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shapeSpace WordPress Theme

[ shapeSpace WordPress Theme ] shapeSpace is the starter template that I use for creating my own WordPress themes and WordPresspowered sites. Over the years, the shapeSpace theme has evolved with WordPress, striking what I find to be a good balance between utility, flexibility, and performance. shapeSpace is basically a starter theme that combines a robust set of theme functions with a lightweight set of template files. It’s a “premium” starter template that’s clean, current, and 100% free and open source (via GPL License).

Update! shapeSpace has a new home at shapeSpace.io. This article continues to describe the general idea and purpose of the theme, but much has changed since it was written. To check out the latest and greatest: shapeSpace.io

Starter theme

shapeSpace is designed to be used as a starting point for building your own themes and projects with WordPress. It’s a solid yet bare-bones foundation with plenty of included functions and an optimal amount of modular patterns and template code.

For example, instead of building a new theme from scratch, I grab a copy of shapeSpace, enable some functions to configure the basics, and I’m ready to dive into CSS and JavaScript and focus on front-end design. And the theme template contains minimal, consistent code, so it’s lightweight and flexible with plenty of room to work.

New! Lite version of shapeSpace now available :)

Why bother with another WordPress theme?

Sure there’s an endless supply of awesome WordPress themes, so why bother with another “freebie” starter theme? Easy. As a 15-year WordPress veteran who knows how to rock with WordPress, I use this theme for my own projects and want to share and give back to the WordPress community. Plus, preparing the theme for public use according to WordPress’ strict standards improves the theme’s overall quality. That in and of itself makes this a useful exercise. So it’s a “win-win” and time well spent, IMO.

What it is, what it isn’t

First let me explain what shapeSpace is not. This theme is not one of those everything-and-the-kitchen-sink jobs. It does not sauce everything up in bells, whistles, glitter and glam, nor does it try to pack in every trick and gimmick under the sun. It’s a free theme, so there is no need to fancy it all up with a million features, levitating keyboard, voice-operated Ajax power settings, or whatever all the “premium” themes are pushing these days.

Instead, shapeSpace is a simplified WordPress starter theme designed to save time by giving developers a clean starting point for their own themes and projects. It’s a theme template that serves as a solid foundation for jumpstarting any type of theme, from simple to advanced or anything in between.

What’s inside..

shapeSpace focuses on robust functionality, clean template files, and solid performance. It includes a sparsely decorated style.css file that applies a few basic styles to help visualize the design. The theme’s default CSS gives you a clean, minimally styled frontend, but the default stuff is meant to be replaced with your own project-specific CSS wizardry.

Likewise with the the theme’s JavaScript, instead of assuming that you need every possible script in the known universe, shapeSpace provides some essential functionality and leaves the rest up to you. So you can fill it to the rim with your own awesome scripts, or keep it simple and roll with the basics.

For the theme template, shapeSpace provides a minimal set of consistent, modular template files. So rather than including every possible template, shapeSpace focuses on the most commonly used theme files, and fills each one with modular, reusable template code. So whipping up any required templates is as easy as copy, paste, done.

Lastly, shapeSpace provides a well-furnished functions.php file that’s packed with lots of awesome functionality. Essential functions are enabled by default, while the majority of other functions are available as needed. So implementing new theme functionality is as easy as calling a function directly via the theme template or via action/filter hook in the theme’s functions.php file.


Here are some screenshots of shapeSpace (note these images are from an older version of the theme, scheduled to be updated soon):

[ shapeSpace Design : Default Blog Layout ]
shapeSpace includes just a splash of CSS to help visualize the design
[ shapeSpace Design : Default Wide Layout ]
shapeSpace includes a “wide” front-page template with full-size backgrounds
[ shapeSpace Code: Clean and Organized ]
shapeSpace is current with latest WordPress and developed with the WP API


Here are some of shapeSpace’s best features:

  • Built with the WP API
  • Valid HTML5, CSS3, jQuery
  • Clean, consistent, modular code
  • Responsive default layout
  • Compliant with WordPress Standards
  • Passes all theme-check tests
  • Includes a growing library of custom functions
  • Enabled functions for the most commonly used features
  • Lightweight, flexible, and extensible
  • Blazing fast performance
  • Universal browser support
  • Actively developed and kept current with latest WordPress
  • 100% FREE and open-source via GPL License

Custom theme functions

A big part of what makes the shapeSpace theme so useful is its robust library of custom functions, which include:

  • Post Thumbnails
  • Custom Post Formats
  • Custom Menus
  • Theme Customizer
  • Custom Headers
  • Custom Backgrounds
  • Header Widgets
  • Sidebar Widgets
  • Footer Widgets
  • Custom Excerpts
  • Custom Formatting
  • Built-in Basic WP SEO (updated!)
  • Options to clean up the WP <head>
  • Custom image sizes
  • Linked thumbnails
  • Custom include jQuery
  • Custom fonts (via Google Fonts)
  • Custom CSS/JS files
  • Custom User Profiles
  • Threaded Comments
  • Custom comments display
  • Custom comments form

..plus many more excellent features and functions to help jumpstart and streamline WordPress theme development. Need a feature that’s not on the list? Check out the next section to make a suggestion..


Visit the contact form to share ideas, ask questions, or report bugs.


About the Author
Jeff Starr = Designer. Developer. Producer. Writer. Editor. Etc.
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13 responses to “shapeSpace WordPress Theme”

  1. Robert Lilly 2013/09/08 11:43 am

    What advantages does shapeSpace offer over using _s (underscores) as a starter theme?

    • No idea, never used _s, but if that’s your thing then awesome keep rocking it.

      • Robert Lilly 2013/09/09 3:00 pm

        Thanks for the reply. I don’t know if _s is my thing yet or not. I’m trying to get a feel for what different starter themes have to offer. I know I don’t want to go with a theme framework and I also need more than a parent/child theme setup. So starter themes like _s and shapeSpace are on my radar. I’ll play with shapeSpace alongside _s and see which suits my project best. Thanks!

  2. john adams 2013/09/14 1:36 am

    I like text themes. The content shouldn’t be overruned by theme. But it’s nice also. There is a thin line.

  3. Hi,

    Thanks for theme and tutorial!!

    However, now I have these images that come with every post in weird places. Can you please tell how to remove them? The images I want to get rid of (big “S” signs) are located in this folder:



    • Jeff Starr 2013/10/13 6:27 pm

      Sure, go to Appearance > Theme Options and then disable the first setting for “Post Thumbnails”.

      • Great, thanks a lot! Went too much into the code and forgot all theme options… :/

  4. Jim S. Smith 2013/10/18 1:13 pm


    I guess I am going to need to play with this one. Now, you got me curious.

    I am one of those who enjoys doing things by drastically modifying an existing project, theme, or whatever. I am also big into tastefully-done “eye-candy” (IE: good, 3d background-layering and other effects). Was never too much into the “child-themes” methods either, because they just further add to the bloated scripting and appearances. So, perhaps this theme may be a worthy adventure to try!

    – Jim S.

  5. Hi Jeff
    I get two errors:
    functions.php line 378

    1. “Notice: Undefined variable: post in ……/themes/shapeSpace/functions.php on line 378”


    2. “Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in …../shapeSpace/functions.php on line 378”

    • Jeff Starr 2013/11/05 1:51 pm

      Awesome, thanks for reporting these notices.. they are on the list and will be fixed for the next update.

  6. thanks Jeff and I love the “construction” of this theme, I love the idea “behind”. :-)

  7. Hi,

    Is Shapespace theme better than Genesis themes? I recently bought the theme ( about two months ago), and thinking of getting a new elegant theme.

    Thanks for the details.

    • Good question but I’ve never used the Genesis stuff, so really can’t say. There are a lot of great template/starter themes out there, I recommend experimenting with a few and see which one seems like a good fit. Or if there some specific features or functionality you have questions about, I should be able to respond with something useful ;)

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Perishable Press is operated by Jeff Starr, a professional web developer and book author with two decades of experience. Here you will find posts about web development, WordPress, security, and more »
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