Skin (web design)

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See also: AO3 Skins, Help:Skins
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A skin, sometimes called a theme or style, is custom website or software styling that is applied to change the appearance from a default. Sometimes, skins allow for more options interacting with/accessing the affected thing, though they're typically intended to be purely cosmetic. Fannish themed skins may be considered a form of fanart.


Website Skins

Skins for websites are primarily done using CSS, though they may implement some Javascript. On most sites which allow multiple site-wide skins, there is a predetermined set of options which can be selected from a dropdown. However, more freedom is sometimes given in areas which belong in a sense to individual users, such as their profiles or their submitted fanworks, and sites will sometimes allow custom skins or other CSS styling to be applied so that it displays a certain way to all users.

Software Skins


  • Archive of Our Own and Fanlore both use skins. AO3 Skins discusses AO3's implementation, uses, and skins' impact on fans.
  • Wraithbait, a Stargate: Atlantis fanfiction archive, has 12 skins to choose from from a dropdown menu, ranging from subtle to very fandom themed
  • The Cave of Dragonflies, a Pokemon fansite, has a style switcher
  • DreamWidth has both site skins (which affect how the whole site displays based on each users' individual preferences) and journal styles (which affect how a user's journal displays to every person who visits it). This is similar to AO3's system of site skins and work skins
  • fans would create different fandom-themed skins for Winamp (a media player initially released in 1997), which were shared on fansites alongside desktop wallpapers, icons, etc. Examples
  • EFiction, an open-source automated archiving software, has the option to customize its appearance using skins
  • VNDB, a visual novel fan community, has a number of available skins featuring characters from different VNs
  • Chinafan Sims - a website dedicated to character skins, objects and houses from different fandoms for The Sims video game.