One Theme, Two Ways: Customizing Twenty Fourteen


In the two months since its release, Twenty Fourteen has already made quite a splash, becoming the theme of choice for almost 200,000 sites. If you’re a new blogger (hello, Zero to Hero participants!), it likely looks familiar. It’s our default theme for 2014, so it was the one that greeted you when you first landed on your homepage.

Twenty Fourteen has a flashy magazine layout that enables you to showcase content in numerous visually striking ways. With plenty of free customization options right of the box, including new color palettes, this is a theme that can give any site a major design boost.

If you’re looking for ideas on how to customize Twenty Fourteen to make your content shine, look no further than the two sites featured here today: they have each taken the theme in a strikingly different direction.

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The Daily Slice

What do you know — a magazine theme used by an actual magazine! The Daily Slice, a collaborative online music zine, makes the most out of Twenty Fourteen‘s versatile layout, creating a cool look that’s at once vibrant and streamlined.

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With a black-and-white custom header image that works perfectly with the theme’s default color scheme, the site channels an underground vibe from the get-go. The site’s main menu blends seamlessly into the header for easy navigation.

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The site then capitalizes on Twenty Fourteen‘s featured content area, highlighting three recent posts, all with generously-sized featured images (the theme lets you select up to six posts to showcase).

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Since this is a group effort, the magazine’s authors are all given a moment in the spotlight. Sidebar links direct visitors to each writer’s author page, and a sleek Author Grid Widget contains red-white-and-black illustrations of the writing staff.

Twenty Fourteen also comes with a contributors page template, a unique way to give credit to everyone involved in a group blog, and The Daily Slice features a particularly creative one.

One of the most notable visual elements of this theme is the ability to use splashy featured images on the homepage as well as on single-post pages. Whether your visitors arrive at your site through a search engine, a shared link, or the Reader, they’re in for a visual treat.

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A blog dedicated to the retro beauty of fountain pens, presents a bright, clean take on Twenty Fourteen. The blogger’s intentions are unmistakable no matter where you look on the page: this is a place to enjoy the colors and shapes of lovingly-crafted objects.

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An elegant custom header image — complete with a sleek logo — announces the site’s theme. Then, Ed, the pen aficionado behind the site, uses Twenty Fourteen‘s featured content slider to give his photos maximum visibility.

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Other small touches make the site both visually coherent and smooth to navigate. An Instagram Widget in the right sidebar adds a dash of color and presents more stationary-related eye candy.

Across the page, on the right sidebar, enticing Text Widgets invite readers to follow Ed on other social networks and encourage them to submit content to the site — a smart way to foster interaction.

Even the primary menu serves several purposes. In the midst of the site’s colorful images, its neutral shade acts as a soothing visual element. It lets users find the content they look for, but also includes links to Ed’s Pens for Sale page as well as to his blogroll page — a great space saver, freeing up valuable real estate in the sidebar.

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The beautiful design of stays intact no matter what device you’re using. As a fully responsive theme, Twenty Fourteen guarantees your visitors see your site the way you intended it — whether it’s from a computer, a tablet, or a smartphone. viewed on an iPad viewed on an iPad

New color palettes

In case you’ve considered Twenty Fourteen but prefer a brighter color scheme than the sleek black that comes as its default background color, we have good news.

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We’re happy to announce that the theme now arrives with four free featured color palettes. Just go to the Colors panel in your Customizer (in your dashboard, head to Appearance ? Customize) and pick the one that suits your mood.

Are you curious to see more customizations of Twenty Fourteen? Here are a few more creative takes:

  • Honey & Thyme, a food blog with a clean, modern look.
  • Coyopoa :: lightning in the blood, a writer’s stark, black-and-white homepage.
  • A Pretty Penny, a soft-hued design and DIY blog.

For more customization tips and previous installments of our Customizing series, click here.

Filed under: Customization, Design, Themes

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