Introducing Twenty Twenty-Two

A collection of screenshots featuring the Twenty Twenty-Two theme

WordPress 5.9 will feature a brand new default theme named Twenty Twenty-Two. It arrives during an exciting time for WordPress themes. With the advent of Full Site Editing and Global Styles, themes are changing structurally and functionally to enable far more avenues for customization than users have come to expect in the past. To take advantage of these new abilities, Twenty Twenty-Two has been designed to be the most flexible default theme ever created for WordPress.  

A reliable starting point

To find inspiration for this theme’s design, I did not have to look far. Thanks to a bird feeder attached to the outside of our kitchen window, my family’s daily breakfast routine involves a rotating cast of cardinals, doves, finches, jays, and tufted titmice. The birds are always up to something interesting: Sometimes they’re lining up patiently to take turns eating, other times they’re playfully performing aerial gymnastics. 

While the birds’ exact behavior is unpredictable, they are remarkably reliable overall. The exact lineup changes somewhat, but every single morning there’s a group of birds eating breakfast with us. Throughout all of the tumult the world has seen in the past couple years, this consistent, entertaining routine has been a welcome starting point to my day. 

That routine is the inspiration for this years’ default theme. Like the birds, Twenty Twenty-Two is designed to be light and resilient, with a hint of playfulness. The theme uses the lightweight Source Serif Pro for headlines, paired with a sensible sans-serif for support. Its color palette is drawn from nature, and layout elements sit gently on the page.

Above all, the theme is designed to be reliable. Its design choices are intentionally subtle, and its foundation will be built strong. It’s our hope that this theme will suit your site through many seasons. 

Homepage and archive page mockups for the Twenty Twenty-Two theme.

Endlessly customizable

Twenty Twenty-Two will take advantage of a wide networknetwork (versus site, blog) of page templates, headers, footers, and other patterns so that users can easily make the theme their own. In another nod to the behavior of birds everywhere, these will offer a balance between fun and utility: some are irregular and unpredictable, while others are straightforward and traditional. Together, these patterns will act as a window into all of the possibilities that the theme enables.

A variety of page layouts and block pattern mockups for the Twenty Twenty-Two theme.

In addition, Twenty Twenty-Two will ship with a range of alternate color schemes so that folks can drastically change the appearance of their site. Users will also be able to change fonts, image treatments, and more on a site-wide level. These new controls open up a wide array of drastically different customizations for the theme:

Twenty Twenty-Two is designed with the acknowledgement that its default appearance is not most people’s endpoint. Everyone deserves a truly unique website, built on a solid, well-designed foundation, and Twenty Twenty-Two aims to help them achieve that.

Built for Full Site Editing

To take advantage of these new customization features, Twenty Twenty-Two will be built for Full Site Editing first. The theme aims to use as little CSSCSS Cascading Style Sheets. as possible: our goal is for all theme styles to be configured through theme.jsonJSON JSON, or JavaScript Object Notation, is a minimal, readable format for structuring data. It is used primarily to transmit data between a server and web application, as an alternative to XML. and editable through Global Styles. The theme development team will work closely with GutenbergGutenberg The Gutenberg project is the new Editor Interface for WordPress. The editor improves the process and experience of creating new content, making writing rich content much simpler. It uses ‘blocks’ to add richness rather than shortcodes, custom HTML etc. contributors to build design tools in the blockBlock Block is the abstract term used to describe units of markup that, composed together, form the content or layout of a webpage using the WordPress editor. The idea combines concepts of what in the past may have achieved with shortcodes, custom HTML, and embed discovery into a single consistent API and user experience. editor that enable this goal. 

As a block theme, Twenty Twenty-Two will likely require WordPress 5.9 to run. If the Twenty Twenty-Two and 5.9 release leads determine that there is need in the community for broader theme support, we will explore ways to bridge that gap.

Next steps

Kjell Reigstad (@kjellr) is leading design for Twenty Twenty-Two, and Jeff Ong (@jffng) is leading development. The two of us are looking forward to your involvement and support though the process!  If you are interested in contributing to Twenty Twenty-Two, make sure you are following this blogblog (versus network, site)

Theme development will happen on GitHubGitHub GitHub is a website that offers online implementation of git repositories that can easily be shared, copied and modified by other developers. Public repositories are free to host, private repositories require a paid subscription. GitHub introduced the concept of the ‘pull request’ where code changes done in branches by contributors can be reviewed and discussed before being merged be the repository owner. Once the theme is stable, it will be merged into CoreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. and its GitHub repo will be deprecated. An empty repository has been created here that you can follow if you’d like:

Starting on Monday October 11th at 3:00 PM UTC, there will be weekly SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at meetings in #core-themes to coordinate development of the theme.

The future of default themes

The community has produced a dozen best-in-class themes together, and we’ve come to look forward to a new one arriving at the close of each year. That said, themes are in a transition period today, and it seems like this may be a reasonable time to step back and to re-evaluate the annual cadence with which we build default themes. 

Innovations like theme.json, block templates, and block patterns are making theme development far simpler, and are providing new ways for users to customize their sites. There’s reason to believe that the community can leverage all this to build more frequent and diverse theme and customization solutions for our users in the coming years. 

We’re all still navigating these new opportunities (and in the meantime, we have a theme to build!) so let’s regroup after the 5.9 release to discuss future paths forward for default themes. 

Learn more

For information about about previous default themes, you can read the following posts:

If you’re interested in learning more about Block Themes and Full Site Editing, here are some resources for you: