The Fairytale Theme

Jan 31, 2016

The Fairytale theme reflects Balzac in basic functionality

I thought Balzac was a wizard’s name. So when I forked and tweaked Cole Townsend’s Balzac for Jekyll theme I named it Fairytale. It’s a theme which is heavy on typography. I did little modification to the home page. But I took my liberty with the rest. Fairytale is my first theme for jekyll. I didn’t change the layout more than was necessary since I intend the theme to reflect Balzac in functionaliy.


  • A few typographical eye candy
  • MathJax
  • Plus all inherited features from Balzac

Features: derived

  • flexible, uses max-width for responsive goodness
  • responsive drop down menu
  • retina images using @2x
  • post loop in the footer showing 3 latest posts
  • custom portfolio page for case studies

Basic Setup

  1. Install Jekyll if you haven’t already.
  2. Download this bad boy.
  3. Fork the Fairytale repo
  4. Twerk it out so it’s just for you.
  5. ???
  6. Profit

Preview this Theme

├── _includes
|    ├── footer.html  //site footer
|    ├── head.html  //site head
|    ├── head-dark.html  //dark site head for light pages
|	 ├── mathjax.html //mathjax configuration
|    └── typefix.html //a few typographical tricks
├── _layouts
|    ├── 404.html   //Edit the 404 file
|    ├── home.html  //homepage layout
|    ├── page.html  //page layout
|    ├── post-index.html  //post listing layout
|    └── post.html  //post layout
|    ├── post-no-feature.html  //feature image-less post layout
├── _posts
├── _sass
|    ├── _grid.scss 
|    ├── _mixins.scss
|    ├── _normalize.scss
|    ├── _styles.scss //This make the looks
|    ├── _type.scss
|    ├── _variables.scss //Fonts, Colors etc...
├── _site
|    ├── //Leave well enough alone
├── assets
|    ├── css  //preprocessed less styles. good idea to minify
|    ├── img  //images and graphics used in css and js
|    ├── js
|    ├── ├── main.js  //jQuery plugins and settings
|    ├   └── vendor  //all 3rd party scripts
|    └── sass 
|    └── mathjax //the mathjax files.
├── images  //images for posts and pages
└── //File not found page.
├──  //about page
├──  //lists all posts from latest to oldest
└──  //homepage. lists 5 most recent posts



Most of the variables found here are used in the .html files found in _includes if you need to add or remove anything. A good place to start would be to change the title, tagline, description, and url of your site. When working locally comment out url or else you will get a bunch of broken links because they are absolute and prefixed with `` in the various _includes and _layouts. Just remember to uncomment url when building for deployment or pushing to gh-pages

Owner/Author Information

Change your name, bio, Twitter url, email, Dribbble URL, etc.

Edit page/post titles and URLs to include in the site’s navigation. For external links add external: true.

# sample top navigation links
  - title: About Page
    url: /about
  - title: Other Page
    url: /other-page
  - title: External Page
    external: true

##The New in Fairyland


You can enlarge the initial letter by emphasizing it like this,

*"W*hen, where, wtf?"

###Note on Typography

The body text is in Stempel Schneidler Light Medium. The question mark ? is upside down. Just fix this by replacing each ? with <span class = "question-mark">?</span>.

Most people don’t realize this, but this text is not in italic but in oblique type. There’s a big difference. Oblique text is rendered by the browser by slanting the original font. But italic is an entirely different typeface. If you want italic instead of oblique use <span class = "nice-italic"></span>. Fairytale use Palatino Linotype for italic.

The post heading and other sans text is in Alte Haas Grotesk ( separate typeface for normal and bold text ). On smaller screens the enormous post heading in 100pt text might be too large and partly hidden. Although on smaller screens the fontsize automatically reduces to 50pt you might want set display_title in you file to a smaller, more readable title.

layout: post
title: Really long title
display_title: Bite Me

If you look at the lower right corner of the webpage you’ll find a standalone quote there. You can set this in a post or page using quote,

layout: post
title: A really simple title
quote: "You must jump of a cliff before you can start living."

You can change the default quotation in the _config.yml file using the variable quote.


You can indent the first line of every paragraph by setting indent: true in the yaml frontmatter.

layout: post
   indent: true

To make the text centered use poetry: true in the yaml frontmatter like this.

layout: post
   poetry: true

You can even combine both of them by,

layout: post
   indent: true
   poetry: true


Fairytale comes with support for mathjax, but only if you want it to. Add mathjax: true like this,

layout: post
mathjax: true

Other Stuff

The rest is just your average Jekyll config settings. Nothing too crazy here…


For the most part you can leave these as is since the author/owner details are pulled from _config.yml. That said you’ll probably want to customize the copyright stuff in footer.html to your liking.

Adding Posts and Pages

There are two main content layouts: post.html (for posts) and page.html (for pages). Both have large feature images that span the full-width of the screen, and both are meant for text heavy blog posts (or articles).

Feature Images

A good rule of thumb is to keep feature images nice and wide so you don’t push the body text too far down. An image cropped around around 1024 x 256 pixels will keep file size down with an acceptable resolution for most devices.

# local image 
  feature: feature-image-filename.jpg
# link image
  feature: "http(s)://"

This makes the assumption that the feature image is in the images folder unless it has a link address. To add a feature image to a post or page just include the filename in the front matter like so. You can “serve” images responsively with retina.js. All you need to do is have a file with @2x before the file type. That should be placed in the images folder. You literally don’t have to do anything other than that. 2 copies. One is linked. That’s it. Ex: cool-photo@2x.jpg

*There is a default feature image that will show up for and posts. It isn’t retina or anything. It’s just there in case you want one but forget <3

If you don’t want a feature image

…just say so in the front-matter. Go to and make sure it has this guy up top.

layout: post-no-feature


In the sample _posts folder you may have noticed category: articles in the front matter. I like keeping all posts grouped in the same folder. If you decide to rename or add categories you will need to modify the permalink in along with the filename (if renaming).

For example. Say you want to group all your posts under blog/ instead of articles/. In your post add category: blog to the front matter, rename or duplicate to and change the permalink in that file to permalink: /blog/index.html.

If done correctly /blog should be a page listing all the site’s posts.


This is free to use, fork, do whatever you want.