WordPress Themes

Twenty Twenty-One first look

The world of WordPress themes is a lot like the world of fashion. Today, everyone makes rounded corners, tomorrow they become anti-trend. After a year, everyone starts making blocks with shadows. About once a year, the design of WordPress themes is completely changed, which is reflected in the default themes.

If we take the most remarkable themes with the Twenty prefix, then among them I can single out only two: Twenty Ten and Twenty Fourteen. Why exactly are they? Twenty Ten is a classic that pays homage to the entire development of WordPress. Twenty Fourteen is a strong departure from tradition. All other topics seemed to me more or less “passable”.

As noted in the announcement for the Twenty Twenty-One theme, the next default WordPress theme, “pastels and muted colors are all the rage right now.”

History will show whether the new topic will be a tribute to fashion or will be remembered for a long time. For now, let’s enjoy her design and see what to expect from her.

Twenty Twenty-One – current state of the new theme

The new default theme is a fork (fork) from the Seedlet project, which I would call the next step in the evolution of themes. Seedlet is a theme that anticipates the development of WordPress, when WP will be composed entirely of blocks. As a result, we can understand in which direction theme development is moving. The Seedlet was taken as the basis for the new default theme, as it already contains all the basic elements (thanks in large part to Automattic’s continuous development cycles).

“We already have an extensive system of nested CSS variables, which makes it easy to create child themes and makes it easy to integrate with the global styling functionality that is still in development,” said Mel Choyce-Dwan.

This theme will not use Google Web Fonts. The design team plans to migrate to the system font stack. Support for such fonts will expand the scope of the theme, guarantee its high speed and flexibility in terms of customization using child themes.

The basic pastel green color is a rather bold design solution. It is unlikely that this approach will be relevant in different industries. The team plans to create several color palettes that will significantly expand the range of applicability of the theme. These palettes can also be modified (presumably).

Palettes aside, the design is simple enough. According to Mel, this theme will highlight support for block patterns.

I was initially unhappy with the patterns. However, the update improved the situation, and they no longer looked so experimental. The basic Seedlet theme for Twenty Twenty-One has several unique patterns. I hope that the new default theme will reveal them even better.

There are currently no custom patterns registered in the topic. However, there is a placeholder file and a note that they are still in development. In her announcement, Mel shared several patterns that the team has already created.

“We will continue to reach out to our talented designers in the community for new ideas,” she said. The team also created a GitHub template for those who want to share their pattern design ideas.

The theme does not currently support the future full site editing functionality in WordPress. Following the release of WordPress 5.6 Beta 1, the team plans to start exploring ways to add such support. A public beta of the full site editing functionality is expected to appear in the next major release.

The development team and volunteers have less than a month until October 20, the deadline for a new theme to be pushed into the main WordPress development branch. At this stage, the theme should be almost complete and ready for use on live sites. Of course, there will still be a string of patches, bug fixes and updates before WordPress 5.6 comes out in December. If you want to get involved in the development of Twenty Twenty-One, your best bet is now.