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Install CSS library into your project

How you implement VA Design System (VADS) styles into your project depends on how your project is structured and your preferences. The easiest way to get started is by using npm. For a prototype where you need the Design System styles, you can add a <link> tag with the href set to

We recommend using npm to install the formation package into your project.

$ npm install --save @department-of-veterans-affairs/formation

This line installs the Design System as a dependency. You can use the compiled files found in the node_modules/@department-of-veterans-affairs/formation/dist directory.

If you would like to use the un-compiled Sass files instead, you can find those in the node_modules/@department-of-veterans-affairs/formation/sass directory.

If you prefer to change the location of the fonts/ and img/ directories relative to formation.min.css, set the following variables in your project:

$formation-asset-path: '../assets';
$formation-image-path: "#{$formation-asset-path}/img";
$formation-font-path: "#{$formation-asset-path}/fonts";

The example above is what is used on, but you can customize this for your project.

Sass functions, variables, and interactive components

If you would like to use the Sass functions, such as for spacing, and variables in your project, you can import the files from your project scss. This documentation site imports the CSS library’s Sass files in its application.scss.

Load the Web Component library

The Design System team is working on developing a library of reusable Web Components that can be used on any HTML page or React application.

This is already handled for the vets-website repository. To get our Web Component library set up in a new project, here is what we recommend:

  1. Add the component-library dependency to your node/yarn project using yarn add @department-of-veterans-affairs/component-library.
  2. Import the global CSS file which contains important CSS variables:
    import "@department-of-veterans-affairs/component-library/dist/main.css";
  3. Import the defineCustomElements JS function (applyPolyfills is only necessary if you wish to support older browsers such as IE11):
    import {
    } from "@department-of-veterans-affairs/component-library";
  4. In the same JS file, call the defineCustomElements function, optionally chained after a call to applyPolyfills:
    applyPolyfills().then(() => {
  5. Make sure this script gets loaded on the HTML page - preferably near the top of the document in the <head> tag.
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Last updated: Feb 20, 2024