On November 1st, 2022, WordPress 6.1 is scheduled for release.

Typical of any major WordPress release at the end of a calendar year, 6.1 will include a new default theme, Twenty Twenty-Three (TT3), and in keeping with tradition, it will showcase some of the latest and most exciting capabilities in WordPress core. 

Unlike other releases, however, TT3  will be a new kind of theme in that it prominently uses the style variations feature released with WordPress 6.0

A key element for Full Site Editing, style variations enable a selection of design presets for users that allow them to apply a new look and feel to their website,  without changing their theme

Introducing style variations is a significant step forward for anyone who’s ever dabbled in WordPress site design. The new design presets provide WordPress users with options for re-skinning their sites while allowing theme builders plenty of latitude to use their imagination.

The decision to leverage style variations in TT3 actually began as a proposal during the WordPress team’s initial planning, and  it evolved into a suggestion we’d never seen before, from Automattic Design Director Channing Ritter:

“What if, instead of emphasizing the theme itself, we highlighted an opinionated set of style variations designed by community members? We could use Twenty Twenty-Two as the basis for a new theme that’s stripped back and minimal — a blank canvas to let a diverse range of style variations shine.”

A call for contributors was made, and on August 10th, 2022, the Twenty Twenty-Three Default Theme Project Kickoff was announced.

Committed to Give Back

WP Engine is committed to accelerating innovation in WordPress through original contributions and helping the community transition to the block editor and Full Site Editing. 

TT3 and the call for specific style variations submissions offered  two members of our Developer Relations team—myself and Damon Cook—an excellent opportunity to give back, and  I submitted a variation called Sherbet, while Damon submitted one called Whisper.

In total, 38 submissions from 19 contributors spanning eight different countries were received. This past week, the WordPress team announced that ten variations would ship with the TT3 default theme.

I’m proud to say that both submissions from WP Engine were selected.



Visit WP Engine to find out more about our team’s contributions, our support for WordPress builders, and our wider work with the WordPress community.