1.2.0 • Public • Published



Material Design 3's color system provides a set of guidelines to style buttons and other interactive surfaces.

They state that for each color that's to be used as a container color of an element, there's a corresponding on-color: the default color of content within that element.

There's also rules that define the interaction states of an element based on its container color and on-color.

For each pair of container color and on-color defined in the Tailwind config, this plugin will generate colors and utilities for both static and interactive surfaces.

This plugin does not build color themes for you (you can do that with the official theme builder).


Let's say we have the colors primary and on-primary defined in our Tailwind config file.

The plugin will generate:

  • surface-primary as a shorthand for bg-primary text-on-primary.
  • Some new colors for the interaction states:
    • primary-hover, defined as on-primary at 8% opacity over primary.
    • primary-press, defined as on-primary at 12% opacity over primary.
    • primary-focus, defined as on-primary at 12% opacity over primary (same as -press, but can be customized if you want a different value).
    • primary-drag, defined as on-primary at 16% opacity over primary.
  • interactive-surface-primary as a shorthand for bg-primary text-on-primary hover:bg-primary-hover active:bg-primary-press focus:bg-primary-focus disabled:text-primary/[0.38] disabled:bg-primary/[0.12] transition-colors. These are the Material styles for interactive elements and the main reason to use this plugin.

Here's a CodeSandbox demo of the plugin in action.

Note: Even though the -drag color is provided, drag styles should be manually implemented (when required), as that cannot be achieved with pure CSS.

How to use it

npm install --save-dev tailwind-material-surfaces


module.exports = require('tailwind-material-surfaces')({
  // your usual config
  theme: {
    colors: {
      // colors with an 'on' counterpart will generate surfaces
      primary: '#abcd42',
      on: {
        primary: '#123123'
        // ...
      // ...
  // ...
  • You may use theme.extends.colors if you want to keep the original Tailwind palette, but the plugin won't work with existing tailwind colors if you only define their corresponding on-color (i.e.: on-red-200 won't work unless you also overwrite red-200 in the config).

  • Colors must be provided either as hex values or keywords (there's no rgb() or hsl() support yet).


If you wish to customize the default values, you may do so by passing an object as the second argument to the plugin, with any of these keys and your desired values.

  // tailwind config
}, {
  hoverOpacity: 0.08,
  pressOpacity: 0.12,
  focusOpacity: 0.12,
  dragOpacity: 0.16,
  surfacePrefix: "surface", // for example, change to 'sf' if you like shorter names
  interactiveSurfacePrefix: "interactive-surface",
  disabledStyles: {
    textOpacity: 0.38,
    backgroundOpacity: 0.12,
    // pass false instead of this object if you don't want disabled styles
  transition: {
    duration: 150, // transition duration in milliseconds
    // pass false instead of this object if you don't want any transition

You may use bg as the surfacePrefix if you wish all bg-X classes to also set color: on-X. You can then overwrite the text color with text- utilities. The text color won't be set if you use bg-X/<alpha-value> though. You can use bg-X bg-opacity-<alpha-value> instead.

Why isn't the plugin called in the plugins array of tailwind.config.js?

tailwind-material-surfaces modifies your theme.colors object to add the new -hover, -press, -focus and -drag colors. The Tailwind engine and any other plugins you may be using will then pick those up. Because of that, it needs to wrap your Tailwind configuration and cannot be called in the plugins array.


If for any reason you need to dynamically generate interaction colors, a getInteractionColors function is exported.


npm i tailwind-material-surfaces

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  • javierm42