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As I continue to hack away at the design of Made Mistakes and improve on things, I try to release simplified Jekyll starters and themes after each major site revision.

The goal is to make things easier to build a Jekyll site using mine as a starter. Rather than having to sift through my main repository and strip out the cruft before making it your own.

Below are all of the Jekyll starters I’ve open sourced thus far. Each “theme” contains all of the _layouts, _includes, Sass/CSS, JavaScript, and other sample files needed to build a site or blog. There are a lot of similarities between how they work and the file organization — which should make switching and updating between them easier.


The basic setup for each of my theme’s is roughly the same:

  1. Install theme gem or fork the theme repository you’d like to use.
  2. Install Bundler gem install bundler and run bundle install to install all dependencies (Jekyll, Jekyll-Sitemap, etc)
  3. Update _config.yml, data files (found in _data), and replace sample posts and pages with your own.

For more specifics, review each theme’s documentation by clicking on the Setup Guide buttons below.

Basically Basic Theme

Basically Basic Jekyll theme screenshot
Your new Jekyll default theme.

Basically Basic is a Jekyll theme meant as a substitute for the default — Minima. Conventions and features found there are fully supported by Basically Basic, with a few enhancements thrown in for good measure:

  • Clean responsive design with six customizable skins
  • Curriculum Vitæ/Resume layout powered by JSON data
  • About page layout
  • Disqus Comments and Google Analytics support
  • SEO best practices via Jekyll SEO Tag
Download Setup Guide Demo

Minimal Mistakes Theme

Minimal Mistakes Jekyll theme screenshot
A minimal design to let your content shine.

A flexible two-column Jekyll theme with a minimalistic aesthetic.

  • Compatible with GitHub Pages.
  • Available as a Ruby Gem theme.
  • Several layout options (single, archive, splash pages).
  • SEO optimized with support for Twitter Cards and Open Graph data.
  • Optional header images, sidebars, table of contents, galleries, related posts, breadcrumb links, and more.
  • Optional comments (Disqus, Facebook, Google+, Staticman, and more).
  • Optional analytics (Google Analytics and custom).
Download Setup Guide Demo


HPSTR Jekyll theme screenshot
A traditional blog approach with a modern style

A responsive Jekyll blog theme designed to give your site a modern and somewhat cliché feel.

  • Compatible with GitHub Pages.
  • Modern design with rounded rectangles and subtle gradients.
  • Animated main menu.
  • Built-in support for Sass and data files (requires Jekyll 2.x).
Download Setup Guide Demo

So Simple Theme

So Simple Jekyll theme screenshot
Large images and site logo if that's your thing

A simple and clean responsive Jekyll theme for words and large photographs.

  • Compatible with GitHub Pages.
  • Minimal design with subtle animations.
  • Simple search (searches by post title)
  • Built-in support for Sass and data files (requires Jekyll 2.x)
Download Setup Guide Demo

Skinny Bones Theme

Skinny Bones Jekyll theme screenshot
Includes a fun off canvas menu

A Jekyll starter based off of an older incarnation of Made Mistakes.

  • Compatible with GitHub Pages.
  • Built-in support for Sass and data files (requires Jekyll 2.x).
  • Off canvas menu.
  • Tile based archives.
  • Optional table of contents, share links, Disqus comments modules, and more.
Download Setup Guide Demo


These themes are free and open source software, distributed under the MIT License. Feel free to modify them to suit your needs.

Nghi Nguyen

Nghi Nguyen

Hi Michael. I’m upgrading my site which is based on Phlow’s Feeling Responsive; I figured the best way is to do that is to simply migrate my small site over to the code based on mademistakes. It’s an awesome site. There is though one thing I can’t figure out how to do which is to get a large header like this:

As an aside, though I started out looking for a way to upgrade my site’s Foundation code, I discover a whole new world of painting on the iPad. I now got a 53 pencil and Procreate. Thank you for sharing with the world your very own beautiful world. You’ve made us all so much richer.

Michael Rose

Michael Rose

Made Mistakes isn’t the same code base as my Minimal Mistakes theme. Some things are similar but not all. It also isn’t that documented since it’s my personal site.

I’d suggest using Minimal Mistakes since that is released and documented as a full fledged theme.

Nghi Nguyen

Nghi Nguyen

Yes, you’ve convinced me. It looks like it has everything I wanted, and more. Thank you so much.

Frédéric Letellier

Frédéric Letellier

Minimal Mistakes theme is very good stuff. Can I put a photo on excerpt of posts ? I try multiple things but i don’t find !

Michael Rose

Michael Rose

@Frédéric - with some hacking of the theme files you can add images to an archive listing. I would suggest adding something like {% if post.image.teaser %}<img src="{{ post.image.teaser }}" alt="">{% endif %} to _includes/archive-single.html where you’d like the image to appear.

With some additional CSS to style things how you want and adding the following YAML Front Matter to your posts you should be able to do what you want.

  teaser: path-to-your-post-image.jpg
Frédéric Letellier

Frédéric Letellier

@Michael Rose Thank you, I have implement the first solution, but the second solution works too ! I think you would say : Simply change {% if post.image.teaser %}<img src="{{ post.image.teaser }}" alt="">{% endif %}

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