First Look at The Twenty Nineteen Default Theme

Allan Cole, a WordPress Theme Imagineer at Automattic has published the first glimpses of the Twenty Nineteen default theme slated to ship with WordPress 5.0. Cole is leading the theme while Kjell Regstad who does Product and Editorial Design at Automattic will be a design coach.

Twenty Nineteen Blog Post Layout

The theme takes a minimalist approach that’s a good fit for writers and can be adapted for simple business sites as well. Twenty Nineteen doesn’t have a sidebar but will have an area in the footer to display widgets.

The theme will have full compatibility with Gutenberg when it’s released. It will also contain Front-end and Back-end editor styles. This will allow the presentation of content in the back-end to closely resemble how the finished product will look like. 

Twenty Nineteen is based on the Underscores and Gutenberg starter themes. SASS is used to keep styles in-sync between Gutenberg and the front-end experience which Cole notes is, “not usual for a default theme and open to debate.”

With WordPress 5.0 scheduled for a November release, Twenty Nineteen is on a fast track development cycle. A release candidate is expected to be available at the end of this month.

To keep tabs on development, you can monitor the project’s GitHub page. GitHub will be used to develop Twenty Nineteen until it’s ready to be merged into core. At that time, the GitHub page will be deprecated as development moves to WordPress Core Trac.

Dev meetings that last a half-hour will take place every Tuesday at 12PM EDT in the #core-themes Slack channel. It’s worth noting that if Twenty Nineteen is not ready in time for the planned November 19th, release of WordPress 5.0, it will be removed and released at a later date.

16 Comments


  1. I love how this looks, very modern. I’ve been getting my themes elsewhere to achieve this minimalist look, with no sidebars to distract the eye from my writing. This makes me want to try a default theme again. :)

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  2. A sidebar free theme??? Not really liking that idea..

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    1. Because it is based on _s, it should be very easy to create your child theme and add the sidebar.

      Perhaps creators could add some initial sidebar CSS styles for the folks who will like to extend the theme and add sidebar.

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  3. Played with Twenty Nineteen 1.0 yesterday. A practical case made for users to add their own color scheme. via a pallete in the customizer or post. Black and Blue isn’t going to cut it for me.

    I’m going to build a Child Theme this weekend and see if that’s something I add on my end then propose a feature request on github.

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    1. I agree: I like black and blue, but also like having the option to turn my site green and gray if I feel like it.

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  4. How does twentyninteen compile the Sass? Does Gutenberg have a built-in compiler, or would installing a compiler on the server be required to use Sass in this default theme?

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    1. I think you need to manually install node-sass and compile it by hand, but there are open PR for adding necessary tooling for this (it’s also mentioned upstream on the _s theme)

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  5. Eerie that a theme I’ve been working on looks too similar to this one; now have to make some changes. At least mine has a sidebar (plus an off canvas option). Good that it’s built for Gutenberg though; a decision I decided to make my themes GB ready for every theme release.

    But on that subject of no sidebar…not really a good idea and would be interested to hear why not. Perhaps an option to enable/disable one. Aside from that, the Twenty Nineteen theme appears to be for personal bloggers.

    Odd we won’t see a Twenty Eighteen theme, but the year is almost gone now, so I guess it makes sense to put out a Twenty Nineteen.

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    1. Eerie that a theme I’ve been working on looks too similar to this one

      In a genuine “what a coincidence way” or a “I’m suspicious” way?

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      1. In a “what a coincidence way”. Whenever I build themes, I do it locally. Hard not to have similar designs anyway as the shear number of themes on the net is mindblowing. It’s like domain names; think of one, damn, it’s taken, think of another, damn, it’s taken….

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  6. As a non-professional theme developer, I really appreciate the fact, that 2019 is based on _s. It makes the learning and adapting much easier.

    I also hope that this action will end the lethargic phase of Undercores development.

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  7. Just testing the new theme in WP 5 beta1.
    No header image, and if bg image is used there’s no way to change title colour, besides being forced to add bg color or change text color to each block to make content readable if bg image is used.
    I like minimalist themes, especially in the perspective of creating pages and posts layouts with the new Gutenberg editor, but IMHO theme customization is a must, at least about font and colour choices, in this case.

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