A WordPress default theme is the theme installed when you first set up a WordPress site.
Since Twenty Twenty released with the newest version of WordPress, you need to update your WordPress first before using this WordPress theme.
The default WordPress themes change every year, using the release year as the name — Twenty Ten, Twenty Eleven, Twenty Twelve, and so on.
Since it was released in 2003, WordPress already has 12 default themes as of this day. Most of the themes are still frequently used and updated by the developers.
In this article, I’ll show you the history of default WordPress themes since the platform was launched in 2003.
Twenty Twenty was released in December 2019 alongside the WordPress version 5.3. While the previous themes were built from scratch, Twenty Twenty was created based on the Chaplin theme.
As the most recent default WordPress theme, Twenty Twenty comes with the Gutenberg editor, a centered content column, and three post templates. These features give flexibility to WordPress users to create any website they want.
With the block editor, users can create their custom elements — group blocks, columns, images, etc. — on the full-width layout of this theme. This feature makes Twenty Twenty an excellent theme for any kind of website — blog, business website, portfolio website, and so forth. Users can also use the Gutenberg editor to create landing pages.
By using Inter as the typeface, Twenty Twenty focuses on clarity and readability. The font provides a sharp look to the big headings and makes it look very legible, even in the smallest font sizes.
Using the Customizer, you can also change the accent color or the background colors to give a personal style to this theme.
Main Selling Points of the Twenty Twenty Theme
Twenty Twenty gives you the freedom to create a website that fits your purpose. You can take full advantage of the Gutenberg block editor to combine columns, group blocks, and media to show off your content or products.
In December 2018, Twenty Nineteen was introduced in WordPress version 5.0. As the first WordPress theme to support the Gutenberg block editor, Twenty Nineteen quickly became one of the most flexible default themes.
Gutenberg offers a new experience to users that had been using WordPress long before the release of this feature. Content creation and layout customization are made much easier using this block editor.
With its minimalist front-end look, Twenty Nineteen grants users the freedom to create a truly unique design. The theme is an excellent choice for any projects you can think of — blogs, portfolio websites, business websites, and so on.
Main Selling Points of the Twenty Nineteen Theme
The minimalist design, combined with the Gutenberg block editor, makes the Twenty Nineteen theme a great option for anyone who wants to create a unique website without much clutter.
Before the release of the Twenty Nineteen theme, WordPress decided not to launch a theme in 2018. The WordPress team was still mainly focused on the Gutenberg editor that later came alongside the Twenty Nineteen theme.
In December 2016, Twenty Seventeen was released with WordPress 4.7. With over one million active installations, this theme is one of the most popular WordPress default themes.
Twenty Seventeen was the first variation of the WordPress themes that use a business website layout. Not only that, but it was also the first default theme that enables users to feature a video on the header.
Other WordPress features you can see in this theme are widgets, navigation and social menus, and multiple sections on the front page. The child theme functionality is also improved in this theme.
Main Selling Points of the Twenty Seventeen Theme
If you’re looking for a premium-look theme for your business website, opting for the Twenty Seventeen will be an excellent idea. The theme’s features help you display your content beautifully, and the built-in video header can bring a fresh look to your site.
Twenty Sixteen was introduced in WordPress version 4.4 in December 2015. At the time when Twenty Sixteen was released, web designs with no sidebar were becoming more popular, especially for business websites.
With Twenty Sixteen’s optional sidebar, users can remove or keep the sidebar on their site. This theme also came with several features such as widget areas, full size featured images, pull quotes, and so on. You can also change the background color or add a custom header image from the Customizer.
Main Selling Points of the Twenty Sixteen Theme
Twenty Sixteen has features that can benefit users who focus more on content creation. The clean interface, no-sidebar layout, and additional widget areas of this theme can help make your content the main focus of your website.
In December 2014, Twenty Fifteen was released as the default theme for WordPress in 2015. Included in WordPress 4.1, this theme introduced new customization capabilities for the default WordPress theme.
The ability to add social icons was first shown in Twenty Fifteen. By displaying social media links at the menu, users could lead visitors to their social accounts directly from their sites.
Another capability that made Twenty Fifteen different from its predecessors was the color scheme option. Coming with six color schemes, WordPress users could change the look of their site as they wished.
Having a similar look with Twenty Sixteen, this theme has a super-clean interface that brings simplicity to your website. Its crisp and elegant typography is also adaptable to other languages.
Apart from its design and features, Twenty Fifteen adapted to any device without losing the usability of this theme.
Main Selling Points of the Twenty Fifteen Theme
With the minimalist look of Twenty Fifteen, you can easily create a nice-looking blog that will make visitors focus on your content. You can easily change the theme’s color and add social icons to your site. This theme also looks great in any device, making your website more accessible to any visitor.
Twenty Fourteen was introduced as part of WordPress version 3.8 in December 2013. Designed to fit for a content-rich site, Twenty Fourteen was packed with various features — custom header, featured images, post formats, sticky posts, etc.
On Twenty Fourteen’s home page, you can feature up to six posts with additional display options — grids or sliders. By using this featured content area, you can show off your best articles to the visitors.
To grab your visitor’s attention, you can use featured images for your posts and pages. Since this theme comes with a magazine-style layout, Twenty Fourteen can emphasize your pictures with high visibility.
Twenty Fourteen has two page templates — a full-width page and a Contributor page. The full-width page allows you to remove the right sidebar and fully show a featured image, while a Contributor page gives the spotlight to your blog’s authors.
By using black as the background color and Lato as the font, readability is undoubtedly the focal point of Twenty Fourteen. With its responsive layout, Twenty Fourteen can be viewed on any device and still look beautiful and readable to the visitors.
Collapsible menus and movable sidebars for mobile devices were also an improvement featured in this theme.
Main Selling Points of the Twenty Fourteen Theme
Using a magazine-style layout, Twenty Fourteen can help you build a beautiful magazine website. It allows you to feature specific content on your home page and emphasize your featured image while still looking great on any devices.
In August 2013, Twenty Thirteen was released alongside WordPress 3.6. While the preceding themes focused on the minimalist look, this theme came with a warm and colorful touch.
Twenty Thirteen came with new varieties of post formats — audio and chats. Also, each post format could be displayed in different background colors and different text aesthetics with this theme.
Besides the unique way of presenting each post, Twenty Thirteen also uses a decorative image as its header. It also comes with two more header images that you can choose.
This theme came with a single column layout and without a sidebar, making your content the focus on the site. If you want to use widgets, you can use the optional sidebar or footer widget area.
Twenty Thirteen was optimized to showcase your crafted content with its colorful and full-width layout. Its font also makes the theme readable and remains good-looking to the readers. The theme is not only beautiful, but also responsive to any site.
Main Selling Points of the Twenty Thirteen Theme
If you’re looking for something other than a minimalist theme, Twenty Thirteen should be your choice. Besides its vibrant and warm colors, this WordPress default theme also encourages you to create various post formats and make your blog more interesting for your visitors.
Introduced in WordPress version 3.5, Twenty Twelve became the default WordPress theme in 2012. Bringing a clean and minimalist interface to the plate, Twenty Twelve also came with more improvement than its predecessors.
The progress of the WordPress team in crafting a mobile-first layout was shown in this theme. Twenty Twelve became the first WordPress default theme that was responsive to any kind of device — smartphones, tablets, etc.
Besides introducing a fully responsive layout, Twenty Twelve also came with a special front page template as its essential component. It makes this theme not only great for a standard blog but also for other website types like business websites or portfolio websites.
Focusing on a minimalist yet elegant look, Twenty Twelve features custom Open Sans font and a full-width layout with no sidebar and no header image.
Main Selling Points of the Twenty Twelve Theme
Twenty Twelve is an elegant and minimalist theme with many more improvements than its previous theme. Coming with a responsive layout and front-page template, Twenty Twelve is an excellent option for a business website or blog.
Released in July 2011, Twenty Eleven came with WordPress version 3.2. Though the responsive layout was first introduced in this theme, Twenty Eleven wasn’t scaled correctly for some mobile devices at the time it was released.
Twenty Eleven came with some new features on the theme customization capability, such as randomized header images, additional color schemes and layouts, and custom link colors.
You can choose whether to use the light or the dark color scheme of this theme. Though there are only two options, changing a theme’s color is a real improvement from the previous themes.
This theme also has two custom page templates — the sidebar template and the showcase template. While the sidebar template displays a standard blog layout, the showcase template enables you to showcase your favorite posts at the top page.
Twenty Eleven has a minimalist design — like most default WordPress themes — with a black menu bar, white background, and clean Sans Serif font. It’s a great theme for people who are looking for a simple theme for their blog.
Main Selling Points of the Twenty Eleven Theme
Twenty Eleven is still a popular choice among the other WordPress themes, with over 200.000 active installations. The simplicity of Twenty Eleven makes it an excellent choice for a simple blog or portfolio site. You can also give a magazine look to your blog by using its showcase template.
After using the same default theme for five years, WordPress finally introduced Twenty Ten in June 2010. It was the beginning of WordPress’s plan to release new default themes annually. Included in WordPress 3.0, this theme was packed with many new features that weren’t available yet in the previous theme.
Besides being the first to be translation-ready, Twenty Ten was also the first default theme with the option to change the header and background image. By using custom background API on this theme, WordPress could finally make this capability available to users.
With the drop-down menus and multiple pages introduced in this theme, WordPress gave more possibilities for users to create a website that wasn’t a regular blog.
Since the release of the Twenty Ten theme, users no longer had to use code to change their WordPress default theme. With the Visual Editor feature of WordPress, users could see how their content looked like with the theme without continually hitting the Preview button.
Main Selling Points of the Twenty Ten Theme
Twenty Ten is an excellent example of what a theme should be — simple, customizable, and readable. With over 100.000 active installations, this theme is undoubtedly still an appealing choice of a simple blogging theme.
Default Theme (Kubrick)
The default theme, known as Kubrick, was included in WordPress 1.5 in February 2005. Kubrick was the default WordPress theme for five years until the release of WordPress 3.0.
As the first flexible default theme, Kubrick could integrate with plugins and widgets. This theme also introduced template files that allow users to customize the headers, footers, and sidebars.
Back in 2005, Kubrick’s design was cutting edge by featuring a blue gradient header with rounded corners, clean typography, and one wide column plus sidebar. However, since the theme was released before the popularity of smartphones, Kubrick was not responsive to other devices.
Main Selling Points of the Default Kubrick Theme
With its iconic design, Kubrick still looks decent as a blog theme. Regardless of its imperfections, this theme is still used by over 20.000 WordPress users and regularly updated by its developer.
Although some people consider Kubrick to be the first default theme, WordPress Classic is the theme that precedes the Kubrick position. Released in 2004, Classic was included in WordPress 1.2.
Until the release of WordPress 1.5, Classic was the only default WordPress theme. Back then, users did not have the choice to change their theme unless they had coding knowledge and could, therefore, change the look of the Classic theme.
Main Selling Points of the Classic Theme
With over a thousand active installations, Classic is still around. Featuring a sidebar and link manager feature, Classic served as a decent blog theme in 2004.
A WordPress default theme is the theme that is active when you install WordPress. The most recent default WordPress theme is Twenty Twenty, and it was included in WordPress 5.3.
Let’s look at the 12 default themes WordPress has released in the past 16 years:
- Twenty Twenty — lets you easily create a website that serves your purpose by using the Gutenberg block editor.
- Twenty Nineteen — this flexible and minimalist theme fits any website.
- Twenty Seventeen — enables users to use video as the header.
- Twenty Sixteen — makes content the centerpiece of your site without using a sidebar.
- Twenty Fifteen — adds social icons to lead visitors to your social media.
- Twenty Fourteen — features a magazine layout and emphasizes all featured images.
- Twenty Thirteen — uses warm, vibrant colors on the header and gives different color backgrounds for each post format.
- Twenty Twelve — has a minimalist design and features a mobile-first layout.
- Twenty Eleven — has two custom page templates.
- Twenty Ten — is a simple blogging theme that introduces the header and background customization capability.
- Default Theme — was used as a WordPress default theme for five years.
- WordPress Classic — was the first and only default theme of WordPress in 2004.
We can see how gradually WordPress changed their default themes. With the development of features in the default WordPress theme — especially the Block Editor — you can build any website you want.