There has been a lot of talk lately about using starter themes to build your own unique WordPress themes, especially now that the new _s starter theme is available, but many are asking just how to get started in the first place. Fortunately, the same folks behind _s have released a quick starter guide for their starter theme.
At its most basic, pretend that you’re building your theme just like you would a new house, but in this case you’re hiring someone else to lay the foundation for you. Without a good solid foundation, it doesn’t matter how well you construct the frame or paint the walls, that house will fall down eventually. This is exactly what a good starter theme is, it’s the foundation, with just about everything you need to start a good theme.
When starting with a starting theme, the first thing you’ll need to do is change the name of the theme’s directory, since you don’t want to overwrite it accidentally, then make sure that you have adjusted all of the references to the directory in the theme’s files. After that, start having fun! Unlike building a house, you can undo your mistakes, and the best way to learn how to develop themes is to just get to work and start making mistakes.
So, have fun with your new starter theme, and if you build something awesome from a starter theme like _s, let us know!