Behind the Scenes of Twenty Seventeen

It’s a wrap! After months of work and over 100 individual contributors, Twenty Seventeen, the new default theme for WordPress, shipped yesterday in WordPress 4.7 “Vaughan”:

WordPress 4.7 “Vaughan”

Twenty Seventeen was the first default WordPress theme I’ve had the pleasure of working on. I wanted to talk a little bit about the design and history of theme, and how we got to where it is now.

The design that would eventually become Twenty Seventeen went through a couple iterations. At its earliest, it was a one-page restaurant theme that we didn’t feel comfortable tackling yet at Automattic. Once we figured out a good way to do multi-page homepages, I brought it back up and it was suggested I turn it into a business theme. This theme would eventually become Lodestar, a yet-to-be-launched theme on

Another couple rounds of iteration to introduce a more interesting grid, sharper typographic system, and the idea of video headers brought us to where Twenty Seventeen is today.

The coolest part of Twenty Seventeen wasn’t just watching it come to life, it was also watching it work with WordPress core to introduce new features: video headers, starter content, and even edit shortcuts (another feature I worked on alongside the Customizer team). The theme worked well with the release, which was centered around the idea of “your site, your way.” 4.7 is one of the most exciting releases yet, and I’m happy Twenty Seventeen contributed to that.

Of course, any good default theme also needs a strong team behind it. Working with Laurel Fulford and David Kennedy on the theme has been an absolute pleasure. Laurel coded my designs with accuracy and precision, and was ever patient and gracious in the face of my nitpicking. DK kept us on-track, and made the hard decisions that led us to success. You can read his writeup here:

Dear Twenty Seventeen Contributors

I’m thankful for all 103 contributors who helped create Twenty Seventeen:

aaroncampbell, acmethemes, adammacias, afercia, ahortin, akshayvinchurkar, alex27, allancole, anilbasnet, b-07, binarymoon, bradyvercher, brainstormforce, caspie, celloexpressions, claudiosanches, clorith, davidakennedydavidmosterd, delawski, dimadin, dineshc, doughamlin, electricfeet, enodekciw, fencer04, for, grapplerulrich, hardeepasrani, helen, hiddenpearls, idealien, imnok, implenton, implenton, initial, iv, joefusco, joemcgill, johnpgreen, jordesign, joshcummingsdesign, joyously, juanfra, karmatosed, laurelfulford, leobaiano, littlebigthing, lukecavanagh, mageshp, mahesh901122, manishsongirkar36, mapk, mattwiebe, mbelchev, metodiew, mor10, mrahmadawais, netweb, nikschavan, nnaimov, noplanman, nukaga, ocean90, odysseygate, patch, patilvikasj, peterwilsoncc, pratikchaskar, pressionate, presskopp, rabmalin, ranh, rianrietveld, ryelle, sami, samikeijonen, sandesh055, sgr33n, sirbrillig, sixhours, smyoon315, snacking, soean, sstoqnov, swapnilld, swisspidy, swissspidy, taggon, tg29359, themeshaper, transl8or, tsl143, tywayne, valeriutihai, voldemortensen, vrundakansara, westonruter, williampatton, yoavf, yogasukma, and zodiac1978.

All you folks were a pleasure to work with. We made a pretty dang nice default theme, if I do say so myself.

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2 thoughts on “Behind the Scenes of Twenty Seventeen

  1. I think we forget how easy it is to take for granted the work that you and the WordPress developers do for us, and really, for the world. My work as an artist and filmmaker really relies heavily on web-based platforms and every one I’ve created over the past several years has been based on wordpress. Thanks for this latest theme, Mel. I dig your work. If we ever bump into each other, the craft beer is on me.


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