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An achingly simple Tumblr theme without all the usual cruft.
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An achingly simple Tumblr theme without all the usual cruft.


Tersus is an exercise in publishing template minimalism, based on the orginal Tersus for Wordpress theme.

Why create yet another theme? As clean and stripped down as some themes are, we wanted to prune things a bit further.

Tersus was originally named Simplicity — a term that described exactly what the project was all about. However, that was prior to the discovery of a WordPress theme already using that very name. After a brief discussion, several latin terms were bandied about as replacements. Tersus (which means ‘clean, neat, or cleansed’) seemed to fit the bill rather nicely … and here we are.

Keep track of Tersus development on Twitter.


  • HTML5 structure and compliance
  • CSS that has been reset and built from the ground up
  • Non-semantic, presentational markup has been dispatched
  • Responsive, adaptive layout for small screens
  • Clean, valid, and awesome


The Tersus project is brought to you by Chris Harrison, Grant Hutchinson, Dan Rubin, and Andy van der Raadt.

Lovely chaps, all of them.

The groundwork for Tersus was based on the Starkers theme created by the affable Elliot Jay Stocks.

We’d also like to give some props to the fine individuals and handy resources which have made the development of Tersus much more enjoyable. On the currently guest list are Grettir Asmundarson, Beau Calvez, David Kendal, BBEdit, CSS Lint, GitHub for Mac, and Google’s Rich Snippets Testing Tool.



The Tersus theme is absolutely free and conveniently licensed under GPL. You may use it for personal or commercial projects, as you see fit. Please refer to the license.txt file included with the source for more information.

Portions of the stylesheets are based on the YUI CSS Reset and YUI CSS Base tools provided as part of the Yahoo! User Interface Library. All of the YUI Library components are provided free of charge under a liberal BSD license. Copyright © 2012 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.

Version History

0.1.0 — The “Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time” Release

  • Initial tinkering inspired by the WordPress version
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