A Rant about the WordPress Default Kubrick Theme

It looks crisp and clean, it works well as a blog layout and appears to faultlessly embody WordPress.

It even allows you to easily change header background and text colours, within the Admin… Presentation… section. 

If all you want to do is use it, the Default Kubrick theme which comes with WordPress is ideal.

But what if you want to tailor it a little?  You might be familiar with CSS and want to change the look.  You might even know a little code and feel confident about making a few changes to the templates.  Well, BEWARE!

One of the first things you might want to do, to give this your own look, is to change that header.  The WordPress documentation gives you confidence to do this, there’s a handy page called Designing Headers, which gives some great, detailed instructions on how to do this.  There’s just one problem – for the Default Kubrick theme, it just doesn’t work!

Designing Headers tells us

“The styles for the header image for the Default or Kubrick WordPress Theme, and any Theme based upon that Theme, are more complicated to change than those for the Classic Theme. The styles are found within the styles in the header.php “head” section, as well as in the styles.css.

“To change the image file, replace the “kubrickheader.jpg” with the name of the new graphic image you have uploaded to your site to replace it. If it is in a different directory, change that by replacing the bloginfo() tag with the specific address of the graphic’s location.

“If you are using an image that is the same size, then simply replace the image. If it is a different size, fill in the height and width of the image in the next section called #headerimg. “

Just one problem – the Default Kubrick theme does something ELSE – it creates another style tag “on the fly” using the header-img.php script and inserts this into your page before it is displayed – this has the effect of replacing the background of the #headerimg tag with an image created by a set of colours entered in WordPress admin (or the default colours) and overwrites any image you may store in kubrickheader.jpg!!!

Maybe there is some more documentation which describes this unusual feature but I’ve not come upon it yet.  And that is what’s lacking.  Maybe this feature is familiar to all those who have been with WordPress since the beginning and dedicatedly follow all its forums.  But that doesn’t help those of us who have lately discovered WordPress and are exploring and learning, trying to see how easily it can be tailored to what we want.  Certainly I’m not the only person who is frustrated by this – see here.

So, here’s how to overcome this problem and display the header image you want within the Default Kubrick Theme:

This was my original solution:

Edit the functions.php file – choose Appearance.. Editor.. and then click on the Theme Functions (functions.php) file in the list on the right.

Scroll down until you see this line:-

add_action('wp_head', 'kubrick_head');

then comment it out by adding two slashes as below:-

//add_action('wp_head', 'kubrick_head');

Save your changes by clicking on Update File and you’re done. This will stop the creation of the extra style tag which overrides your new image.

However,  it seems that there is a simpler way. 

Go into “Presentation” -> “Header Image and Color” in the control panel.

Then click on the “Advanced” button.
Then click on the “Select Default colors” button.

This seems to get rid of the extra style tag within the header and allows your chosen image to display.  So it seems that this problem only occurs for people who have been fiddling with the colour choices…. and then can’t work out how to get back to the original colour settings, which don’t implement an overriding style tag.

Once the overriding colour choice style tag has gone, you can edit style.css as described in Designing Headers and your new chosen header image should now appear!

 I’ve now changed my theme but here is a website which uses the Default theme, with the header image changed.