From personal websites to food blogs, Twenty Sixteen offers a pristine canvas for your design touches.
Customizing Twenty Sixteen: Four Takes on Our Annual Theme
Every year we release an annual flagship theme as a blank canvas for bloggers, artists, professionals, and business owners. This year’s creation, Twenty Sixteen, is a gorgeous theme that celebrates a classic WordPress layout yet injects it with new energy and precise, minimalist flare.
Twenty Sixteen‘s customization options allow it to support any type of site — from a traditional blog to a professional web page. Here are four sites that caught our eye.
Some of you might know blogger John Kelly from his superb etymology blog, mashed radish. John has embarked on a new adventure this month. Since 2016 marks the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, he intends to read the Bard’s entire corpus of plays and poetry by year’s end, and chronicle the journey on his blog.
He chose Twenty Sixteen for this project, and the theme’s crisp typography and nods to print culture work perfectly with his topic — check out the neat post intro which gives readers a hint of the post’s content (see screenshot above: “In 2016, it’s not the shrew that’s the problem. It’s the taming.”), or the magazine-like pull quotes (below).
A few other well-chosen elements, like a clean serif font (Libre Baskerville) and a custom header image based on a famous Shakespeare etching, come together to create an unobtrusive but memorable look.
A pop of color, a punchy tagline, strategically positioned social icons: with just a few brushstrokes, D.J. and radio presenter Yinka Bokinni has crafted a homepage full of personality.
Yinka, a UK-based music and fashion lover, hosts a morning show at London’s Rinse FM, and you sense something of that early-morning, big-city vibe in the site’s design, from the shocking pink custom background to the slender sans-serif fonts she uses (like Droid Sans Mono in the site’s title).
Yinka has opted for a static front page, but the site’s other sections — her blog and contact info, for example — along with her other social profiles are all one click away thanks to the well-placed custom menu and Social Media Icons Widget.
Even if you don’t read Portuguese, Brazilian poet Lucão’s blog is a hymn to the virtues of minimalism — in writing as well as in design.
Lucão — real name Lucas Brandão — has cultivated a huge audience on social media, with more than 300,000 followers on Instagram alone. His blog — where he gathers all his handwritten, aphorism-length poems — is a comfortable hub where readers can explore his deep archives (he’s been publishing here for almost a decade). The black-and-white aesthetic of the poems work especially well against the backdrop of Twenty Sixteen, whose clean lines and focus on readability let the words speak for themselves.
In our book, any food blog with “brunch” in its name is already ahead of the curve; Patricia, a Toronto, Canada-based food blogger went a few steps further and used Twenty Sixteen to create an inviting, bright space for her recipes.
Patricia’s blog demonstrates how the theme’s out-of-the-box look, including its default font and white background, are the perfect foundation for lovely photos and fun food writing. She’s added a handful of widgets — an Image Widget to introduce herself, a Categories Widget for easy navigation, an Instagram Widget for even more eye candy — and let the theme (and a winning custom header image featuring bacon) take care of the rest. We particularly liked how her wider images overhang the text (see the screenshot to the left), one of Twenty Sixteen‘s signature touches.
Have you added your own tweaks to Twenty Sixteen? Have you seen other beautiful customizations of the theme? Let us know in the comments.
Nice to see a Brazilian guy there! I didn’t Lucão’s website, gonna check it out for sure
Why must the “Blog at WordPress.com” footer credit line appear twice, at the bottom of the front page of the Twenty Sixteen theme?
Thank you for this post! I find it very useful 🙂
I have a question; on my self hosted site the Addiction Recovery Lab header logo drops well bellow the top of the page wilts the WordPress.com site the header logo is positioned as it should be.
Any way you can help me figure out a work around to this issue.
Byron in Calif
I’m enjoying twenty sixteen. The black border was the thing that gave me the inspiration to do the same to the photos I upload to keep a standard to the theme.
Also like the fonts and the placement of feature image and excerpt, – particularly the light grey colour that gives a difference, and elegance without dominating the page.
The only thing I haven’t worked out is the Use of the Sidebar. I’m not sure I want to keep it on the page, but can’t figure out where to put the collection of info.
Enjoyed Blogging 101 and it helped me make much more use of the community.
Dear Sirs A colleague and I have a blog page called prsbhtblog. Recently a number of unsolicited adverts have appeared on our page including ADDIDAS, another for a freelance writer and a third untitled advert trying to sell vegetables. Is this a new WordPress policy and if so are we entitled to any of the advertising revenue? Or is this ‘outsiders’ hacking into wordpress? Because of some of the themes and topics we are writing about we feel that we do not want to be associated with any type of outside advertising. We look foreword to receiving your reply. Chris Ellis and J Gordon
Date: Wed, 27 Jan 2016 20:16:35 +0000 To: firstname.lastname@example.org
Superb article, and I’m trying to utilise Twenty Sixteen to its fullest potential.
However, as a Stroke survivor, I often get confused.
Could you look at my site keithosola.com and suggest practical ways that I might improve it?
I simply love the theme, and could really do with some genuine hand-holding (as I want to learn).
Simply cannot make up my mind about upgrading (unless they’re are significant benefits, and need to watch the pennies.
Do please have a look, if you’ve the time, as I’ve tried to put a lot of work into it.
I’m a huge fan of twenty sixteen and how customizable it is. Very cool to how it’s used so differently by these 4 different sites.
On my self-hosted blog I switched to twenty sixteen. Some of my posts are very long so here’s my take on customizing it to make reading lengthy text as easy as possible:
Thanks! I also use Twenty Sixteen and have used the WordPress.com default theme since Twenty Fourteen. I have made each theme my own using CSS. I share my code on the blog. Both Twenty Fifteen & Twenty Sixteen are up. They are under my blog menu. I take lots of pictures and display than on my blog. I luv the default theme and think Twenty Sixteen is the best so far. Thanks again!! –jim artis [a.k.a. jalexartis]
Thanks @benhuberman . I have a question. I’m glad you answered.Are you coming on node.js consistent theme? Faster blogs. Happy bloggers.
I recently used twenty sixteen theme. It’ s very beautiful. But I have an objection: couldn ‘t the designer make larger the main column (where the post embeded)? this choice is very annoying, very annoying! In blogger there is no such a problem. I ‘m thinking leaving wordpress soon.
Twenty Sixteen’s a huge improvement, very clean and usable with a stack of widgets, and the left-side date/category/comments links make posts more usable without scrolling down, scrolling up.
One thing, it would be nice to have another color scheme with black text on very light grey, sepia, or the blue of this blog (#f0f4f6), rather than stark white, dark grey, black, candy-apple red, and warning yellow; the last two are basically jokes, nobody’d use that, right? I’m not opposed to buying premium, but this seems like a minor thing to upsell on.
These show how important it is to understand colour (color) coordination too. They work because the design is thought out in much more than layout. Having an eye for what colour combinations work and what don’t is half the battle.