How to Use the WordPress Block Pattern Directory on WordPress.com

On July 20, 2021, with the release of WordPress 5.8, the new WordPress Block Pattern Directory went live. In case you haven’t yet heard about WordPress Block Patterns or the WordPress Block Pattern Directory, we’ll explain why this is exciting, how it helps you design your website, and just how easy it is to use the directory.

What are WordPress Block Patterns?

Source: How to Use the WordPress Block Pattern Directory — WordPress.com

Block Patterns have become integral to the Editor since their introduction last year and their development has been pretty much non-stop. If you open the Block inserter these days you’ll find a dizzying number of Patterns ready to enhance your Post or Page. Add into that mix Block Transforms, where you can change one kind of Block to another, and, truly, the possibilities for displaying your content are nearly endless.

Sometimes, however, you need that one special layout to help you tell your story. If you don’t find it in the Block Patterns integrated into the Editor, you now have another resource to use, the WordPress.org Block Pattern Directory.

Navigate to the Block Directory, find your block and then simply hover your cursor over the pattern, click on the copy button that pops up and then paste your desired block to your open post or page in your Block Editor.

I initially inserted the above as a single image, but then used a Block Transform to change it to a Media and Text block.

The most exciting aspect (probably only for me) mentioned in the above Go article is the opening up of block pattern submissions later this year, but only when TPTB on WordPress.com fix the issue of exporting as .json. As I recently learned in a WordPress Watch Party and Discussion on Reusable Blocks, block patterns start life as reusable blocks.

Something to look forward to.


Published by JenT

After 4 years hand coding HTML and CSS websites, 2 years setting up and running WordPress sites, I launched my first website on WordPress.com back in 2006 and never looked back. Since then, I’ve helped other WordPress.com site owners navigate through the ever-changing WordPress.com ecosystem. Find me at wpcommaven.com

5 thoughts on “How to Use the WordPress Block Pattern Directory on WordPress.com

  1. I resist changing my format at every chance I get (I should have kept my old theme since it still works well in one of my (private) test blogs I use to check stuff out).

    But, since I’m used to this theme now, that’s what I’ll use and do my best to not mess with the look of the posts. But, as you say, some people will really embrace all this newness.

    1. Not sure what you mean here by “format.” WordPress themes are not block patterns quite yet. The current batch of themes for the Block Editor (those “recommended” ones in the Theme Showcase) sort of give you a very basic framework and get out of the way so you can display your content the way you want with blocks and block patterns (or not). The more traditional WordPress themes make you fit your content to their narrower framework. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages and each has its fans. Regardless, themes become mostly invisible when viewing your site on a mobile device or an RSS feed reader. like the Reader, where your theme doesn’t appear. What does appear there is your content.

      And, yes, I like to embrace the newness and mess around with how my site displays. 🙂 I’m moving furniture around and painting the walls, might have to replace the flooring at some point. As long as the basic infrastructure is good, doing all that makes me happy and sometimes I discover things I might not have otherwise.

    2. I mean, I don’t mess with the furniture, drapes, lampshades, light fixtures, let alone the arrangement of the room.

      I’m not looking to surprise readers by deviating from my, you know, “Paragraph, Image or Gallery, Paragraph, Image or Gallery, Paragraph, at nauseam” block pattern. I’m already living wild by occasionally changing the font color.

      Although, I used to like doing previews of the photos at the beginning of the post, like here:

      Hawai’i – Lapakahi State Historical Park

      Hawai’i – the second flowers photos and Stuff – artsy edition

      Those are actually static photos arranged in Photoshop. Do they have a random collage pattern? All I saw was a boring photo overlap pattern.

      1. You’d be surprised how something new can shake folks out of their complacency. And it doesn’t have to be on every post. 🙂 Even the New York Times incorporated some amazing innovations on their website, but it’s still all about storytelling. Their very first post incorporating these innovations was “Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek” back in 2012. Hugely immersive.

        Do they have a random collage pattern?

        There used to be a check box when inserting a Tiled Gallery or the regular Gallery. I’m not sure if they still exist in blocks, though. If you don’t see it in those blocks, it’s likely still there in the Classic Block or Classic Editor.

        I’m currently selecting older posts to revise and it’s likely that I’ll include block patterns, either from the built-in block inserter or from the directory. What do you think about me linking to the original version so you can see the changes?

      2. I use the tiled gallery exclusively, but it’s not a collage. Also, for similarly sized photos, it’s not very interesting (but still better than regular gallery).

        As for showing before and after, if doing a tutorial, that would make sense. Otherwise, I’d just do a new post with what you want to show. But, that’s just me.

        As for the presentation. It’s a catch-22 … interesting layouts and innovative ways to present content “might” be of interest, but the moment it involves extra clicks (time) is a no-go for me because I’m already so far behind in what I want to share.

        Truthfully, I’d do more if it wasn’t so time intensive. And, let’s be clear, every change they’ve made since when I started blogging has increased the time it takes me to do what I want to do.

        I used to do more interactive stuff: link photos to different galleries, put in more contextual links, and do longer posts.

        When they started changing things, it messed up my formats, I lost links (initially I tried to repair old posts), and changing theme screwed up old posts.

        Because that’s the problem: I have more options to do what “they” think I want but it makes doing what I actually want more tedious.

        I don’t even tackle some of the stuff I used to do because it’s not fun; meaning, the creative process is now a chore.

        And, I get it … enough people like that stuff (and there’s no viable alternative other than the drastic move to host my own website designed the way I want it).

        But enough of me complaining. I’m glad others and you are excited about all this.

Kvetch or kvell, it's all good, but be a mensch.

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