Vanilla includes a simple navigation bar that you can add to the top of your sites.

The navigation items are collapsed behind a “Menu” link in small screens and displayed horizontally on larger screens.

Note:By default, the width of the navigation is constrained to $grid-max-width. To make the navigation full width, replace .p-navigation__row with .p-navigation__row--full-width.

The navigation pattern is one of the first patterns to implement the new theming architecture in Vanilla. The default is light. But, to switch to a dark navigation, you can either:

  • Override the value of the $theme-default-nav in _settings_themes.scss to dark
  • Add a state class to the p-navigation class: is-dark when the default navigation is light, or is-light when the default has been changed to dark

You can also manually override the background color of the navigation using the variable $color-navigation-background. If the lightness of the background is above 70%, the text colour will switch to dark to improve readability.

You can change the breakpoint at which the menu changes to a small screen menu by adjusting the $breakpoint-navigation-threshold in _settings_breakpoints.scss.

View example of the navigation pattern

Sub-navigation drop-down menus can be added to the navigation by including one or more p-subnav components.

To open the subnav-menu you need to set the is-active class on p-subnav element, but also set aria-hidden to false on p-subnav__items.

By default the sub-navigation menus are left-aligned with their parent, if you’d prefer the menu to be positioned from the right, use the p-subnav__items--right modifier. This can be seen in the “My account” menu in the example.

View example of the sub-navigation pattern


To import just navigation or sub-navigation component into your project, copy snippets below and include it in your main Sass file.

@import 'patterns_navigation';
@include vf-p-navigation;

// sub-navigation is optional you can include it alongside navigation component
@import 'patterns_subnav';
@include vf-p-subnav;

For more information see Customising Vanilla in your projects, which includes overrides and importing instructions.


For more information view the navigation and sub-navigation design spec, which includes the specification in markdown format and a PNG image.