Twenty Thirteen Theme in Progress


The new default theme for WordPress 3.6, titled Twenty Thirteen, is making progress. This year’s default theme is overseen by Matt Mullenweg, and built by Joen Asmussen, Konstantin Obenland, and Lance Willett.

The goal for Twenty Thirteen is to offer “a focus on blogging, and great support for post formats (which are getting attention on the backend in 3.6 as well).”

If you’d like to see the theme in action, a demo site is available. One thing you’ll notice immediately is that the strong emphasis on whitespace, which has become commonplace in the default themes, is long-gone. Twenty Thirteen is making very bold use of its colors, offering a different color for each post format. The theme also lacks a sidebar by default. It’s designed to focus on blogging after all, so the designers prefer that you leave your widgets to the footer area, but it still does support a sidebar widget area if you really want to put something there.

This theme won’t be for everyone, and really no default theme should. Default themes should showcase the strength of each release’s new features and inspire customization. If you aren’t a fan of Twenty Thirteen, don’t worry, there are still over 1,600 themes to choose from, including Twenty Twelve.




  1. Barbara Floreck (1 comments.) says:

    I know they tend to look rather vanilla, but the default themes do work. They offer a nice looking blog that is easy to get around and very functional. I understand they aren’t the best for a professional site but, as noted, there are over 1,600 other choices.

  2. Frank (3 comments.) says:

    Hi James… checked out the demo site and the colours and fonts are nice but I think it’s a pity they left out the standard sidebar – they could have at least made it optional. The twenty-twelve theme was great in that respect – it had just about everything one needed to set up a blog with decent navigation through menus and sidebars.

    As you say though there are literally hundreds of others to choose from – would have been great if one just have stuck with the default one!

    • James (184 comments.) says:

      As mentioned above, the theme still has a sidebar as there is a sidebar widget area. If you add widgets to that area, a sidebar will appear.

      Unlike previous default themes, the default widgets (if you have no other widgets set) will be appearing in the footer widget area.

    • James (184 comments.) says:

      Here’s an example of Twenty Thirteen with a sidebar.

      • Sizwe (7 comments.) says:

        Thanks for clarifying that James – definitely prefer the theme with the sidebar in place as in your example – the layout is great too. I notice that the “Jason Cosper” and search icon remains at the top of the page as you scroll down – that’s awesome… is that a standard part of the theme options or is it driven by another plugin?

        • singhnsk (2 comments.) says:

          These days I’m seeing lots of themes making use of that Moving Menu which remains sticky at the top when user scrolls down. And as the install on the demo link provided in the article also behaves the same way, I shouldn’t be hard to assume that it is being brought as a standard part of the Twenty Thirteen.

          I wasn’t much impressed with it without the sidebar, but after checking the version with sidebar included, sounds like this can be called one of the best themes to be made available on WP theme Repository. I’m surely going to be using this theme on one of my personal blogs :)
          Thanks James for bringing us to this version with Sidebar included.. Really liked it.

  3. Ben (1 comments.) says:

    I must admit I like the default themes that come with WordPress although I wouldn’t use one for a business site they do still offer great functionality and do look pretty nice. Twenty Thirteen however does look different from the others….maybe not everyone’s cup of tea!

  4. bubazoo (5 comments.) says:

    yeah I definitely don’t like the color schema. using black menus on a white background is a bad idea from a design standpoint anyway.. too many colors used on 1 site design. and I also agree about too much whitespace. Really a default theme should have different color options built-in so the user can choose what type of color schema, how many sidebars, etc they want. How did you get Jetpack to work? I have been fussing and fussing getting that plugin to stop saying inaccessible. what did you do to fix it?

    • James (184 comments.) says:

      Black menus on a white background? Too much whitespace? I have a feeling you haven’t seen the theme yet.

      Regarding Jetpack, as mentioned in my previous reply to you, visit if it still isn’t working.

      • bubazoo (5 comments.) says:

        Finally got Jetpack working, after awhile my host figured out they had to configure PHP to use XMLRPC, wasn’t setup that way apparently, with lack of documentation I wouldn’t have thought to check that rather I had a shared host or my own server there was just nothing on the web on the subject of communication troubleshooting. thank goodness my host noticed that or I’d still be pulling my hair out… hehe

        As for twenty-thirteen, I was referring to the demo site here The menu items “home, blog archive, about” when you click on those, those menus pop up on a black background, (well if its not black it looks black to me) which is fine, but doesn’t match the rest of the theme colors. I was always taught as a web designer to limit your use of colors on a page to no more then 3, doesn’t contrast well is my point, but thats just imho, I am aware there are dozens of other themes, just giving my opinion on this one.

        I just think if its going to be the default theme, not sure what kind of options are available for that theme but, a default theme should have color options to personalize its look & feel otherwise its just another theme. imho

  5. Dorothy (1 comments.) says:

    I use the Twenty Thirteen theme for a few of my sites. Even though it is very basic, I like the fact that it has been one of the easier themes for me to customize.

  6. elementality (1 comments.) says:

    It is a classy, simple theme but I still think white space is clearer and more intuitive. Still a nice theme.

  7. Violeta (1 comments.) says:

    I like this theme. One of the things I like most is the way it behaves on different devices. The responsive elements are designed in a clever way. I’m strongly considering using it as a starting point for my own WordPress themes collection.

  8. Walter (1 comments.) says:

    That demo is looking really nice. What I did like about 2012 though is that it is very simple in it’s look which makes it a great starting point for building a customised theme. 2013 looks nice in it’s own right, but a less easy to “make it your own”?

    • James (184 comments.) says:

      By the time it’s done, Twenty Thirteen will be just as easy to customize as Twenty Twelve.

  9. Ezra (1 comments.) says:

    Wow, I like the direction they are heading with Twenty Thirteen! I hope that future releases will be just as easy to customize as the older ones.

  10. Nayna (6 comments.) says:

    I love these responsive themes and glad the new default Twenty Thirteen one is too – WordPress has certainly come a long way over the last couple of years, especially in terms of integrating media into posts etc.

  11. shehab (1 comments.) says:

    Thanks James but I want Twenty Thirteen to tackle another problem that the education and example of a default theme can do. I want Twenty Thirteen to be designed and built Accessibility First. So what do I mean by “Accessibility First”?
    Accessibility First would involve a few decisions to be made upfront:
    • Color choices with high contrast in mind from the start. This is one area that Twenty Twelve barely missed.
    • Color choices with multiple types of color deficiencies in mind since an estimated 10% of all males suffer from some form of color deficiency.
    • Making up for browser deficiencies, specifically the skipnav focus bug in webkit
    • Make sure that the design still looks beautiful when the font size is increased 200%
    • Following the Theme Accessibility Audit Draft Proposal
    By making the decision to be accessible upfront, before a single line of code is written or a single sketch is drawn, WordPress can demonstrate to theme developers what they need to do to make sure that every can experience and use a site to it’s fullest.

  12. Gina (1 comments.) says:

    I’m really surprised at how different Twenty Thirteen is from the other original designs. I’ve actually seen some really nice things done with the originals, and I always thought they were a great starting point for bloggers. However, with this new theme, you can really see of the more artsy (often premium) themes influence in it. I really love how the search follows you as your scroll, and the title following you is handy to get back to the home page. It’s also nice that it’s not terribly obtrusive like most of those I’ve seen.

    I’m not sure how I feel about all the colour changes as you scroll down, but I’ve always been someone who prefers the wrappers to frame the text and de-emphasize the empty space, so it’s probably not really my thing anyway. Of course, I prefer the sidebar, but I like that you have the option to be rid of it. At least when you’re not using it, it just melds into the page instead of leaving a big blank space. I’ll be interested to see how customizable the theme is, and what other people do with it!

  13. Paul Tovey (1 comments.) says:

    Contrary to most views, I liked the new template. For a default, I thought it was pretty easy to use and i managed to make a great looking website out of it. Admittedly, it did take forever though!

  14. Carl (1 comments.) says:

    I quite like it, fully responsive, minimalistic template. In good hands of web developer, this is perfect base for impressive template.

  15. Jitendra (1 comments.) says:

    The Gallery section of the theme seems to be interesting one! Also, I think with the advent of newer themes, the coding is getting complicated in wordpress, atleast for the beginners. This is just my opinion, others might defer!

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