date.

    I am going to give your technique a shot here with the Application Customizers;

    Question though, while this is a great intro, how to you go about depolying your customizer to the site to affect the look for all other users (instead of just in the debugger?)

  3. Tony Phillips Post author

    Hi Adam,

    Thanks for the feedback!

    The application customizers can be packaged and deployed the same way that SharePoint Framework Web Parts are. The dev center has a great guide on how to do this: Dev Center

    Remember that these are in preview until towards the end of the year so these will not work on non-developer tenancies!

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