Speed Up Theme Development With Blank Frameworks

After you’ve been making Wordpress themes for a while, you come to the realization that there are certain things you have to do every time you start a new theme. Whether it’s making all the files yourself, or stripping down a theme you’re about to edit, there are non-fun things you have to do before you can design and code a theme to your liking.

Blank Wordpress frameworks are here to help you skip that part. Blank frameworks are here to speed up your Wordpress theme development and get you right to the fun part designing and adding functionality you’re proud of. Here are some of the bigger, most used, and most useful frameworks:

Note: These frameworks are most useful when you already have an understanding of Wordpress themes, so if you’re just starting out check out Want to Create Wordpress Themes? to help get you started.


Starkers by Elliot Jay Stocks

Starkers by Elliot Jay Stocks

Starkers by Elliot Jay Stocks is arguably the best one of these blank frameworks. He’s taken a lot of time and a lot of care ensuring a compliant and efficient launch pad for your theme development. Valid up to v8.5, it’s definitely worth a look.


All non-semantic, presentational class names removed
All non-semantic, presentational HTML elements removed
All unnecessary elements have been removed


Whiteboard Theme Framework

Whiteboard Theme Framework

Whiteboard is another framework filled with lots of files and templates to start out with, but no real design to strip down.


15 files included
Categories Page Template
Archives Page Template
Pagination Posts
Socialization Links
A list of included divs

WP Candy Starter Theme

The Starter Theme Project by WPCandy

The Starter Theme Project by WPCandy

The WP Candy Starter Theme Project is another great framework, created by WP Candy. Tired of doing the same things over and over every time a new theme was being made, the Starter Theme was born.


Blank style.css with theme name, author, URL, etc. tags at the top
Content-ready 404, archive, search, index, single post, and page files
Full, working comments.php file
Complete header.php set up with links to RSS, a stylesheet, and JS file;
Default search form template
Blank screenshot.png file and images folder

More Blank Frameworks:

Here are some more blank frameworks. Some of them have a little bit more design in them, so watch out if you want a completely naked theme.

The Sandbox
WP Framework
Carrington Jam

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

aravind November 21, 2009 at 9:42 am

Nice post.
Although, my favourite blank theme is this one -> http://annalinnea.net/wordpress/blank-wordpress...
Really works great for me.


Douglas Bonneville November 29, 2009 at 6:46 pm

Hi Matt: The Hybrid theme framework includes a Skeleton theme, which is all the goodies from Hybrid but zero CSS applied. When you open up the CSS, everything that can be used is already pre-defined as an empty class. The classes are all nested too, which makes navigating them (to find them) so much easier because there is that visual aspect to help. With Firebug for Firefox running, locating and styling the CSS is so easy. My site (http://www.bonfx.com) is running a custom theme built from Skeleton, which in turns runs on the Hybrid framework, and was very easy to create from my Fireworks comp knowing that there was a defined slot to put everything…I recommend taking a look:


I like their model too. The framework and templates are free, but if you want support, you pay a one-time fee and the development team and community answers all your questions. Very cool!


matthewlyle December 13, 2009 at 9:05 am

I'm a big fan of the Hybrid framework, but I was unaware of the Skeleton theme. Thanks for the info.


PVC stolarija Elatio January 7, 2010 at 8:44 am

Great post :-) till now I knew only for two of them :-)


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