Applying Custom Organization Branding

The look and feel of GovReady-Q can be significantly customized by overriding the Django templates used to construct the site’s pages and by serving additional static assets.

Custom branding can contain static assets (such as a logo image) and HTML template overrides. Branding is packaged into a directory with a particular directory layout and some Python boilerplate code that allows GovReady-Q to find the branding files. The directory is placed inside the main GovReady-Q directory, and an application setting is used to activate it.

Storing the branding files in a single, separate directory insures maintaining and updating your branding files and GovReady-Q files from the official repository are independent activities.

Creating the branding directory

You’ll need a working setup of GovReady-Q to create the branding directory and to test your changes. Make sure you have GovReady-Q set up for development on your workstation.

Custom branding is packaged inside what Django calls an application, but it is just a packaged sub-component of a website. To create a new branding package directory, change to the directory where you have GovReady-Q set up. Then run:

python3 startapp branding

This command creates a new directory called branding with Python boilerplate code to make it a valid Django “application.”

Make directories for storing the custom static assets and templates:

mkdir branding/static
mkdir branding/templates


The directory with custom branding is called branding by convention, but you can chose any name.

You will only need to go through the above process to initially create your custom branding Django application folder. Once created, you only need to include and activate your custom branding directory in other instances of GovReady-Q for your branding to be applied.

Activate the branding package

Next, let your development installation of GovReady-Q know that you want to use the custom branding package.

Overriding templates

Any of the templates that make up GovReady-Q’s frontend can be overridden. The full list of templates can be browsed in GovReady-Q’s GitHub repository at

Start by trying to override the navbar.html template, which is inserted at the top of every page. Use your favorite text editor to create a file at branding/templates/navbar.html. Copy the content of GovReady-Q’s stock navbar.html from into it. (GitHub’s “Raw” button is handy for getting a clean version to save or copy/paste.)

At the bottom of the file, add some custom HTML, such as:

  <b>Welcome to my organization&rsquo;s custom site!</b>

Start GovReady-Q on your workstation (see the development docs) and visit a page. You should see your new content below the navbar at the top of every page.

Adding custom CSS

You can also add a custom CSS stylesheet to your branded GovReady-Q by taking the following steps:

  1. Add the CSS file as a static asset.

  2. Insert a <link rel="stylesheet" href="..."> tag into the <head> section of each page’s HTML by overriding the head.html template.

To create the static asset, make a new file named branding/static/custom.css. Let’s say you want to make the background color of each page red. The file should contain:

body {
    background: red !important;

Then override the head.html template. GovReady-Q’s base for head.html is empty — its purpose is only to allow you to add to the <head> element. So create a new file at branding/templates/head.html and put in it:

{% load static %}
<link rel="stylesheet" href="{% static "custom.css" %}">

See the Django documentation for static files for more information about the static template tag.

Open any page in your locally running GovReady-Q and you should see that the background color of every page has changed.

Keeping your templates up to date

With each new released version of GovReady-Q, there is the possibility that the stock templates have changed. Some changes may require you to re-engineer your template overrides to preserve functionality.

The deeper your customization, the more you will need to look at new releases of GovReady-Q for changes that update pages and page elements you have customized (like a new menu item) and new pages and section to which you may want to customize with your branding.

If you are able to implement all your branding in CSS, you will rarely need to change your branding files.