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WordPress 6.1 Introduces New Default Theme and Fluid Typography, Expands Design Tools and Template Options

WordPress 6.1 “Misha” was released today, named for Soviet-Norwegian jazz pianist Mikhail “Misha” Alperin, who was born in Ukraine in 1956. A founding member of the first Moldavian jazz quartet, and later the Moscow Art Trio, Alperin became known for his distinct and bewitching blend of jazz and folk music.

This release is the culmination of a months-long effort to improve the design tooling consistency of WordPress’ core blocks. That means blocks that were missing things like typography, color, and border support have been updated wherever possible to match the support included in other blocks. Design tools and their controls are also now more consistently presented, so users can intuitively know what to expect when customizing their blocks.

image credit: WordPress 6.1 About page

WordPress 6.1 expands the templates options available for site editing. Theme authors and users can now create page-specific templates, custom post type and post-specific templates, user-selectable custom templates for all post types, and taxonomy-specific templates for categories or tags.

With all the new block design and template editing capabilities, WordPress 6.1 has added more sophisticated content-locking capabilities. Block-locking can now be applied to all inner blocks in one click. This applies to containing blocks like Group, Cover, and Column blocks.

image credit: WordPress 6.1 About Page

Menu management has also gotten a big update in 6.1, with menu controls relocated to their own place in the block settings. The navigation block now offers new fallback options in case the block isn’t pre-populated with inner blocks. If the navigation menu is empty, the fallback behavior is to display a list of available pages using the Page List block. If there are multiple block menus, the fallback is to display the most recently created block menu. This ensures that users aren’t stuck and can more easily understand where their menus will show up.

New Twenty Twenty-Three Default Theme with 10 Style Variations

One of the most anticipated parts of this release is the new Twenty Twenty-Three (TT3) default theme. This is a new kind of default theme that bundles a curated set of style variations, instead of creating a new theme from scratch. It uses a stripped-back version of Twenty Twenty-Two as the base for a theme that features 10 community-contributed style variations.

image credit: WordPress 6.1 About page

The theme is accessibility-ready and puts the spotlight on all of the design tools available in the latest release. It is basically a blank slate for further customization, with both rich and minimalist color palettes and multiple typography options. It will be exciting to see what the world of WordPress users builds with the new theme.

Fluid typography makes its debut in 6.1. This feature is for theme authors but benefits users and site visitors alike. It allows authors to define font sizes that will smoothly scale between smaller and larger viewports, adapting in a fluid way to varying widths.

The best part of the new fluid typography feature is that it can easily be turned on by setting typography.fluid to be true in theme.json and adding fluid to each of the settings.typography.fontSizes with min and max values. If you want to see an example of fluid typography in action, look no further than the new Twenty Twenty-Three theme.

Other notable new features and updates in 6.1 include the following:

  • List and Quote blocks now support inner blocks
  • Improved layout and visualization of document settings
  • Support for starter patterns for any post type
  • Filter Themes Directory for block themes in the admin
  • Improved block placeholders that show customization options
  • New system for persisting user preferences across browsers and devices
  • Block-based Template Parts now available in Classic Themes
  • Query Loop block extended to support custom queries
  • Set preset values for padding, margin and block gap

WordPress 6.1 includes more than 60 accessibility improvements and 25 tickets dedicated to performance. This release is the result of the tireless efforts of more than 800 contributors from 60+ countries. For a quick visual tour, check out the official WordPress 6.1 promo video: