One of the most common questions I’m asked is for beginner’s help in creating a new WordPress theme. There’s a few approaches you could take and I’ll list some of the advantages and disadvantages of each method.

  1. Adapt the default theme (Kubrick) – Great if you’re only wanting some basic changes, like putting in a new header. If that’s you, you should check out Kubrickr! I wouldn’t recommend adapting the Kubrickr theme if you’re wanting a completely different design. There’s a tonne of bits and pieces to sort through (e.g. some of the CSS code is in the header file, not in the stylesheet which can confuse beginners) and quite a bit of PHP code to figure out. Urban Giraffe has a tutorial on adapting the default theme to your own custom theme.
  2. Adapt another theme – Use something like the theme browser for something that’s similar in layout/content to what you’re after. Again, sometimes the code may be overly complex/simple for what you’re after. Working with someone else’s code can take time to get your head around.
  3. Create your own theme from scratch – The most flexible, if you know what you’re doing. Using the WordPress theme documentation is a good place to start but it can be a little daunting for beginners. If you’re wanting to release your theme publically for others to download and use on their blogs, there’s extra things you’ll need to do as well.

Plenty of starting places.

Coming soon: While one theme certainly won’t be the starting place for all themes, over the next little while I’ll be creating a skeleton WordPress theme which will be a nice easy place to start your theme’s design from.

In this series of posts, I’ll step you through I created the theme and show you how you can quickly adapt the theme to suit your own purposes.