New Theme: Twenty Twenty

We’re pleased to announce that Twenty Twenty — the new WordPress default theme designed by Anders Norén— is available to all WordPress.com sites.

Twenty Twenty was designed with the flexibility of the new WordPress Editor at its core. If you want to use it for an organization or a business, you can combine columns, groups, and media to create dynamic layouts that show off your services or products. If you want to use it for a traditional blog, the centered content column and considered typography makes it perfect for that as well.

It also has been designed and developed to take maximum advantage of the creative freedom enabled by the block editor. Extra care has been given to the Columns and Group blocks, which can be combined into impressive landing pages with intricate blocks layouts. Twenty Twenty includes full editor styles for the block editor, so what you see in the editor will almost exactly match the end result.

Learn more about WordPress’s latest default theme here, or check out the demo site!

Introducing Six New Business-Oriented Themes

Today we’re excited to announce six new themes with an entrepreneurial spin: Calm Business, Elegant Business, Friendly Business, Modern Business, Professional Business, and Sophisticated Business.

Designed by Takashi Irie, each theme in this collection is based on a clean, easy-to-navigate layout that’s well-suited to a wide range of businesses — but with six unique styles and tones, there’s a version that suits your distinctive brand.

The sleek minimalism of Modern Business brings focus to your high-end fashion photography; Sophisticated Business brings a moody palette and stylized typography to complement the style of your upscale restaurant.


Calm Business’s softness matches the peaceful tone of your small yoga studio, while and Friendly Business adds subtle but uplifting touches to create a welcoming online home for your hobby farm.


Not to be outdone, Professional Business is solid and grounded to echo the integrity of your accounting firm, and Elegant Business’s combination of warmth and sophistication makes it a perfect fit for coffee shops.


Each themes has a bold accent color you can customize to match your business’s branding.

They all also include full support for the new WordPress block editor, allowing you to create a wide range of content for your site.

You can learn more about each of these themes in our showcase!

New Theme: Twenty Nineteen

We’re pleased to announce that Twenty Nineteen — the new WordPress default theme designed by Allan Cole and Kjell Reigstad — is available to all WordPress.com sites.

Twenty Nineteen was designed with simple but sophisticated typography and a pared-down, open aesthetic, making it a great foundation for a variety of websites. It also fully supports the new WordPress Editor, which allows you to create a wide range of content for your site.

Twenty Nineteen gives your featured images a bold treatment on posts and pages: the images cover the full width and height of the screen, along with a color overlay which can be changed in the Customizer.

Learn more about WordPress’s latest default theme here, or check out the demo site!

New Theme: Photos

Today we’re happy to introduce Photos, an image-centric theme with a clean layout and a design that showcases your favorite snapshots.

When we designed Photos, we put extra care into making it look and feel great on mobile devices. But that’s only one of the theme’s highlights — here are a few others.

Photos first: Photos features a familiar three-column grid to display your photos on your blog’s homepage, archive pages, and search results. The full-width grid appears on smartphones and tablets. It scales up to a fixed-width grid on desktop and laptop displays.

Mobile navigation: When visitors view your site on a mobile device, the menu button is fixed at the bottom of the page, closer to your thumbs. The menu then slides up from the bottom, keeping your site-navigation items within easy reach.

Standard fonts: Photos uses system fonts — fonts that are already available on mobile devices and computers — rather than loading its own custom fonts. This reduces page-load time, and benefits people browsing your site on mobile devices or slower internet connections. Like in any other WordPress.com theme, you can always change the font using the Customizer.

No sidebar: For a more consistent experience between desktop and mobile screens, Photos has a single-column, no-sidebar layout. This helps sites retain the same look and feel regardless of the device your visitors use to view it.

You can learn more about Photos by checking out the Showcase page or the theme’s demo site!

New Premium Themes: Small Business and Photo Blog

Today we’re excited to announce two new premium themes: Small Business and Photo Blog.

Small Business

Small Business is a new premium theme for your entrepreneurial endeavors. At an introductory price of just $5 (or free with the Premium or Business plans), it’s a worthwhile investment for your business.

Small Business Theme Setup Instructions

We know that running a business is no small task, which is why Small Business includes comprehensive video instructions for its key features so you can get your business’ website online faster.

Small Business was designed with a simple, single-column layout for a consistent reading experience no matter the device or screen size, and uses system fonts to reduce page-load time. We’ve also included a few tailored features just for small businesses, like:

Contact Information: Your customers are busy people – that’s why easy access to essential information like your phone number and address is so important. Small Business displays a banner with your contact information on every page and turns all the information into links, so your customers can call, email, or find you on a map with a click.

Small Business - Contact Info

Promo Area: Do you have a new product coming out? A seasonal sale? A special event? Whatever it is, you’ll want to put this information right on the front page to make sure your customers see and act on it. Small Business includes a Promo Area area that makes it as easy as flipping a switch!

Style Packs: If Small Business’ bold design doesn’t feel right for you, choose one of the three included Style Packs — Modern Flair, Country Charm, or Classic Elegance — for a different look and feel with the click of a button.




Learn more about how to use all of Small Business’ features with these step-by-step instructions and videos or by checking out the demo — or just try it out on your own site!

Photo Blog

Photo Blog is our new premium theme for visual storytellers. It’s available for $36, or comes free with the Premium or Business plans.

Photo Blog comes with many features that help your photographs shine:

Layout: Along with its default square layout, Photo Blog comes with two additional layout options. The Grid layout adds space between your images, while Masonry creates an interlocking grid, which respects your image orientation and pieces them cleanly together.



Featured Images Filter: Photo Blog comes with a variety of image filters you can apply to your Featured Images. Choose from faded Reyes, black-and-white Willow, saturated Lo-fi, or one of the other 23 options.




Style Packs: If you’re searching for a different look for Photo Blog, check out its Style Packs — Modern, Elegant, Retro Photo, or Vintage Paper — to change up your site’s appearance.




You can learn more about Photo Blog by checking out these step-by-step instructions and videos, or visiting the theme’s demo site!

New Theme: Radcliffe 2

Today we’re happy to introduce Radcliffe 2, a refreshed version of a tried-and-true WordPress theme. We’ve optimized it for speed, and added new features specifically with small-business websites in mind.

Radcliffe 2 was a collaborative effort by several members of WordPress.com’s Theme Team. We wanted to update the popular theme for a more mobile-centric landscape, and to add new features that our small-business customers need.

Some specific design considerations for mobile include:

Standard fontsRadcliffe 2 uses system fonts — fonts that are already available on computers and mobile devices — rather than loading its own custom fonts. This reduces page-load time, since sites no longer have to load special font files, and benefits people browsing your site on mobile devices. Like with other WordPress.com themes, the fonts can be changed using the Customizer.

No sidebar: For a more consistent experience between desktop and mobile screens, Radcliffe 2 has a single-column, no-sidebar layout. This helps sites retain the same look and feel, regardless of the device used to load it.

We’ve tailored Radcliffe 2’s other major features for small-business sites:

Logo Resizer: For a perfect fit, increase or decrease the size of your logo.

Style Packs: Looking for a different feel for your site? Style Packs allow you to customize your design to match your brand in seconds. Check out Modern Bauhaus, Vintage Paper, or the Upbeat Pop Style Pack options! Each pack includes unique colors and fonts that create a cohesive style.



Contact Information: This is an easy way to display your phone number, email address, physical address, and hours of operation in your website’s header or footer. Mobile visitors can simply tap on your number to directly call your business’s phone.

Featured Prompt: Create an eye-catching area with text, a linked button, and a background image to draw visitors to a specific area of your site.

You can learn more about Radcliffe 2 by reading the Theme Showcase documentation, checking out the demo, or trying it out on your own site!

The original Radcliffe was released almost four years ago by Anders Norén, a prolific and talented themer.

Chatting with Anders about his theme, it’s clear we can credit Radcliffe’s bold images and typography to its predecessors. “Radcliffe was my fourth free WordPress theme,” says Anders. “The previous three, Lingonberry, Hemingway, and Wilson, are all pretty traditional blog themes with a thin content column and (in the case of Hemingway and Wilson) a sidebar with widgets. I wanted to do something a bit different with Radcliffe. Something that used the full width of the screen for people who want their images to take up more space.”

The original Radcliffe theme.

The result was a theme that balanced eye-catching featured images with a deft treatment of the written word.

Anders’s passion for creating free WordPress themes, originally a hobby, led to his career in web design. He notes that while technology and WordPress have changed, some things haven’t.

“The basic tenets of what makes a WordPress theme — and a website — great are still pretty much the same. Accessibility, a good layout, thought-through typography, smart functionality, and a couple of small, user-experience enhancing flourishes here and there.”

His design process has evolved too, but the core purpose of why he creates remains. “I start in whatever end I have in my head and pull on that thread to see how long it goes,” he says. “If the single view comes first, I try to get a feel for how the archive view would fit together with it, and vice versa. The rest grows from there. It’s not a very structured approach, I’ll admit. And that’s the best part about releasing themes for free. The only requirement I’ve set for myself is that I have fun doing it.”

The WordPress.com Business Plan Now Supports Plugins and Third-Party Themes

For many years, WordPress.com has been a simple way for people to create their own beautiful WordPress website in minutes.

But that simplicity came with a tradeoff — WordPress.com did not offer built-in support for the thousands of third-party plugins and themes that helped make WordPress the world’s largest and most open web publishing platform.

Now, we’ve made a significant change to the WordPress.com Business plan: you can access and add third-party plugins and themes built by the WordPress community. It’s the simplicity, speed, and expert support that you’ve always loved about WordPress.com, plugged in.

People love WordPress because it is totally customizable. With support for plugins and third-party themes, WordPress.com Business users will be able to connect their sites to great email and social media tools, ecommerce solutions, publishing and subscription services, and more.

This is a big step for us, and there’s a lot more work to do — over the coming weeks and months, we’re going to be working with partners and developers to help make the experience even easier for you to install and use these plugins and themes on WordPress.com.

And every WordPress.com Business user gets real-time concierge support – live chat with one of our Happiness Engineers and we can help you make the most of these new features.

WordPress is the world’s most popular web platform, and we’re proud to keep this community growing and thriving. Thanks for your continued support.

wordpress_business_wide4-half

New Theme: AltoFocus

Today we’re happy to announce the latest addition to our collection of free themes: AltoFocus!

AltoFocus is a spinoff of the original AutoFocus theme from a few years ago. Its elegant tiled layout helps artists, photobloggers, and other creatives showcase their talents.

Designed by Allan Cole, it highlights featured images in a way that engages readers and then gets out of the way of what truly matters — your work. The grid automatically shifts and re-forms to accommodate each new post you publish, creating an ever-changing collage of your creativity that draws visitors in while remaining clean and easy to navigate. And of course, it does this no matter the screen size.

Read more about its features on the Theme Showcase, check out the demo site, or dive right into previewing it on your blog from Appearance → Themes.

The Best of WordPress.com in April

You’re off to a strong creative start in 2017! Here are a few recent updates and stories from the WordPress.com community in April that we wanted to share with you.

What’s new

This Year’s WordPress Default Theme, Twenty Seventeen, Is Now Available

wptwentyseventeentheme

“Great looking theme!” – Jason Thornberry

Independent Publisher 2 Is Here

flat-device-mock

The Independent Publisher theme has long been beloved for its simplicity and legibility, and we’re happy to announce that it has been improved, ever so slightly. Read our interview with the designers, Caroline Moore and Kjell Reigstad.

Check Out the New Look, Products, and Features of the WordPress Swag Store

monstro_wordpress_swag-25

For a chance to be featured on the website, post WordPress swag pics to Twitter and Instagram using #WPSWAG. Use code WPSWAG for 20% off all items. (Offer ends May 12.)

Longreads Just Turned 8 Years Old. Here’s What the Next Eight Years Look Like

celebrating-8-years

Longreads is rapidly becoming the best place on the internet for personal essays, and there are ambitious plans to do even more. Read more on our plans, and contribute to the Longreads story fund — WordPress.com will even match your contributions.


Designing for [X]: inclusion

AA Quote 01 alt

Better conceptualizing, designing, building, and improving how to meet the needs of underserved users is a core part of how we work at WordPress.com, and that was the focus of April’s Design and Exclusion (#DesignX) conference (check out the complete video and transcript at x.design.blog).

hack20detroit20day20220tours-9343-01201

How can we help entrepreneurs working in cities around the world? That’s the challenge Hajj Flemings explored in an April essay for Design.blog. He shares some of the insights which came out of the 100 Project Hackathon — a project tasked to build nine small business sites in a 48-hour period in Detroit.

Perspectives: ‘But Wait, Is Your Last Name Filipino?’ (Samantha Hankins)


In your toolbox: inspiration + insights

10,000 Kilometers: Quintin Lake on Walking and Photographing Britain’s Coastline

Flock of Sheep, Gammon Head, Devon.

Two Aprils ago, Quintin Lake set off from St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. The journey? To walk 10,000 kilometers around the coast of Britain. We caught Quintin just before he embarked on a 15-day adventure around the edge of Snowdonia, North Wales. Read about Quintin’s epic walk along the sea.

Quotables: “If you really love writing, it’s like eating. You can’t live without doing it.” – The writing life of Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer Jill Lepore (Harvard Gazette).

Case Study: A collection of portraits, street scenes, and details from Bangkok.

Try it out: Importing Google Docs → WordPress.com.


Now following

“WordPress was the best… I’m very happy to be back.” — welcome back, Leo Laporte!

Check out Amazon CTO Werner Vogels’s new site, Werner.blog.

Hang out with us on Instagram and tag your ‘grams with #DiscoverWP.


That’s all for now!

What did you love about your own work in April? Comment with a link to a post you’re proud of, or something new you learned about designing your site. Feeling motivated? Download the WordPress app on iOS and Android.

Independent Publisher 2 Is Here

The popular Independent Publisher design is a WordPress theme that has long been beloved for its simplicity and legibility. So we are happy to announce that it has been improved, ever so slightly, with the design talents of Caroline Moore and Kjell Reigstad.

Introducing Independent Publisher 2:

Independent Publisher was first designed, developed, and released four years ago by Raam Dev in his introductory post to the Independent Publisher Project:

“I’ve been using WordPress for the past 8 years and in that time my site has always had a modified version of someone else’s theme. I always found it easier to start with a theme created by someone else and then modifying it until I had it the way I wanted.” —Raam Dev, 2013

I recently caught up with Raam to learn about the origins of Independent Publisher.

JM: How did Independent Publisher come to be?

RD: I had that design swimming around in my head for years—it’s the culmination 7 years of hacking away at a constantly-evolving WordPress theme for my personal site, tweaking and updating it every few months to apply my latest understanding of what ‘good design’ meant. Over the years I had gotten so many requests from people who wanted to use the theme that I was using, but the current theme was always so hacked-together that I wasn’t able to easily share it. Finally in 2013 I decided to put everything that I’d learned into building a theme that could be shared and that’s where the Independent Publisher theme was born. I’ve been amazed by how many people use it—it’s such a weird feeling to visit the site of a stranger on the internet only to discover they’re using the theme that I helped build!

JM: Are you a designer or a developer? I mean, your last name is … “Dev.”

RD: I’m definitely a bit of both. I love building things but I also love thinking about the ultimate purpose of what gets built, the ‘why’ behind the ‘what.’

About my last name, it hadn’t even occurred to me how appropriate my last name was for the type of work that I do until my developer friends started asking if it was really my last name.

JM: What advice do you give for budding designer/devs like yourself when starting off in creating a theme?

RD: Start with the end in mind. When I built the Independent Publisher theme, I kept revisiting the same set of questions at every step along the way: What’s the ultimate purpose of this theme? What is it trying to do? What is its ultimate objective?

JM: How have mobile devices changed how we consume content these days?

RD: If there was ever a good example of the importance of considering the design impact of what we build, mobile would be it. With mobile devices, users don’t get to choose the size of their web browser. They have little choice about the constraints imposed on them by the devices in their hands. That means it’s up to us developers and designers to ensure that content can be consumed as easily as possible on mobile.


In case you are wondering, “What is a theme?” I can tell you that according to Automattic founder and CEO Matt Mullenweg, “themes” began from WordPress version 1.5 way back in 2005. A theme is an encapsulation of code and design knowledge — it lets you customize the look and feel of a WordPress site to be exactly the way that you want. If you are a designer that is new to themes, I suggest that you read this short essay by Mel Choyce on “3 Reasons Why Every Designer Should Create A WordPress Theme.”

Because Independent Publisher came out in 2013, it deserved a tiny set of enhancements. We thought the best two people to lead the design challenge needed to be our theming veteran Caroline Moore and our typography expert Kjell Reigstad.

JM: What makes a good theme?

CM: A rock-solid code foundation like Components and a design that feels like home. My favorites are bold, colorful themes with lots of personality; Scratchpad by my colleague Laurel Fulford comes to mind.

JM: What makes for good typography?

KR: Good typography doesn’t get in the way. It’s balanced, legible, and subtle.

JM: Are there any aspects of Independent Publisher that caught your attention when it was first released on WP.com?

CM: Using a Gravatar as a site logo wasn’t common around the time Independent Publisher was released, so that stood out to me as a neat way to make the theme more personalized right out of the box.

JM: What makes one paragraph more legible than the other?

KR: There are a number of variables that affect the readability of paragraphs. Aside from the more obvious ones like typeface and font size, I find leading and column width to be the most important.

Leading (also known as “line-spacing”) is the space between lines of text. If the space is too wide, your eyes have to work hard to jump from one line of text to the next. If it’s too narrow, your eyes have to work hard at differentiating each line as you’re reading. Leading adjustments can be very subtle, but the right balance makes a big impact.

Column width is a little more self-explanatory. If a paragraph of text is too wide, your eyes will have to take a large horizontal jump each time you progress onto a new line. If the paragraph is too narrow, your eyes will have to make the jump more often. Both of these cases can cause eye fatigue. An ideal column width is somewhere in the middle.

JM: What about this Independent Publisher refresh benefits the reader?

KR: In my opinion, the best update is the switch to using system fonts by default. More often than not nowadays, websites load in custom font files to display all their text. This is great visually, but it does lead to slightly longer page load times.

System fonts are are included with your device by default. These are pretty standard fonts, and tend to be very widely available. You’ve probably heard of many of them: Helvetica, Times, and Georgia for instance. Switching to use these fonts means we don’t have to load in additional font files every time your site loads. This saves time, and is especially handy when visitors are on a slow or unstable mobile connection.

Best of all, the system fonts we used are beautiful! Headlines are set in your computer’s default sans serif font Apple’s San Francisco font, and Android’s Roboto for example, and body text is set in Georgia by the beloved Matthew Carter.

JM: Where do you see the world of themes heading, Caroline?

CM: I want to see themes condensed into a single CSS file, applied over different components that you can mix and match to build any kind of site you can imagine.

JM: If I’m a beginner to design and want to learn more about typography, how do I start, Kjell?

KR: This is a quick, 6-minute video that I made last year to share the joy of typography:

JM: Thank you Raam, Caroline, and Kjell!


So there you have it — enjoy the new power of Independent Publisher 2, and set yourself free to write with enhanced legibility, special tweaks for mobile, and an overall faster experience for your readers.

Read more about Raam Dev, Caroline Moore, and Kjell Reigstad on their respective websites:

Raam Dev Caroline Moore Kjell Reigstad