Posted in Freebies, WordPress by
Anthony Hortin

It finally happened!! After what felt like months of waiting, my WordPress theme that I submitted to the official WordPress Themes Directory finally got approved. Yay! It’s called Quark and it’s a simple and elegant starter theme built on HTML5 & CSS3.

Originally submitted back in February, it took just over 2 weeks before an initial review was made, at which time it wasn’t approved. 🙁 Unfortunately, I was using some fonts that weren’t 100% GPL Compatible and the grid system I was using was licensed under Creative Commons, which I found out also isn’t GPL Compatible. All themes in the Themes Directory are required to be 100% GPL-licensed, or use a ​GPL-compatible license.

After making the necessary adjustments, I resubmitted the theme a week later. It then took another 6 weeks for the theme to be given another review. After making a few more changes as suggested by the theme reviewer, it was finally given approval in early May. Another week later, it was made live. The whole process took almost 3 months from the initial submission to seeing it live on It was a long process but also an interesting one, being my first theme submission. It’s been live now, in the WordPress Themes Directory for a little over 4 weeks and has racked up just over 10,000 downloads already.

The theme itself was something that I’d been working on for a few months, in between client work, WordPress meetups, helping organise WordCamp Melbourne and making updates to Easy WP Guide! Quark isn’t a convoluted or confusing framework that’s hard to learn or even harder to modify. It’s a simple and elegant starter theme built on HTML5 & CSS3. It’s based on the Underscores (_s) and TwentyTwelve themes, so not only is it flexible, it’s extremely easy to customise. You don’t need to make a child theme for it (unless you really want to), just dig in to the code & use it to give yourself a kickstart in creating your next awesome theme for yourself or a client. It’s what I’ve been using lately as a starting point for all my theme development.

Its base is a responsive, 12 column grid. It uses Normalize to make sure that browsers render all elements more consistently and Mordernizr for detecting HTML5 and CSS3 browser capabilities along with some default stylings from HTML5 Boilerplate.

It incorporates the awesome Options Framework by Devin Price to make it super easy to add custom Theme Options as well as including over 300 gorgeous, retina friendly icons from the Font Awesome icon font by Dave Gandy.

Quark includes a set of your most common theme templates, including templates for Full-Width pages, Left Sidebar, Right Sidebar (default), Front-Page, Tag, Categories, Authors, Search, Posts Archive and 404. It also supports all the standard WordPress Post Formats, straight out of the box, including Aside, Gallery, Link, Image, Quote, Status, Video, Audio, Chat and of course, your standard post.

If you want to find out some of the other great features of Quark, head on over to the themes homepage, or go check out the theme demo. Better yet, go download Quark and give it a test run yourself and let me know what you think! 😉

16 responses on “Quark WordPress Starter Theme

  1. Rob

    Wow – thank you so much!

    I’ve messed about with all kinds of frameworks and starter themes, and none of them have ever quite fit the bill (or more accuately, my bill). I was resigned to putting in a hefty amount of work rejigging _s but then stumbled across Quark, and you’ve done the work for me 🙂

    I’m really looking forward to digging in and playing with this next week, I’ve actually got butterflies!

    Thank you so much for Quark, it’s the most perfect starter I’ve ever come across 🙂

    1. Anthony Hortin Post author

      Thanks Rob, I appreciate the kind words. That was pretty much the reason why I built it as well. There’s lots of great starter themes and frameworks out there that have some great features but I never found one that was just exactly what I wanted. I hope it works out for you, when you get around to having a look at it 🙂

  2. Connor McBrine-Ellis

    Just wanted to say thanks for the theme, it is simply awesome.

    It feels almost like I’m seriously cheating when using it because it’s so easy to modify! Only thing I found slightly frustrating at first was changing fonts, because you had those options in functions.php.

    Thanks once again – it suits me perfectly!

  3. kasey

    for whatever reason the social media icons are not showing up — in their place are small black boxes…. any ideas how to fix this? I haven’t done anything with the coding — simply added links for a couple social media profiles in the section that asks for them.

  4. Carl T.

    I, too, have nothing but praise for the Quark theme. After trying several others, this one fits my needs best… One question though, and please know that I’m new at the child-theme construction…

    As elsewhere advised, I have made a child-theme folder in my themes folder, naming it ‘quark-child.’ As you just updated Quark, I thought that would be a good idea. I’ve put a ‘style.css’ file into it, referring as the last line: “@import url(“../quark/style.css”);”

    But as I made many changes to your cool custom CSS (Edit CSS) , I shot myself in the foot by not copying that file before updating. In the future, how should I write the “@import…” line for the style.css in the child folder? Or should I be making the child folder in a different way?

    I got things back in order, sort of, but I still need to modify the color of my menu font. It’s all working, but I think I need to start my child theme folder all over again, as things aren’t clean.

  5. Frank

    Hi Anthony
    I don’t know much about what you super-brains do but I do know that I like your Quark theme. Would you please be so kind as to check out my recent wordpress forum query as I can’t get the internal links to work on mobile devices. Keep up the excellent work. Cheers, Frank (in Perth).

  6. Tiyo Kamtiyono

    I haven’t looking at the code yet, but feels that my blog on is loading faster that before. I can’t even believe it at first because, requested the hosting provider to move my blog to another server before.

    This themes is really cool, just need a couple tweak to be the best theme 😀

    Thanks Anthony.