Frontend Quick Tips #17 Changing the Color of a Multicolored Icon

Photo of Bernard Klatka

Bernard Klatka

Sep 3, 2021 • 5 min read
woman working on a computer

No one likes those big articles - that’s why we’re creating Quick Tips - short tips to change your developer's life from the moment you read them. Those may be some patterns explained in JS code on real-life examples or some techniques for better code.

Problem

Let’s assume that you have a multicolored icon in your project and you’d like to change its color on hover.

Example

<svg

xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg"

width="17"

height="16"

viewBox="0 0 17 16"

>

<g fill="none" fill-rule="evenodd">

<path

fill="red"

d="M15.3 0H1.7C.76 0 .008.716.008 1.6L0 16l3.4-3.2h11.9c.94 0 1.7-.716 1.7-1.6V1.6c0-.884-.76-1.6-1.7-1.6z"

/>




<path

fill="blue"

d="M3 3H14V4H3zM3 6H14V7H3zM3 9H14V10H3z"

/>

</g>

</svg>

Let’s take this icon as an example. A common approach to this problem is to override the color by selecting nested SVG elements inside styles like so:

svg {

&:hover {

g {

path:first-child {

fill: yellow

}




path:last-child {

fill: green

}

}

}

}

But there’s a better way to address this type of situation.

Solution

An effective way to handle the mentioned issue is by using CSS variables.

The procedure is simple: change the value of the icon’s fill property from a hard coded color to something like this:

<svg

xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg"

width="17"

height="16"

viewBox="0 0 17 16"

>

<g fill="none" fill-rule="evenodd">

<path

fill="var(--icon-primary)"

d="M15.3 0H1.7C.76 0 .008.716.008 1.6L0 16l3.4-3.2h11.9c.94 0 1.7-.716 1.7-1.6V1.6c0-.884-.76-1.6-1.7-1.6z"

/>




<path

fill="var(--icon-secondary)"

d="M3 3H14V4H3zM3 6H14V7H3zM3 9H14V10H3z"

/>

</g>

</svg>

The next step is to change the styles to:

svg {

--icon-primary: red;

--icon-secondary: blue;




&:hover {

--icon-primary: yellow;

--icon-secondary: green;

}

}

And if you’d like to change only one color of the icon, then you can use the “currentColor” value and do something like this:

<svg

xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg"

width="17"

height="16"

viewBox="0 0 17 16"

>

<g fill="none" fill-rule="evenodd">

<path

fill="currentColor"

d="M15.3 0H1.7C.76 0 .008.716.008 1.6L0 16l3.4-3.2h11.9c.94 0 1.7-.716 1.7-1.6V1.6c0-.884-.76-1.6-1.7-1.6z"

/>




<path

fill="blue"

d="M3 3H14V4H3zM3 6H14V7H3zM3 9H14V10H3z"

/>

</g>

</svg>

Finally, change your styles to:

svg {

color: red;




&:hover {

color: yellow;

}

}

Voilà!

Photo of Bernard Klatka

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