19 Base Themes for Drupal


Drupal theming can be much faster and easier when you use base (starter, parent) theme as a foundation. A base theme usually has nearly no css styling, provides theme regions, advanced features, and its purpose is to enable you to create new themes fast, focusing on changing design to code.

Base Theme Classics

Zen is the ultimate starting theme for Drupal. If you are building your own standards-compliant theme, you will find it much easier to start with Zen than to start with Garland or Bluemarine. This theme has fantastic online documentation and tons of code comments for both the PHP (template.php) and HTML (page.tpl.php, node.tpl.php).

Framework is a blank canvas for theme developers. Use Framework as a user friendly starting point to help facilitate your theme development.

Genesis is an standards compliant, accessible and semantically rich starter theme for Drupal 6. Genesis is easy to theme yet extremely flexible, giving you endless theming possibilities. Genesis makes building a standards compliant accessible theme easier than starting from scratch.

Originally a stripped down version of the ZEN theme, basic has now become its own concept of a theme starter. Basic boasts a clean HTML structure with extensible CSS classes and ID's for unlimited theming possibilities as well as a top-down load order for improved SEO.

The idea behind this theme was to make a clean, versatile theme that has just enough styling to be usable right out of the box. Clean theme is analogous to using a reset.css file to start a project, but in the form of a Drupal theme. Clean theme provides a solid foundation on which you will be able to create a bespoke theme within the shortest possible time.

Blueprint is a starter Drupal theme meant to make development of custom themes faster.

Adaptivetheme is a powerful starter theme with many layout and configuration options built into the theme and easily modified via theme settings and use of the Skinr module.

Fusion is a powerful base theme, with layout and style configuration options built in that you can control through Drupal's UI. It's based on a simplified 960px or fluid 16-column grid. It's designed to be used with the Skinr module, with numerous block styles included.

BeginningBeginning 2
The beginning theme has to be considered as another blank canvas for theme developers. Use beginning as a starting point to help facilitate your theme development. Simply add background images and you're done !

Alldrupalthemes.com Basetheme
ADT Basetheme v2 is the basetheme for all new drupal themes on alldrupalthemes.com and the themes produced by the Design to Drupal service.

Blue Trip
The BlueTrip theme for Drupal is the adaptation of the CSS framework BlueTrip for the Drupal system.

Grid Based Base Themes

NineSixty (960 Grid System)
NineSixty is a base theme with all the files provided by the 960 Grid System. From the sketch sheets to all the styles from the framework are included. There are a few modifications so it better fits into Drupal.

Zen nineSixty (960 Grid system)
This is the NineSixty theme (http://drupal.org/project/ninesixty) developed as a Zen sub theme for use with Zen theme (http://drupal.org/project/zen) for Drupal 6.

Fluid Grid System
If you already tried Blueprint or 960, two very popular grid system, you probably noticed that most of the grid system only offer a fixed, centered width of 960 or 950 pixels to create your designs. Fluid Grid provides a grid system that works with any page width, even fluid layouts! With Fluid Grid, you can keep working within a grid system, but the grid is now completely configurable.

New themes on the block

The Omega Theme is a powerful and free Drupal theme based on the 960gs. It harneses the power and features of many popular themes to provied an excellent base theme, and sub-theming system to help you quickly prototype and theme your site.

Starkish is Zen's younger, leaner cousin. It saves the helpful classes and ID's of Zen, but rips out all the CSS and extra markup.

Five is a Drupal base theme written using HTML 5 and uses the 960 CSS framework.

The Stark theme is provided for demonstration purposes; it uses Drupal’s default HTML markup and CSS styles. It can be used as a troubleshooting tool to determine whether module-related CSS and JavaScript are interfering with a more complex theme, and can be used by designers interested in studying Drupal’s default markup without the interference of changes commonly made by more complex themes.

The mothership theme is the über "clean up this html that drupal provides" theme - so if you wanna make any sense of this them use it as a parent theme! The basic idea is to use this theme before other "theme systemes" (zen, basic, studio, 960). The only thing this theme does is to clean up and remove html & classes that I dont think is necessary, and by that creating a cleaner html code.


Starter Themes - A round up of themes that identify themselves as starter themes for Drupal.

About the author

Jozef Toth's picture

CEO of Mogdesign.eu - Drupal design and development firm. Designer, blogger, christian, husband, father...



68 comments so far

Bevan's picture

Great post! Have you considered contributing this to the Drupal.org handbook?

ArtRout's picture

Useful post. May be move Blueprint theme to Grid Based Base Themes?

Matt's picture

The studio base theme is complex, yet beautiful. With the primary purpose of making themes simpler, more organized, more structured, and easier to alter, Studio has several advancements, several of which have made their way into D7. By handling all attributes through preprocess, studio allows for modules and themes to alter attributes on virtually every element (think RDFa). Studio also separates preprocess functions into individual files, making the template.php file much easier to comprehend. There are also several other enhancements such as conditional stylesheet support from the .info, lots of classes (similar to Zen), and cleaner markup throughout. Studio is an all around steller base theme.

Jozef Toth's picture

@Matt - thanks for the tip, studio theme looks neat, I will add it later to the list

@ArtRout - yes, will move that...

peach - all drupal themes's picture

Great list. Nice that you included mine but I have to admit right now my basetheme is a bit of a mess, it's in between versions and its going to be updated with new features and file architecture soon, which will result in a much more user and developer friendly basetheme

Drupal Theme Garden's picture

Really nice and useful overview.

beni's picture

Great list, love your post, i will be back to read some more...

clippingimages's picture

Awesome post :) . Thanks for sharing this nice post.

Jon's picture

What about pics?
I am too lazy to click on each one, mate!!!

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Thanks for this great post - I will be sure to check out your blog more often.

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dragos_ionut2004's picture

Great themes1 I'm really stunned and with some Drupal implementations I have to make at my own site, this will look great. Really thanks for these themes, most of them are just great.

Clipping Path India's picture

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Rokaiya Yeasmin Munni's picture

Very helpful resources! Thx

suna dumankaya's picture

Really nice and useful overview..

Myka's picture

Great List, and great themes chosen! Iwould definetly bookmark this site! thanks!

Renjith's picture

Thanks for sharing this information :)

Mark's picture

I prefer Adaptivetheme, http://drupal.org/project/adaptivetheme, because it is focussed on accessibility and standards. Adaptivetheme for Drupal 7 is now HTML5 ! AT has many cool subthemes developed for it, one of them is the Mobile theme.

I find it easy to develop from “scratch” with Adaptivetheme. The biggest strength of AT, in my opinion, is that it is easy to port your existing HTML / CSS to AT. If you have already a site, it is easy to map your design, HTML and CSS to AT, and port it with little change.

Mojah's picture

I'd like to add OpenG to Josef's list. OpenG ( http://drupal.org/project/openg ) is a starter Drupal theme that uses the grid system. We recently re-worked the theme and released a 3x version. The theme was developed with designers in mind and allows for a clear work-flow when moving a design from graphics to Drupal theme layer code.

clipping path service's picture

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Clipping Path Outsource's picture

Great themes chosen.thank for sharing.

Clipping Path Outsource's picture

I find it easy to develop from “scratch” with Adaptivetheme. The biggest strength of AT, in my opinion, is that it is easy to port your existing HTML / CSS to AT. If you have already a site, it is easy to map your design, HTML and CSS to AT, and port it with little change. Nice post.

Clipping Path Outsource's picture

Informative post. Really It's very helpful. Manny thanks for post.

Clipping Path Outsource's picture

I love this,Really thanks for these themes.

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Clipping Path's picture

Very nice I am very impressed about this site information.

clipping path's picture

I am totally agree with you. I also think Starkish is one of the best.

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This information is very interesting, I really enjoyed, I would like get more information about this, because is very beautiful, thanks for sharing!

ayakkabi's picture

for these themes.

Safi Sarkar's picture

I like your drupal themes. It's rely beautiful.

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