WordPress design contributors offer to ship a curated set of style variations instead of a new default theme
WordPress design contributors are cooking up a new idea for this year’s default theme release that would emphasize styling variations instead of the theme itself. The idea is rooted in comments Twenty Twenty-Two designer Kjell Reigstad made last year when introducing the theme:
Themes are in a period of transition today, and it seems like a reasonable time to take a step back and reassess the annual cadence with which we create default themes.
Innovations such as theme.json, block templates, and block templates greatly simplify theme development and provide users with new ways to customize their sites. There is reason to believe that the community can leverage all of this to create more frequent and diverse themes and customization solutions for our users in the years to come.
Instead of creating a new default theme this year, design contributors are proposing to create a curated set of style variations from community submissions. The styles would be applied to a clean version of Twenty Twenty-Two.
“What if, instead of emphasizing the theme itself, we highlight a set of savvy style variations designed by community members?” Automattic sponsored design contributor Channing Ritter said. “We could use Twenty Twenty-Two as the basis for a new stripped down, minimal theme – a blank canvas to let a diverse range of style variations shine through.”
Style Variations were introduced in WordPress 6.0 as a way for theme authors to offer pre-designed design options capable of dressing up the site with different colors, typography, borders, spacing, etc., with a single click. a map representing the variation. Reigstad first floated the idea of Twenty Twenty-Two Style Variations in November 2021.
“It would be interesting to experiment with what opinion we could make each of the variations,” Ritter said. “Perhaps one variation has all typography on the site use a single type size in a monospaced font, while another variation uses many different fonts paired together. I think pushing the boundaries of what can be done with the style variation format should be the goal – and we can have fun seeing what kinds of things we can come up with in the process.
The idea is that the best style variations submitted by the community would be selected for a curated collection that would be grouped together with the new blank canvas release of Twenty Twenty-Two.
The response in the comments so far has been overwhelmingly positive, and the designers and developers are eager to raise their hands to participate. The discussion has just started in the proposal comments and contributors are asking for feedback on creating the next default theme.