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  • Every page should have a level 1 (h1) heading. It can be visually hidden if the context of the page is clear for all users, but it must be present in the DOM.
  • Headings should not skip levels, with the following exceptions:
    • When an alert, or other messaging component, gets inserted before the main page content. These components are designed to use a level 2 (h2) heading.
    • When a heading is used to identify a region, like navigation. Generally, a level 2 (h2) heading is used.
    • In user-generated Markdown content a user can order headings as they like. The visual appearance of a heading is the only guide provided for choosing the correct hierarchy.
  • Styles correspond with semantics by default, for example, an h3 is larger and has more visual weight than an h4.

Contextual adjustments

By default, heading levels are mapped to the heading scale. However, in some cases, visual hierarchy can be established aside from semantics. For example:

  • In an alert, its container already has sectioning affordances like color, spacing, and iconography. Because of this, a level 2 heading in the alert doesn't need the same emphasis as a level 2 heading for a content section elsewhere on the page.
  • Similarly, in a card, the properties of the card itself indicate a section. Because of this, a level 3 heading may not require the same sectioning effect as a level 3 heading in body content.

When in doubt, use the scale by default, consider the full page context, and reference existing patterns.

Display heading

A display style can be applied to a level 1 heading to emphasize the text in a more promotional manner. The larger size and weight creates a stronger visual anchor compared to other text on the page.

Provide more guidelines and examples of scale overrides. Create an issue



Heading mixins and utility classes:

  • gl-heading-{1-6} mixins and classes are the preferred approach to implementing heading typography. Usage should align with semantic heading levels, for example, <h2 class="gl-heading-2">...</h2>.
  • gl-heading-display class is available to create a display heading.
  • gl-heading-scale-{100-800} mixins and classes are available for contextual adjustments where the semantic heading scale doesn't provide the desired visual hierarchy. However, the recommendation is to use the default scale and avoid contextual adjustments as much as possible.


The gl-heading-{1-6} and gl-heading-display mixins and classes provide a default margin-bottom and remove margin-top. In order to opt-out of the margin, add a gl-mb-0! class:

<h2 class="gl-heading-2">...</h2> <!-- has margin -->
<h2 class="gl-heading-2 gl-mb-0!">...</h2> <!-- to remove margin -->

gl-heading-scale-{100-800} mixins and classes do not provide margins.

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