Introducing Twenty Twenty-Three

Twenty Twenty-Three, the new WordPress default theme is here, alongside WordPress 6.1.

After Twenty Twenty-Two, a highly opinionated theme, Twenty Twenty-Three is a clean, blank canvas that is bundled with ten distinct style variations created by members of the WordPress community.

👉 Style variations are essentially presets that give you the opportunity to alter the appearance of your site without having to change your theme, speeding up your site building process.

Sometimes you want to change the colors and fonts of your site, but you don’t want to change the template structure of your theme. This is where these variations step in: you can preview them instantly and see the different mood your site can have with a different style, saving the time you might spend exploring and trying out Global Styles yourself.

Behind the design

This project was an opportunity to work alongside the WordPress community, full of talented individuals, who are incredibly passionate and knowledgeable about the project. Together, we built a polished, visually diverse default theme that introduces a new concept of what the WordPress default theme can be.

For a truly diverse collection, Twenty Twenty-Three’s featured style variations were submitted by members of the WordPress community, resulting in 38 submissions from 19 people in 8 different countries. From those submissions, a curated collection of ten was chosen and bundled with the new theme.

The submissions were selected in an effort to feature the most distinctly different set of variations possible. In many ways, we were looking at what would work best as a collection versus selecting our favorite standalone submissions.

Submissions had a limited set of fonts (System sans-serif, Source Serif Pro, IBM Plex Mono and DM Sans) for speed and performance reasons, so we looked for creative ways that the typography was used, such as letter case, letter spacing, and line height. We also looked for overall colors, spacings, and special block details (in separators or images), that resulted in each variation being more unique.

We received a high number of submissions, and noticed some similarities amongst them. At the time of curation, we thought we could have an even stronger result if we combined certain elements from several proposals.

This is the case of the “Sherbet” style variation, which is a combination of two proposals and has become one of my favourites. It has a really cool duotone effect in images that goes very well with the background gradient.

Another example is “Canary”, with tighter spacing between elements and the same font size used for all text. The curve-shaped images came from another variation and ultimately made the “Canary” variation that much more differentiated.

This approach to style variations ushers in the next generation of block themes, able to harness the potential of the platform’s latest design capabilities and tools directly in the Site Editor. Using style variations doesn’t require any coding experience, so it’s easy to tweak and/or create your own.

What’s new in WordPress 6.1

WordPress 6.1 “Misha” further refines the site-building experience, introducing tools that remove yet another layer of complexity. Designers can focus on design instead of troubleshooting technical hurdles.

If you’ve been concerned about responsiveness, layout controls, and block customisations in the editor in the past, this is a very exciting release that addresses many of those frustrations.

More responsive text with fluid typography

For designers working with block themes, fluid typography now lets you define font sizes that automatically adapt for easy reading in any screen size. As an example, you should be able to define a huge size for a heading and it should just look good on mobile.

Design tools for more consistency and control

Thoughtful upgrades to the controls for design elements and blocks make laying out and building your site a more consistent, complete, and intuitive experience. Designers can play in the editor itself, and achieve bolder, more opinionated designs.

New templates for an improved creator experience

New and more refined templates now give site builders more control over the creation of their sites. In this suite of new templates, there are custom templates for posts and pages in the Site Editor.

Check out all of these new features in WordPress 6.1, and all of Twenty Twenty-Three’s beautiful variations now. Share your own in the comments!

👉 Download Twenty Twenty-Three
👉 Twenty Twenty-Three Documentation

By Beatriz Fialho