Theme.FM has reopened to the public with a brand new theme store. After browsing around the store for a little while, I like the overall design and how the theme information is laid out. Simple, excellent use of white space and I don’t feel overwhelmed when looking over a design. Nice job fellas. ∞
By Jeffro on March 9, 2012
Fresh from WordCamp Phoenix 2012, Lance Willett who works for Automattic and is part of the theme wrangler team gave a great presentation for beginners on how to navigate the vast landscape that is WordPress themes. He covers the gamut such as where to look for themes, commercial themes, things to consider before using the theme on your site, etc. This presentation is truly for the beginner as it has nothing to do with coding. Nice job Lance.
By Jeffro on February 21, 2012
BloggingPro.com has a good starter article on tips for designing your blog. Within the article, Amanda mentions that while most bloggers get the writing aspect of the job, design is another beast entirely.
When people talk about the perfect blog, they always focus on content. The content of a blog is obviously extremely important, and in most cases the content is what decides whether a blog will be successful or flop like a fish out of water. However, the design of a blog is also extremely important. Many bloggers understand the writing aspect of the job, but it’s the blog design that causes frustration. Because creating a blog involves a little bit of web development and web hosting knowledge, so many writers feel a huge weight on their shoulders. Once bloggers have WordPress and other plugins mastered, they sometimes don’t even know where to begin when it comes to design.
She’s dead on. When I first launched WPTavern.com, I felt brave enough to hack away at a theme’s layout I enjoyed and applied my colors via the CSS file for the sites first design. It came out dark, with hues of grey and blue with colorful links. Not the prettiest site on the web but as a personal preference, I liked it. Then, I started searching around at the various WordPress commercial themes and noticed quite a few that looked like they would be perfect for the site. However, when I purchased the theme and tried to apply my vision, it never seemed to work out. I think I’ve spent about three to four hundred dollars on themes that I thought would be perfect but ended up being too complicated or not what I had in mind.
I cringe at the thought of redesigning WPTavern.com by myself because I’d much rather focus on content versus the design. I’ve dipped my hand into the design area enough times to know that I’m a stones throw from creating designs that are as wacky as the world of Dr. Suess.
How many themes have you purchased to fulfill your vision but ended up putting them up on the shelf?
By Jeffro on February 20, 2012
Theme developers will now have access to a cool new starter theme that the WordPress.com theme team will be using on a routine basis when developing new themes. Not only is this great news for ALL theme developers, but how they are going about it makes me think they are also using this opportunity to experiment with GIT instead of working purely with SVN. I think some would argue that this is what the default theme should have been like within WordPress from the beginning but looking at how successful Twenty Ten has become, perhaps it was’nt such a bad idea.
By Jeffro on February 17, 2012
For recently joining the 700 club. That number represents the amount of themes he has reviewed since joining the WordPress theme review team! Thanks goes out to Emil for volunteering his time to make the theme repository a better place. Out of curiosity, after reviewing 700 themes, I wonder what sort of patterns or similarities exist between them all that Emil could share.
If you’re interested in joining the theme review team, read the following guide to get started.
By Jeffro on February 10, 2012
Ian Stewart shared some of his predictions as they relate to WordPress themes for 2012. His thoughts on Lighter themes as well as themes getting rid of the useless options are spot on. It’s a trend that’s made headway since the beginning of 2012 and it will only continue during the rest of the year. I’m not quite sure about his thoughts on using the default theme that ships with WordPress because it gives you a 1,000 hour head start. I’m sure many will beg to differ but it’s a good trend to see that with each default theme, the team will be trying new ideas and hopefully, begin inspiring everyone else.
Amongst the comments, Josh Leuze proposed that themes should have less features built into them.
Along with less theme options it would be nice to see less features built into themes. There are so many themes out there with poorly implemented breadcrumbs, slideshows, and other functionality that doesn’t really need to be built in when there are so many awesome plugins they could integrate instead.
And with all the time they save by choosing established plugins instead of rolling their own, they can concentrate on sweet designs instead
With that being said, do you know of any themes that concentrate exclusively on providing a rich, beautiful presentation of content without all the doo dads attached onto it such as sliders, breadcrumbs, flashy headers, etc.? A theme that takes each post type and turns that piece of content whether it be a video, image, or blockquote into a thing of beauty. I’m willing to bet that most WordPress themes be it free or commercial do not accomplish that task out of the box. Instead, it seems like it takes a skilled designer or team of designers to turn a specific WordPress theme into a great presentation of content. However, the monkey wrench thrown into the equation is that themes are subjective and what looks great to one person may look like crap to someone else. If you can find a theme that accomplishes everything I’ve mentioned out of the box, I think that gets you closer to a 1,000 hour head start.
By Jeffro on February 8, 2012
WPLift has a cool post highlighting the different default themes that WordPress has had since its inception. According to the post, since WordPress was first created, the publishing platform has had a total of five default themes with Twenty Twelve being the sixth, slated to arrive with WordPress 3.4. It was a nice stroll down memory lane and a bit surprising that the amount of default themes was so low. However, it seemed like forever when Kubrick was the default theme for WordPress.
So the question is, how many of you remember using the first WordPress Default theme for your site?
By Jeffro on February 3, 2012
Congratulations goes out to Luke McDonald as one of the themes produced by Press75.com has been selected to be part of the WordPress.com commercial theme store. The theme is priced at $50.00 and is called Debut. It’s mobile ready right out of the box along with having post format support. Speaking of post formats, Debut is especially interesting because when users select the Audio post format, it expands into a multi-track playlist. You can see the theme in action via the WordPress.com theme showcase.
By Jeffro on January 30, 2012
The Theme Review Team tried something new this past weekend. Members of the review team that could make it, spent all day in IRC to review themes stuck in the Priority 2 queue which lists themes that have been stuck in the review process for more than two weeks. While the goal was to clear the queue, the last time I checked the number of themes was around 81. Some of the themes have been in the review process for over 6 weeks. Browsing through the queue, I even noticed two themes submitted by Automattic. One was called Duotone which has been in the queue for 5 weeks with Bouquet coming in at 6 weeks. Just goes to show that Automattic doesn’t receive preferential treatment when it comes to the review process.
If you would like to see themes get through the review process faster, please consider joining the theme review team. As a theme author, you can also help make the review process go faster by ensuring that your theme meets the following guidelines.