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Twenty Fifteen: A Closer Look At the WordPress 4.1 Default Theme

For the past five years, the selfless and utterly capable team that develops the WordPress core has honored the tradition of releasing a brand new default theme every year. This year’s is the Twenty Fifteen WordPress theme that was released with the 4.1 version of WordPress.

Each new default theme highlights a new feature in the core system: Twenty Ten introduced custom header images; Twenty Eleven highlighted color schemes and custom post types; Twenty Twelve showcased responsive design; Twenty Thirteen highlighted the power of post formats while Twenty Fourteen showcased the use of a grid layout.

In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at the Twenty Fifteen WordPress Theme which is the default theme for the 4.1 version, and what features it showcases.

Twenty Fifteen WordPress Theme Highlights

A Focus On Blogging

Twenty Fifteen reminds us of the basic premise on which WordPress was created many years ago – blogging. And this time, it’s not only blogging but sharing as well. The theme features a simple but elegant two-column layout where the content column takes the spotlight.

Unfussy Design

In terms of design, Twenty Fifteen is a stark contrast to its predecessor. It takes the minimalist approach, which seems to be a growing trend nowadays as most people prefer to focus on basics – which is to display content in a clear and unfussy way.

As already mentioned, Twenty Fifteen features a two-column layout: an all-white left side bar and a narrow-width content area to the right. The two areas are separated by clear border lines that create clarity while leaving enough room for images.

There’s a generous amount of white space and this provides less distractions from the content. The content area is nicely wrapped in white-space and a slightly darker background provides a nice contrast for increased clarity.

While still on the point of design, it’s also worth pointing out that the sidebar houses the main navigation location.

Elegant Typography

Since the theme’s focus is content display, the choice of fonts isn’t surprising. They’re clean and simple, and have great readability on a wide range of screen sizes. Noto Serif is the main fonts used but you can use the Typecase plugin – for instance – to add the ability to customize fonts. Specifically, the plugin adds more than 650 Google Web Fonts to choose from.

Mobility

The mobile-first approach is the new craze in web design and the Twenty Fifteen clearly showcases this approach. The theme features various break-points to cater for the most common screen sizes, which makes it easy to browse.

Twenty Fifteen Features

Based on the design features we’ve looked at in the previous section, it is clear that Twenty Fifteen WordPress theme is built for simplicity. If you dig deeper into the theme, you realize that this approach extends to other parts of the theme, which is evidence that a deliberate decision was made to keep things at bare minimum.

So let’s look at a few features under the hood:

Custom Colors

Out of the box Twenty Fifteen features a monochrome color scheme that is somewhat dull although it works fine. However, under the hood there are five more color schemes to liven up your website. What’s more, you can also set custom colors for the header, sidebar, and site background.

Social Media Icons

To make social sharing easier, Twenty Fifteen features a dedicated location for social icons. It’s actually a menu location and all you need to do is create a custom menu and assign it to that location. Provide links to your social media pages and the respective icons will be automatically displayed by the theme.

Custom Menu Descriptions

menu descriptions

The ability to add menu descriptions is one of those subtle but utterly amazing features of this theme. To activate this feature, simply enable the Descriptions custom field under Screen Options on the menu settings page. Write the descriptions in the Description box  for each menu item.

Image Galleries

As you’d expect, Twenty Twelve offers a variety of post formats, most of which you’re already familiar with. However, the masonry posts format is the clear standout. It is beautifully crafted and doesn’t use up too much space.

Wrapping Up

If you’re purely a blogger, there’s no doubt you’ll fall in love with this theme because it was created for you. The basic premise is content sharing and every type of content was afforded enough space to be displayed elegantly.

What are your standout features on Twenty Fifteen WordPress theme? Let us know in the comments section.

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