A first draft of the Twenty Thirteen theme…

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A first draft of the Twenty Thirteen theme is now in core, for your inspection and iteration. See: r23452

A demo site is available for you to browse.

@matt set the goals for this theme: a focus on blogging, and great support for post formats (which are getting attention on the backend in 3.6 as well). Under Matt’s guidance, @joen explored the artistic possibilities and was joined by @obenland and @lancewillett in bringing it to fruition.

What you’ll notice first is the colors. Way more use of color than a bundled WordPress theme has had before. Each post format has its own color, so each is distinct, yet they are all complimentary. The bold colors encourage authors to try out all the different formats. This color extends the full width of the window, which breaks your blog up into a lush, segmented timeline. This effect is even more pronounced on mobile browsers, where the screen can be dominated by one or two posts at a time, in all of their chromatic fullness.

On closer inspection, you’ll notice details, like the font-based icons (“Genericons”, by @joen) that scale up to any resolution or zoom level and can be easily recolored using CSS.

You may notice some playful details, like the size-offset pagination arrows:

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Or the 404 page (which I’ll leave to you to find).

One of the goals of having a new theme every year was to give ourself room to experiment. That hasn’t really happened. We’ve been far too conservative, trying to make themes that work reasonably well for everyone, but don’t push boundaries too much. That changes with Twenty Thirteen. It’s hard not to have a strong feeling about the theme, one way or another. It defies you to give it a shrug or a kurt nod. Some of you will hate it. And that’s okay. We’ll still be shipping Twenty Twelve, which is an excellent base theme and a canvas on which you can build anything from a blog to a static content site. But with Twenty Thirteen we’re taking a bold stance: this theme was meant for blogging, and it’s not a blank canvas. It comes pre-marinated with playfulness and warmth and opinions.

Twenty Thirteen really prefers a single column layout. Widgets live best in the footer, where jQuery Masonry bricks them together (but it supports a sidebar, if you really insist). Header images have a fixed width and height, and will be cropped at smaller resolutions, so the best choice is an artistic header where not 100% needs to be shown all the time (it ships with three).

Now that we have a first draft of Twenty Thirteen in core, it’s time to start iterating and sanding off some of the rough edges. Accessibility is still important, even when making bold artistic statements, and I’d be surprised if we didn’t have work to do there. We’ll need testing on lots of different browsers and platforms, and with lots of different plugins. @helen‘s Post Format UI team will need to give feedback on upgrading Twenty Thirteen to use the new post format API functions that are available.

@lancewillett and @obenland will be holding Twenty Thirteen office hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1700 UTC. Interested parties should make an effort to attend and help us get this beauty ready for beta!