I am working on a Drupal project and teaching myself the system as I go along. I am trying to find a minimalist theme to use as a base for developing this site. I don't want a framework, because I don't have time to learn that too. I really just want a minimalist theme that looks good out of the box, but that can be easily modified in basic ways.

In my experience so far, most Drupal themes are either overly designed, or completely lacking in any formatting whatsoever. In the WordPress world, there is (for example) something like Thesis, which looks good out of the box but also has lots of potential for modification. Another example would be WooThemes' Canvas. Is there anything similar in the Drupal world?

7 Answers 7


As you are looking for a Drupal base theme, I suggest you to take a look at Nucleus base theme from themebrain.com. Also on themebrain.com there are themes that match your requirement: TB Sirate or TB Simply (look good and can be easily modified in basic ways).


Zen is all right but after using it a while I ran into problems since it's not built on the grid system. I found Omega pretty amazing as a grid-based starter theme for Drupal 7 with a responsive option. The steep learning curve was worth it, and it provides great tools and help.

  • Thanks - I have seen Omega and it looks cool. But I'm on a tight timeline, and I have to do all the development and theming myself. I don't have time for two learning curves (Drupal and a theme framework). May 21, 2012 at 18:50
  • 1
    Omega + Omega Tools does a lot of things for you. Whether or not it would take longer to learn than Zen depends more on your background approach and what you're trying to accomplish than on anything inherent to the frameworks. Good luck.
    – beth
    May 21, 2012 at 18:52
  • For our new projects we use Omega... it's emphasis is on Responsive theme and so far we haven't hit any major snags with interoperability with custom modules May 21, 2012 at 21:06

Personally, I find Corolla a very good theme to start with, and it is built on top of AdaptiveTheme,- a really good framework for creating your own subthemes.


The Zen theme is a pretty good starting point for designing your own theme. Unfortunately I can't compare it to Thesis or WooThemes because I'm unfamiliar with wordpress. Here is a link: http://drupal.org/project/zen


If you are interested in all the modern buzzwords (html5, responsive ...) :) then pony might be of interest to you. Its not on drupal org yet, but is rather lightweight, has some design and accomodates some of the new ideas.


I would also recommend Zen, but if you want a theme with lots of features, then I would also look at Sasson. It contains a CSS SASS compiler built in, responsive support, and support for HTML. It's also very quick to get going with, and you don't need to use any of the extra features.


You have hit on a philosophical difference between Wordpress and Drupal. In Wordpress "Theme" means look-and-feel. In Drupal Theming is much more structural, and you have to add the look-and-feel using css and your own images.

I moved from Wordpress to Drupal 6 or 7 years ago, and found that I liked the Zen theme. I fought with it a little bit to make it look like a wordpress theme with header images, and drop-shadows, but that was mostly CSS and a little bit of page-tpl.php

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