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December 31 2013

21:03

45 Fresh And Free WordPress Themes

In this collection, we are presenting some fresh and awesome WordPress themes. WordPress is very popular and famous blogging platform that’s why millions of people are using WordPress. WordPress themes provide you wonderful features which are very useful for your work. WordPress themes are easy to use and you can easily edit them with your needs or requirements. If you want that your blog or website look stunning then so many WordPress themes are available. Like choose custom WordPress theme. With the use of custom WordPress theme you can easily make your website stand out from the crowd and give long lasting impression on your customers or website visitors.

So, come and grab this amazing chance and start browsing through this fresh collection of WordPress themes. Check this out and get to pick one which is suitable for your project. And do not forget to share your precious opinion with us via comment section below. Have fun!!!!

Playbook

( Demo | Download )

Playbook is a traditional WordPress theme with a dual column post layout, a fully responsive design, and is jampacked with all MyThemeShop’s best features. Playbook includes SEO optimization, custom widgets, our industry grade options panel, and much more, and best of all, it’s 100% free!

Art Works

( Demo | Download )

Your Artwork is important, showcase your imagination with style. Premium Responsive WordPress Themes for Creative Professionals.

Sunrise

( Demo | Download )

Free Responsive WordPress Theme for Pubs and Restaurants.

Revera

( Demo | Download )

Revera is a free premium wordpress theme based on the Bootstrap 3 framework. This is a responsive wordpress theme with all the bootstrap goodness packed in it. The theme is WordPress 3.6 ready. The theme comes with features like, custom menu, featured images, custom homepage template, portfolio page template , widgetized sidebar and footer, custom widgets on homepage, theme option page etc.

Lingonberry WordPress Theme

( Demo | Download )

A clean and simple theme for bloggers, featuring responsive design and plenty of style.

PhotoMag

( Demo | Download )

PhotoMag is excellent solution for site about photography. This WordPress theme supports and comes with custom widgets, drop-down menus, javascript slideshow and lots of other useful features.

Neon light WordPress theme

( Demo | Download )

Miideo is a minimalistic WordPress theme with plastic interface elements, a nice texture, and a purple neon light effects that put toghether bring the sensation of handling an electronic device. Since the theme is purposed for videos, it becomes ideal for music bands and artists wanting to show their material, althouhgh the theme can be used for diverse purposes.

DUALSHOCK

( Demo | Download )

DualShock is a 100% free, dual purpose blog and magazine UI theme. It features our best features including our options panel, custom widgets, translation-ready functionality and search engine optimization. With a unique layout including sleek post meta information box, DualShock is a must-have theme, and best of all, it’s free.

Crisp Persona WordPress Theme

( Demo | Download )

Crisp Persona is the WordPress theme. It’s a sleek, responsive theme meant for personal blogs.

Balloons

( Demo | Download )

Balloons is a single-column layout, with parallax scrolling effect.

Appz WordPress Theme

( Demo | Download )

WordPress + Appz WordPress theme is a simple, fast and effective way to approach the audience with your app.

Impulse

( Demo | Download )

A very neat and clean blue, black and white business theme. The theme supports widgets. And features theme-options, threaded-comments and multi-level dropdown menu. A simple and neat typography.

Dreams

( Demo | Download )

Dreams is a high quality free General/Blog WordPress Theme. Comes with easy to use options page. Upload your logo and favicon. Ready to use custom widgets and featured posts slider.

TechFlow

( Demo | Download )

TechFlow is a high quality free News/Magazine WordPress Theme. Comes with easy to use options page. Upload your logo and favicon. Ready to use custom widgets and featured posts slider.

Panoramica

( Demo | Download )

Panoramica is built with the intent of adapting to as many window sizes as possible. It has a fully fluid layout that gives it tremendous flexibility, allowing you to cater to both large and small screens alike. Its polished portfolio heavily emphasizes the use of images, displaying a clean slideshow in every portfolio item. And of course, you can customize its appearance through its extensive options panel.

Sentoz

( Demo | Download )

Sentoz is a free premium WordPress theme. This is a tumblog style theme. The theme uses WordPress post format feature to create posts with different formats like, image, audio, video, link, aside, gallery, quote etc.

Minimal Business WordPress Theme

( Demo | Download )

This one is a sober theme built with light colors and a minimalistic style that give the feeling of demureness. useful for startups the same as for long time business. With unique built-in features that make it very functional and versatile in case the purpose is not to use it on a company site but something simpler.

Edu

( Demo | Download )

Edu is a high quality free General/Blog WordPress Theme. Comes with easy to use options page. Upload your logo and favicon. Ready to use custom widgets and featured posts slider.

Road Fighter

( Demo | Download )

The Road Fighter WordPress Theme is a simple and beautiful theme with lots of customization options that can tweaked by Theme Options Panel like logos, intro texts, background etc. The Road Fighter Theme supports five widgetized areas (two in the sidebar, three in the footer) and featured images(thumbnails for gallery posts and custom header images for posts and pages).

Divan

( Demo | Download )

Divan is one of the best stylish and clean themes for WordPress blog. It has designs which are good-looking and can be used with any type of content. It contains powerful functionality that allows you to create amazing blog.

ForDrivers

( Demo | Download )

ForDrivers is beautiful WordPress theme for auto web pages. This is a complex wordpress themes with lots of useful features like custom widgets, feedback form, slider, video supporting and many other.

Sencity

( Demo | Download )

Sencity is a high quality free General/Blog WordPress Theme. Comes with easy to use options page. Upload your logo and favicon. Ready to use custom widgets and featured posts slider.

MoviePoster

( Demo | Download )

MoviePoster WordPress theme is a perfect foundation for cinema website. Easy to use administrative panel, custom widgets, an eye catching related posts and lots of other powerful features provide a great base to build on.

Apartments

( Demo | Download )

Apartments is excellent solution for your realty or other blog. This WordPress theme supports and comes with custom widgets, drop-down menus, javascript slideshow and lots of other useful features.

MetroBlog

( Demo | Download )

MetroBlog is stylish and clean creative theme for WordPress blog. Its design is a perfect foundation for Windows 8 fans blog. The theme supports and comes with custom widgets, drop-down menus, javascript slideshow and lots of other useful features.

Sports

( Demo | Download )

Sports is a smart, attractive and multi-purpose sports free WordPress theme. Comes with 7+ custom widgets. Rich and easy to use administration panel, easily upload your logo or favicon.

Luminus – Responsive WordPress Theme

( Demo | Download )

Luminus – Responsive WordPress Theme built with twitter bootstrap.

SimpleDesign

( Demo | Download )

SimpleDesign is beautiful WordPress theme for any type of content. This is a complex wordpress themes with lots of useful features like custom widgets, feedback form, slider, video supporting and many other.

MineFun

( Demo | Download )

MineFun is excellent solution for Minecraft fans. This WordPress theme supports and comes with custom widgets, drop-down menus, javascript slideshow and lots of other useful features.

Dinata

( Demo | Download )

Dinata is a sleek General/Blog theme that is fully compatible with the newest version of WordPress. The amazing design is matched by how much customisation Dinata offers, including its detailed .po fil,e for easy translation.

Time

( Demo | Download )

A clean responsive theme for personal blogs.

Practis

( Demo | Download )

Practis offers the beauty of a professionally designed website with the efficiency of a veteran developer. This gorgeous General/Blog site includes widgets, drop-down menus and a javascript slideshow among other features.

GoTech

( Demo | Download )

GoTech is a high quality free News/Magazine WordPress Theme. Comes with easy to use options page. Upload your logo and favicon. Ready to use custom widgets and featured posts slider.

Allmed

( Demo | Download )

Allmed is a theme for video and audio bloggers, with a minimal design, giving you huge scope to turn the design into anything you like. The theme is simply customizable, you can choose unlimited color schemes.

Topside

( Demo | Download )

The Topside theme offers a fantastic and professional General/Blog layout. Topside comes with free support, widgets, custom backgrounds and a unique slideshow.

Nexia

( Demo | Download )

Nexia is a theme that can do it all and still look good. This gorgeous General/Blog theme supports and comes with widgets, drop-down menus and an automatic slideshow.

ProLines

( Demo | Download )

ProLines is a high quality free General/Blog WordPress Theme. Comes with easy to use options page. Upload your logo and favicon. Ready to use custom widgets and featured posts slider.

Photogram

( Demo | Download )

Integrate your WordPress site with Picasa and Pinterest in a few simple clicks. Share your photographs online and present them in the best way possible.

Fresh & Clean Free Minimal WordPress Theme

( Demo | Download )

Fresh & Clean is a free WordPress theme created by WPExplorer.com that has a very clean and minimal design yet it is still pretty modern and elegant looking. This theme was created with the casual blogger in mind, however, it can be great for all sorts of sites!

Rose

( Demo | Download )

This simple and elegant WordPress template is great solution for women’s blog. Rose, like our other themes, comes with Shared Bar that will help your visitors to share your blog with their friends.

Travelify – Awesome & Responsive Travel WordPress Theme

( Demo | Download )

Travelify WordPress theme design is inspired by nature. We made it as simple as possible while fully customizable with several Theme Options and page templates. Travelify is ideal choice for travel blogs, green thinking, adventurists and anyone who is looking for an amazing and simple way to share pictures.

Apollo

( Demo | Download )

Apollo is a minimal Free WordPress Theme created with bloggers in mind. The 2 column grid layout for your archives is great for showcasing all sorts of content. Sign up for your free membership to download this theme and use for your own site!

EASY

( Demo | Download )

HTML 5 and CSS3 powered Easy Theme is a simple easy way for your website. Easy is super elegant and Professional Theme which will expand you widely. The Slider will show the featured images and contents of posts automatically. Front Page, Right and Footer Sidebar will be usable for showing the Widgets and Plugins items.

CinemaPlanet

( Demo | Download )

CinemaPlanet WordPress theme is a perfect foundation for cinema website. Easy to use administrative panel, custom widgets, an eye catching related posts and lots of other powerful features provide a great base to build on.

MagicWood

( Demo | Download )

MagicWood is one of the best stylish and clean themes for WordPress blog. It has designs which are good-looking and can be used with any type of content. It contains powerful functionality that allow you to create amazing blog.

November 22 2013

15:03

15 Free And Awesome Responsive WordPress Themes

In this round up, we are showcasing some fresh and awesome free responsive WordPress themes. WordPress is very well-accepted and well-known blogging platform that’s why millions of people are using it. With these WordPress themes, you will be provided with wonderful features which are very useful for your work. Furthermore, all these WordPress themes are easy to use and you can easily edit them depending on your needs or requirements.

So, make your website or blog look stunning with these WordPress themes. With the use of these responsive WordPress theme, you can make your website stand out from the rest as well as give a long lasting impression on your customers or website visitors. So, come and grab this amazing chance and start browsing through this fresh collection of WordPress themes.

Responsive

( Demo | Download )

Responsive Theme is a flexible foundation with fluid grid system that adapts your website to mobile devices and the desktop or any other viewing environment.

Designfolio

( Demo | Download )

Designfolio includes a responsive slider and portfolio, and it scales perfectly to fit any size screen on a computer or mobile device.

Yasmin

( Demo | Download )

Yasmin is a responsive wordpress theme. That means the theme will adjust itself to the screen size of various devices used to browse the web. Let that be your desktop, laptop, tablet or even your smart phone. You will not have to swipe and drag to see the content overflowing your small screen sized devices. It is not only the site layout that is responsive, even the media elements like images, slideshows and videos are responsive in this theme. This is based on the skeleton Framework.

Yoko

( Demo | Download )

Yoko is a blog theme that is well suited for larger magazines or blogs. The theme offers plenty of space for widgets in 2 right-aligned sidebars. For WordPress 3.1 +, also available on WordPress.com.

GoPress

( Demo | Download )

GoPress is a super minimal and lightweight free WordPress Theme by WPExplorer that is perfect for any magazine, news or blogging website. The theme has been created with a focus around the basic post format to keep things super simple and make it easier for you to transition from another theme to this one or vise-versa.

Luminus

( Demo | Download )

Responsive WordPress Theme built with twitter bootstrap

TBLOG

( Demo | Download )

TBLOG is a fully responsive – fluid WordPress theme for personal bloggers, furniture showcase sites, portfolio style websites.

TumblePress

( Demo | Download )

You take pictures, you write stories and opinions, you make videos, you link to cool sites all the time. Tumblr is perfect for that but there’s one flaw, you don’t get to control everything as easy as you would with WordPress. You’ve got no control over your database or server and you can’t even do anything with its SEO.

Meeta

( Demo | Download )

Meeta is a simple blogging theme, but packed with many premium features, like: unique widgets, custom templates. The theme is absolutely free!

Sampression Lite

( Demo | Download )

Sampression Lite is a minimalist, fully responsive, retina ready, translation ready, clean theme, perfect for blogging. It’s lightweight responsive design allows this theme to adapt across a range of screen sizes.

Tetris Free Masonry Tumblog WordPress Theme

( Demo | Download )

Tetris is a responsive Tumblog style WordPress theme created by AJ Clarke from WPExplorer.com. The theme features a masonry style homepage and archive pages to showcase your posts in a modern fashion and makes use of WordPress post formats so sharing different media types is extremely easy.

Customizr

( Demo | Download )

Enjoy designing your website live from the WP customizer screen. Choose your options : skin, logo, social profiles, slider, layout, home featured blocks… you can even customize your css live. And this is it! The clean and fully responsive design can be used for any type of website : corporate, portfolio, business, blog, landing page, etc.

Destro

( Demo | Download )

Responsive WordPress magazine theme with 3 home page layouts, 300×250 ads, 125×125 ads, 8 premade (Black, Blue, Red, brown, pink, white and Green) ready to use color schemes/skins, 2 page layouts including a full width page template, featured posts, social icons, twitter updates, threaded comments and widget support.

Respo Theme

( Demo | Download )

Respo is amazing WordPress theme with clean, sleek and customizable design. The theme is suitable for presonal blogs and/or online magazines. This is a responsive theme, able to adapt its layout to the screen size of your visitors. (try resizing the screen and see for yourself) The sliders for this theme is responsive too, which means it works super sleek on mobile device like ipad or iphone.

Adapt

( Demo | Download )

Adapt 2.0 is a free responsive business WordPress theme created right here at WPExplorer. The theme features a very clean and elegant business portfolio style design making it useful for small businesses, agencies, portfolios and more.

September 19 2013

06:30

Ultimatum 2.5: Brand-new WordPress Theme Builder at a Fantastic Price


  

Only three weeks back, the brand-new version of the popular WordPress theme builder Ultimatum got published. This is not a simple update but a complete rewrite of the software with a much higher functionality level. The promise remains: Build a WordPress theme without knowledge of coding. The difference: In this latest version of Ultimatum, designers with coding knowledge are supported too ;-) Our Deal of the Week lets you get a hold of the latest Ultimatum 2.5 for less than half of the regular price…

September 16 2013

06:30

September 02 2013

06:30

March 28 2013

14:22

15 Free Minimal And Responsive WordPress Themes

Here, we are presenting 15 free, minimal and responsive WordPress themes for you. WordPress offers the best platform for blogging and sharing content online. With loads of feature rich options and plugins, WordPress is the ideal choice of many bloggers, designers and creative people who want to share their content with the world. WordPress themes are there to set different WordPress websites and blog apart from each other. This time we have come up with some excellent and very appealing minimal and responsive WordPress themes.

Below, you will find 15 free and extremely appealing minimal and responsive WordPress themes that have the ability to balance your content with the minimal layout in the best possible way. All of these mentioned themes work absolutely fine. Furthermore, these themes are capable enough to make your website or blog look unique as well as make it stand out from the rest. Let us have a look. Enjoy!

Ari WordPress Theme

( Demo | Download )

Simple Grid Theme Responsive

( Demo | Download )

Gridly

( Demo | Download )

Shutterloop

( Demo | Download )

Grid Theme Responsive

( Demo | Download )

Pilot Fish

( Demo | Download )

Touchfolio

( Demo | Download )

Auto Focus Responsive WordPress Photography Theme

( Demo | Download )

Unique Theme Responsive

( Demo | Download )

Eclipse

( Demo | Download )

Adapt

( Demo | Download )

Lugada

( Demo | Download )

Respo

( Demo | Download )

Oxygen

( Demo | Download )

PressWork

( Demo | Download )

March 25 2013

08:00

How To Create a WordPress Custom Page Template

Creating a WordPress theme to accommodate your website design concept becomes so much easier when you know about things like Custom Page Templates. WordPress operates using posts and pages, but every page doesn’t have to be cookie-cut from the same format. You can create unique layouts and content for specific pages to create visually interesting sites that are still editable via WordPress’ powerful publishing tools.

What is a custom page template?

WordPress custom page templates are theme files that provide an alternative to the default page.php file. These custom templates can contain whatever HTML and template tags you wish to build your desired layout or content, then the file can be attached to a specific page in order for WordPress to use this new template when serving that particular page of the site.

Common uses for custom page templates are to create unique page layouts for about pages, testimonials or services; an eye-catching portfolio with an array of clickable thumbnails; or a clever about or contact page with features embedded directly to the template in code. If you need to configure your page layout beyond what is available in the default page.php file, a custom page template is what you need.

How to create a custom page template

Creating a custom page template couldn’t be easier. Create a blank php document, then add the following code:

< ?php
/*
Template Name: About
*/
?>

Configure the template name to something recognisable, this is what will appear in a drop down menu within the WordPress admin screen. Saving the file with a name corresponding to your chosen template name makes sense, for example about.php.

In the remainder of the document add your HTML and WordPress template tags to construct your desired layout. This might utilise tags such as <?php get_header(); ?> to build the page using the existing header/sidebar/footer elements, or you might be building something completely unique using a complete WordPress loop. Don’t forget, you can also hard code features into your template file that are unique to this page, such as a contact form, YouTube video or a Google Maps iFrame.

Once you’ve created your custom page template and uploaded it to your theme directory, create your page using the WordPress editor. Any content you add using the WYSIWYG will appear wherever the <?php the_content(); ?> tag was placed within the template. This page will use the default page.php template unless your change the Template option under Attributes.

Select the Template menu and choose the template file with the name you supplied. Hit the publish button and see your WordPress content dynamically generated using the structure of your custom page template.

March 31 2012

11:00

18 WordPress Themes for Creating an Awesome Online Résumé

As web designers/developers, you need an online portfolio or a landing page, wherein your potential clients can take a look at your works. Further more, it helps to have a resume or Curriculum Vitae online — so that if a client seeks more info about you, he/she can simply head to that page, instead of asking you for a CV in email. In this article, we take a look at some of the best Resume or CV themes for WordPress.

ResumePress

Major Features:

  • Fully customizable design and layout
  • Custom fields like Career History, Summary and Education
  • Gallery cum portfolio support
ResumePress

ResumePress

Home Page | Currently under Beta release (stable release due date April 4th, 2012)

Precision (Regular License: $20)

Major Features:

  • Unique “brochure style” design
  • Custom image slideshows
  • 6 shortcodes; 2 custom post types
  • Cross Slide image slider
Precision

Precision

Demo | More Info

Cascade (Regular License $20)

Major Features:

  • Uses jQuery and Lightbox
  • 2 skins; 8 tab colors; 10 tab icons
  • 20 predefined backgrounds; 10 social media icons
  • Custom contact form
  • Google Maps shortcode
Cascade

Cascade

Demo | More Info

Circlus (Regular License: $25)

Major Features:

  • jQuery Nivo slider plugin
  • Custom 404 Error Page
  • Custom contact form
  • Custom favicon
Circlus

Circlus

Demo | More Info

Vue (Regular License: $35)

Major Features:

  • 7 different skins
  • Multiple portfolio layouts
  • 2 homepage sliders
  • Unbranded theme options
Vue

Vue

Demo | More Info

Aurel (Standard License: $12)

Major Features:

  • 2 different layouts
  • Valid xHTML 1.0 Transitional
  • jQuery scroller
Aurel

Aurel

Demo | More Info

zeeBizzCard (Free)

Major Features:

  • 7 color schemes
  • 3 Featured posts’ sliders
  • Font Manager with over 20 fonts
  • Translation ready
  • Localized in English and German
zeeBizzCard

zeeBizzCard

Demo | More Info

Profile (Free)

Major Features:

  • Minimalist design
  • Custom menus and logo
  • Can also serve as a website with static pages (instead of posts)
Profile

Profile

Demo | More Info

MyResume (Club Membership: $39/year)

Major Features:

  • jQuery tabbed content
  • Social media integration
  • 5 color schemes
  • Smooth tabbed design
  • Automated thumbnail resizing
MyResume

MyResume

Demo | More Info

Get Hired (Standard License: $18)

Major Features:

  • 6 color schemes
  • Social media integration
  • In-built contact form
  • Print-ready CSS
Get Hired

Get Hired

Demo | More Info

Super Slick vCard (Regular License: $20)

Major Features:

  • 8 color schemes
  • 27 pre-built translations
  • 2 navigation styles
  • 7 PSDs included
  • Showcase/Portfolio page
  • In-built contact form
Super Slick vCard

Super Slick vCard

Demo | More Info

MiniSite (Regular License: $25)

Major Features:

  • Minimal clean design
  • Ajax/PHP contact form
  • 4 color schemes
  • Pre-defined shortcodes
  • jQuery and Lightbox based gallery/slideshow
MiniSite

MiniSite

Demo | More Info

MiniCard (Free)

Major Features:

  • Support for hCard micro-format
  • Multiple social networks
  • Portfolio support
MiniCard

MiniCard

Demo | More Info

Visiting Card (Free)

Major Features:

  • Support for multiple social networks
  • In-built contact form
  • Ideal for non-bloggers
Visiting Card

Visiting Card

Demo | More Info

Creative Zodiac (Regular License: $30)

Major Features:

  • No page reloading (even when using features such as ‘Search’)
  • In-built contact form
  • Detailed Theme Options
  • Custom page templates
Creative Zodiac

Creative Zodiac

Demo | More Info

The Digital Business Card (Free)

Major Features:

  • 50+ social networking sites supported
  • Ideal for non-bloggers
  • Easy to use Theme Options panel
The Digital Business Card

The Digital Business Card

Demo | More Info

BizzCard (Standard License: $69; Free Version also available)

Major Features:

  • Independent Twitter gadget
  • Flexible widgets
  • FAQ template
  • Huge logo
  • In-built contact form
  • Custom Branding
BizzCard

BizzCard

Demo | More Info

vCard (Free; Pro version also available after Club Membership)

Major Features:

  • Supports hCard micro-format
  • Downloadable vCard
  • Supports multiple social networks
  • Translation-ready
  • Pre-loaded plugins
vCard

vCard

Demo | More Info

With that, we come to the end of this round-up. Which theme do you use for your online resume/CV? Share your thoughts in the comments!

March 30 2012

17:00

Choosing a WordPress Theme: Free or Premium?

Perhaps one of the most striking features of WordPress is the easy availability of themes. Take a look at any of the other CMSs – be it Joomla!, Drupal or Textpattern – none of them comes even close when it comes to the availability of ready-made themes and templates. Not only does WP have numerous free themes to its merit, it is also well supplemented for by several Premium theme providers. So, what exactly are Premium and Free themes anyway? In simple terms, Premium themes are those which come at a price that is paid to the theme provider whereas Free themes are just that – free! 

Premium Themes

Just like any other commercial commodity, Premium themes too often undergo the debate regarding pricing – there are some who claim that Premium themes are an unfair means to monetize an open source project, whereas there are still others who hold the view that Premium themes are solutions which cannot be provided in the absence of commercial funding and, owing to the competition, often Premium themes are under-priced.

Pictured: 'Unsigned' -- a Premium Theme by WooThemes

Pictured: 'Unsigned' -- a Premium Theme by WooThemes

Link to ‘Unsigned’ by WooThemes

When it comes to positives, Premium themes have many advantages:

  1. First up, most Premium themes come with A+ grade support which is missing in Free themes. This is because the developers build Premium themes as a means of livelihood and thus tend to provide excellent grade support.
  2. Further more, Premium themes are reliable. They are updated on a regular basis, often come with extended or lifetime support and extensive documentation.
  3. Premium themes also have several unique features that are otherwise lacking in Free themes. Plus, due to stiff competition, theme providers are working hard to make their offerings the best of the lot and thus, Premium themes happen to be super-rich in features.
  4. Premium themes generally pay great attention to details. In fact, they often have better tweaks for settings such as SEO than their Free counterparts.
  5. Along similar lines, Premium themes come in several forms to suit your needs – there are special offerings depending on the genre of your website.
  6. Unlike Free themes, Premium themes are not so common and this can lend a unique appeal to your blog.

On the downside, Premium themes also have their share of disadvantages:

  1. Unlike Free themes, which are generally added to the official WP repository and undergo a review process, Premium themes can at times be mere commercial entities that may or may not be standards compliant in terms of licensing.
  2. Premium themes generally come for a fee and spending money on a blog that might just be a hobby may not suit everyone’s purpose.
  3. While this does not apply to everyone, at times, Premium themes, in their bid to be super-awesome, may come loaded with several features, whereas in reality, you may not need all of them. You will therefore, be using just a sub-set of the total number of features. In other words, for certain scenarios, using a Premium theme might be an overkill.
WP Theme Repo is an excellent place to look for free themes

WP Theme Repo is an excellent place to look for free themes

Free Themes

There are several Free themes for WordPress from different providers. Often, many developers develop Free themes to build their portfolio or just for fun. On the other hand, many Premium theme providers as well as WP-related blogs may release Free themes for their visitors.

Pictured: 'Sight' -- a Free Theme by WPShower

Pictured: 'Sight' -- a Free Theme by WPShower

Link to ‘Sight’ by WPShower

There are several advantages of Free themes:

  1. Firstly, Free themes don’t burn a hole in your pockets – simply download and use! There are no prices to pay.
  2. While personalized support is generally absent with Free themes, many developers respond to queries and comments in forums. Plus, you can always get great support from WP Codex and official forums.
  3. Since Free themes are more common, the number of plugins and configuration settings that they support is also large. And just in case a particular plugin does not work with a given theme, you can always report the issue to the official repository. With Premium themes, however, due to smaller user base, the process takes some extra time.

On the downside, Free themes come with certain disadvantages too:

  1. Free themes generally do not come with any warranty or assurance of working.
  2. Unlike Premium themes, you cannot expect top-notch personalized support with Free themes.
  3. The update frequency, though good, is not as great as that of Premium themes.
  4. Most Free themes tend to be quite common and this can kill the ‘unique’ look of your blog.
  5. Lastly, there are several Free theme providers who offer themes with spam or phishing links. If you are downloading Free themes, the ideal method is to do so from reputable providers, instead of simply searching for themes on Google.

Tips for Choosing an Ideal Theme

Irrespective of it being Free or Premium, a theme should serve your purpose well. Only you can comment on what exactly your needs are, but it helps to bear a few basic points in mind when settling on a theme:

  1. Do not compromise on the features and functionality that you need. A good theme should provide ample features to suit both your present and future needs.
  2. Even though you may be well-versed in coding, look for a theme that is easy to use and modify. In other words, try to choose a theme that does not require rocket science for customization – the time and efforts invested in configuring a theme, if saved, can be invested elsewhere too.
  3. If you have a specific genre of website, such as a photo/video gallery, opt for a theme meant for that specific purpose.
  4. Ensure that the developers are active and the theme is regularly updated.
  5. Plus, check for the available support options. If it’s a Premium theme, ask for nothing less that personalized email support/ticketing system. And if it’s a Free theme, look for the level of activity in the forums (if any) and/or the frequency with which the developer responds to the comments on his website.
  6. Next up, bear in mind that the theme you are opting for should not be too old – this is especially true if you are choosing a Free theme. Web technology tends to get updated at a rapid pace, and it makes sense to opt for a theme that is updated.

Just in case even Premium themes fail to impress you, and you have the budget, consider opting for a Custom Design.

Which theme do you use for your blog? Is it free or Premium? Feel free to let us know in the comments!

February 20 2012

08:00

February 10 2012

16:00

Colorlabs Valentine’s WordPress Theme Promo – Over 70% Discount!

It’s that time of the year again when lovers feel a significant increase on their emotions. But whether you feel like showering yourself with positive emotions or not, Colorlabs is here to provide you with over 70% discount on each of their two best themes! The regular price for each theme is $49 for the standard pack, and $99 for the developer pack. With the Super Cool Discount Coupon inside, provided by Colorlabs, you will get each for $14 for the standard pack and $28 for the developer pack. Wow! What are you waiting for? Immerse yourself with love from Colorlabs!

Aside from the features listed below, I would like to point out some of the awesome things you’ll get when you purchase a theme from Colorlabs:

  • The two themes below have responsive layout, which means no matter what your screen’s size is it will respond to it and adjust itself accordingly, even the images. Try viewing the demo (link below the images) and adjust your browser’s size, or check it on your smart phone or tablet. Amazing!
  • For one website you’ll get a lifetime support on one domain for the standard pack, and unlimited domains for the developer pack.
  • Access to documentation and theme updates.
  • If you’re new to this kind of thing, Colorlabs will setup the theme for you!

But wait, where’s my Discount Coupon?! It’s at the end of this post!

Adam & Eve


In a relationship there are two sides, so why not have a two-sided blog too? This is actually my first time seeing a double-sided blog theme, which is actually fantastic considering that you and your partner can use each side for your daily ramblings! Imagine how cute that would be. But of course you can also use this theme aside from talking sweetly, or bitterly, with each other. Fantastic theme!

Click here for the demo.

Some Cool Features:

  • Double blogging – display two different blog posts side by side
  • Customized sidebar
  • Featured post sliders
  • Social network integration
  • Tons of customizable widgets

Invitora


With today’s technology, even invitations should not stop from being a very static piece of paper. Invitora revolutionizes the way people can send out invitation for their wedding. It is a one-paged theme that emulates a real-life wedding invitation, added with spice with the social media button to let the whole world know that someone is getting married!

Getting married soon? Make your wedding invitation fun by using Invitora!

Click here for the demo.

Some Cool Features:

  • Six color schemes
  • Photo gallery that will show photos from blog posts
  • Social network integration
  • Tons of customizable widgets
  • Page templates (contact page, blog page, gallery page)

Itching to get your hands on these themes?


Then use this coupon code for a 70% plus discount: AEE42

Coupon is valid from February 10, 2012 up to the 17th!

What now? Now you share this to as many friends as you can, across several social networks you are on!

January 23 2012

07:00

How To Display a Message on Old WordPress Posts

If you post helpful information on your blog chances are some of your early posts are now outdated as technologies have changed over the years. Let’s take a look at how we can add a mix of PHP tags to our WordPress themes to automatically add a small disclaimer or warning message to posts over X years old.

The little snippets of code we’re going to add to our theme will allow us to display a message above our post content, but only on posts over a number of years old. We might only want to display this message on certain types of posts, in my case it’s only my tutorials that have become outdated, so we’ll also add a category filter to target only old posts from a particular section of the blog.

The WordPress PHP code

<?php
$post_age = date('Y') - get_the_time('Y');
if($post_age > 2 && in_category('4') ) { ?>

<div class="old-post">
<p><strong>This post was originally published in <?php the_time('Y'); ?></strong><br />
The tips and techniques explained may be outdated.</p>
</div>

<?php } ?>

I’m no PHP expert so I had to do a little Google researching to actually figure this out. I stumbled over Horacio Bella’s Forrst post that provides the basic syntax, I then did a little modification to suit my own requirements.
The first line of code takes today’s year and minuses the year the post was published, which gives the post’s age in the $post_age variable. The script then checks if the post age is over 2 years old and is in category ID 4. You could change this filter using many of the WordPress Conditional Tags.
A line of simple HTML fleshes out a message to the user, explaining that the post is a few years old and therefore the content may be outdated. We can use the WordPress <?php the_time('Y'); ?> tag to automatically enter the year the post was published.
Paste this code into your single.php template file above the <?php the_content(); ?> tag.

The CSS styling

Once the code is in place in the template file and the unformatted message is appearing on the correct posts, it can then be styled up with CSS.

.old-post {
	margin: 0 0 20px 0; padding: 15px 20px;
	background: #e9e9eb url(images/grey-bg.png);
}
	.old-post p {
		background: url(images/warning.png) left no-repeat; padding: 0 0 0 65px;
		color: #717171;
	}

The old-post div is styled up with a textured grey background and plenty of padding around the edges. A warning icon is then added as a CSS background image on the paragraph element and the text indented with some left padding.

January 09 2012

07:00

November 14 2011

07:00

November 07 2011

07:00

Create a Typography Based WordPress Blog Theme

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve posted the design process of my latest WordPress theme. We’ve gone through the Photoshop design stage, the HTML5 and CSS3 coding stage and now we’ll go through the templating stage to finish off the Typo design as a fully working WordPress theme.

Typo WordPress theme demo

Revisit last week’s tutorial to see the coded prototype. Since that tutorial I’ve made a couple of little tweaks here and there, including support for Internet Explorer. If you’re new to the series the WordPress theme we’re creating is called Typo. It’s a design that’s entirely based on typography to allow the content to shine. To allow the design to work without the use of any graphical interface elements it is based on a strict grid to balance the design and tie everything together.

View the final WordPress theme demo

The WordPress template files

Being a pretty simple design we’ll be creating the theme with the usual group of template files. Our static HTML5 prototype file will be split up across these template files in order to create the various WordPress page types. All the image and CSS files are also copied over to the WordPress theme folder.

Style.css template file

The CSS styling from the static prototype is pasted into the WordPress style.css file, then a series of theme details are added to allow the theme to be recognised by WordPress.

Header.php template file

View the annoted code

The first portion of code from the prototype index.html file is copied into the header.php file. Everything from the Doctype to the end of the <head> is placed in the header.php file, then additional WordPress template tags are added to provide extra functionality or to replace sections of static code that need to be dynamic. Examples include <?php wp_title();?> to render the post or page title and <?php wp_list_pages('title_li=' ); ?> to display a list of all the pages. The title_li parameter removes the default setting that renders a “Pages” heading above the list.

Index.php template file

View the annoted code

The HTML code from where we ended with the header.php file is then copied right down to where the sidebar begins, then the WordPress loop is added to check for content. Our static HTML file includes three dummy posts, but these can be removed as WordPress will use the same layout for each post found using the code between the while and endwhile tags. Inside this loop the HTML structure still exists, but elements that need to be dynamic are swapped for the relevant WordPress PHP tag, for instance <?php the_permalink(); ?> will render the URL of the post inside the anchor and <?php the_category(', '); ?> will insert a link to the post’s category. All the dummy content from the HTML file can be swapped with just one tag: <?php the_content(''); ?>. WordPress will insert all the content saved in the database from the online editor in its place.
At the top and bottom of this file are calls to other template files in order to piece together a full page. <?php get_header(); ?> calls and inserts the header.php file while <?php get_sidebar(); ?> calls and inserts the sidebar.php file and so on.

Sidebar.php template file

View the annoted code

The next section of content from the HTML file is the sidebar area, between the two <aside> HTML5 tags. The same principle applies where any dummy content is swapped for a WordPress PHP tag to dynamically insert the content from the blog. Examples include <?php wp_list_categories(); ?>, with a series of parameters customising the layout. In this particular theme there’s a lot of custom tags used to allow the end user to personalise their theme using a special settings page. All the tags beginning with omr_ call for custom settings such as the About excerpt and social links. Check out BuildInternet’s handy guide to creating a custom settings page.

Footer.php template file

View the annoted code

The remaining code from the HTML file is then placed in the footer area. There’s no real dynamic elements in the footer, but an extra snippet of code that should be added is the <?php wp_footer(); ?> tag. This is where WordPress can insert any additional content from plugins, such as Javascript code.

Archive.php & Search.php template files

View the annoted code

View the annoted code

The main structure of the page is created using header.php, index.php, sidebar.php and footer.php, but the index.php file is only used on the homepage (if the homepage displays recent posts). Alternatives to the index.php file are used for different features of the blog, such as browsing posts based on a filter such as by category, by date or by author. Or when browsing posts based on a search result. This is where the archive.php and search.php files come into play. Their content is pretty much identical to the index.php file, except they have some additional titles to help describe the content that is being shown.

Page.php & Single.php template files

View the annoted code

View the annoted code

When a single post or page is viewed the index.php, archive.php or search.php files is switched out for either the page.php or single.php template files. These files are very similar again, but their layout often omits some features such as the anchor on the title, the post info, read more link and the pagination links as these are no longer required when the content is viewed individually. The single.php file also includes the comments section, which is called using the <?php comments_template(); ?> tag.

Comments.php template file

View the annoted code

The comments.php file is one of those files that you can re-use over almost every theme you make as it rarely changes. The whole comments list is created with one tag: <?php wp_list_comments(); ?>, then the actual content needs styling with CSS. The file then includes the comments form.

Finishing touches

Once all the template files have been created they can be installed and tested on a live WordPress blog. Now is the time to alter settings and add a range of content to test the theme works under a range of scenarios. I always create a post with a range of headings, blockquotes and lists to style up every potential piece of content.

The final theme demo

Typo WordPress theme demo

The whole process of building a theme basically involves pasting a bunch of template tags in between your HTML. Finding the correct tag to use is usually pretty simple thanks to the WordPress Codex which lists the the whole library of template tags available. Otherwise, using a blank dev theme can be useful so you can copy and paste snippets of code where you need them.

View the Typo WordPress theme demo

October 24 2011

07:00

Create a Typography Based Blog Design in Photoshop

The tutorial posts where I go through the process of creating a complete WordPress theme from Photoshop concept right through to coding the template files always go down well, so let’s start with another tutorial series based on my latest WordPress theme design. Follow this tutorial where we’ll lay out a typography based blog design over a strict underlying grid, then stay tuned for the next tutorials where we’ll build the concept into a HTML5 prototype then finish it off as a fully working WordPress theme.

Typo WordPress Theme design

The WordPress theme we’ll be creating this time is called Typo. It’s a design that’s entirely based on typography to allow the content to shine. To allow the design to work without the use of any graphical interface elements it will be based on a strict grid to balance the design and tie everything together.

View the Typo WordPress theme concept

Before getting started with our design we need to set up a grid system in our Photoshop document. I have a ready made grid document using 12 columns from the handy generator at grid.mindplay.dk. I also created a pattern overlay to lay out a 24px baseline grid.

Fill the background layer of the Photoshop document with a light grey, then add a couple of percent of Noise (Filter > Noise > Add Noise). Change the settings to Gaussian and Monochromatic.

Save one of the handy seamless paper texture files from LostandTaken and open it up into the website design document. Position it in the top left corner.

Desaturate the texture, change the blending mode to Darken then adjust the levels to brighten up the image to match the lighter grey background, allowing the details of the texture to add to the noise of the background.

This design is going to be entirely made up of typographic elements, including the logo. We’ll be using Google Web Fonts later in the series so for now we can mock up the layout using the chosen typeface, which in this case is Droid Serif.

Lay out the navigation links according to the grid columns and baseline. Number each link for a touch of style, then adjust the colour of the number so it’s not as prominent.

Leave plenty of white space before moving onto the main content. The heading of the blog post is an important element so choose a larger font size.

Drag a text box to create a passage of dummy text. 14pt makes for a comfortable size for body text, with 24pt leading to match the baseline.

Any links in the document should be easily identified, so mock these up with a blue fill, italic styling and an underline.

Group all the items that make up the first sample blog post, then duplicate the group and align the post underneath the original leaving a few lines of white space between them.

At the bottom of the document add a couple of links to previous and next pages. Use the same link styling but increase the size to give these elements more prominence.

Begin adding the sidebar content in line with the main content using the same baseline grid lines. The sidebar headers aren’t as important, so a smaller font size can be used to continue the hierarchy of the page elements.

Some lists of links can be doubled up next to each other while adhering to the grid layout, while others will span over multiple columns.

Fill a rectangle to create a search box element. The search feature is one of the only elements where styling beyond the basic typography is required to make it easily recognisable.

Double click the search box layer to add some Layer Styles. Add a subtle Inner Shadow, a light grey Color Overlay and a thin 1px grey stroke.

Align the label text inside the search box with the baseline grid. This will imbalance the vertical margins so we’ll have to break the grid to cut the search box down to size for the spacing to match.

To the right of the search bar add a stroke to a small circle to create a magnifying glass icon. Finish it off with a 5px diagonal line to represent the handle.

When viewed without the baseline grid the search bar looks perfectly balanced. Elements like buttons and search bars often need sizing outside of the grid to allow the enclosed text to remain on the grid lines and still appear balanced.

Finish off the page with a black border along the bottom edge. Fill a selection that matches the height of two baseline grid lines. Change the blending mode to Overlay.

Add some small elements to the footer area to finish off the overall page design.

Despite only using typographic elements without any kind of interface or images the page still appears interesting and inviting thanks to the baseline grid that ties everything together.

Typo WordPress Theme design

Without the gridlines the page elements balance nicely to give a well laid out design with plenty of white space around each section. The hierarchy of the titles and headings help draw the users eye to the most important information, while the blue links immediately show what’s clickable.

View the Typo WordPress theme concept

September 05 2011

07:00

How To Create a Simple WordPress Blog Theme

So far in this WordPress theme tutorial series we’ve put together a visual concept in Photoshop and coded up a working prototype in HTML and CSS. Now let’s take our static web page files and create a fully working WordPress theme by splitting up the code over the various template files and injecting the relevant WordPress PHP tags.

View the theme demo

The site we’re building is a WordPress theme called Ticket Stub. It’s based on the idea of movie review, but the clean layout and basic styling keeps it generic enough to be used for any topic.

View the final WordPress theme demo

WordPress template files

WordPress template files

A WordPress theme is made up of various PHP template files, each of which is called to render out a specific type of webpage. For instance the single.php file renders the blog post view, whereas archive.php renders lists of posts based on some kind of filter. In the case of this theme, we’ll be using the index.php, header.php, sidebar.php, footer.php, archive.php, search.php, 404.php, comments.php, single.php, page.php and functions.php files as well as style.css, our own CSS folder containing IE fixes and a special functions folder containing files to create an admin settings page.

Style.css template file

WordPress stylesheet info

The first step when creating any WordPress theme is to customise and set up the theme details in the style.css file. Paste in the entire CSS from the prototype, then edit the theme details. These details will show up in the themes section of the admin dashboard to identify the theme.

Header.php template file

View the annotated code

It makes sense to work from the top down, so open up your index.html prototype webpage and the header.php WordPress theme file. Paste in the contents of the index.html file from the top right down to where the main content begins. All we then need to do is replace key elements with WordPress tags, which inject the dynamic information when the page is viewed live.
Examples of these code snippets include <?php the_title(); ?> to render out each post or page’s title, <?php bloginfo('stylesheet_url'); ?> to insert the link to the WordPress stylesheet and <?php bloginfo('rss2_url'); ?> to insert a link to the blog RSS feed.
Elsewhere in the code, a spot of custom coding is added to allow for a logo to be selected via an admin settings page as this theme will eventually be made public.

Index.php template file

View the annotated code

The index.php is one of the core files that is called to render out a complete page. The index is usually used to display the blog homepage. The file begins with the tag <?php get_header(); ?>, which calls and inserts the contents of the header.php file in its place. At the bottom of the document are also tags to fetch the sidebar and footer, which when combined in the browser form the full web page.
Inside the content div the WordPress loop checks for content, then the following code is wrapped in a while statement which basically repeats for each post found. The HTML that makes up the blog post intro is pasted in, then key elments are replaced with WordPress tags to allow the content to be dynamic. So <?php the_permalink(); ?> inserts the link to the post, <?php the_title(); ?> inserts the post title and <?php the_content(); ?> inserts the actual post content.
Some tags have special parameters that allow you to control or edit how the tags works. An example is the previous and next links within the pagination section. The text used in these tags can be controlled by entering new content between the brackets.

Sidebar.php template file

View the annotated code

The next file to be called near the bottom of the index.php file is the sidebar. All the HTML from the prototype from the bottom of the content down to the footer is pasted into this sidebar.php file. Tags such as <?php wp_list_pages(); ?> and <?php wp_list_categories(); ?> are used to list out the pages and categories stored in the WordPress install. These two tags also have a range of parameters to customise their appearance. title_li= removes the default heading above the list, show_count=0 removes the post count from beside each category, hide_empty=0 shows the category even if it has no posts and exclude=1 hides the default “Uncategorized” category from the list.

Footer.php template file

View the annotated code

In the case of this design, the majority of the footer is just plain old HTML. Some other designs may include a large footer with a wealth of information. Any of the tags can be used anywhere in the template files, so you could list out the pages and the categories in the footer if you so pleased. It’s always handy to create that prototype HTML and CSS concept beforehand, as your theme will be ready to go as all the content inserted by the WordPress tags will already be styled with your CSS.
The only major tag used in the footer is <?php wp_footer(); ?>, which designates where WordPress can inject any additional footer related content. A similar tag is also used in the header.

Archive.php & Search.php template files

View the annotated code

View the annotated code

Two template files that work in a similar way to the index.php file are archive.php and search.php. These two files can be created as duplicates of the original, with just a couple of edits and adjustments. The archive.php file is used whenever posts are being displayed along with some kind of filter, such as posts in a certain category or from a particular date. To give the viewer an insight into the types of posts they are browsing a series of if statements can control which header is inserted above the content. For example is_category checks the viewer is browsing is particular category, if so the title of the category is inserted into a H2 using <?php single_cat_title(); ?>. The rest of the content is identical to the index.
In the case of the search.php file, a heading is added with the code <?php the_search_query(); ?> injecting whatever queries the viewer is searching for.

Single.php & Page.php template files

View the annotated code

View the annotated code

We’ve completed the template files that collate various pieces of content, now let’s code up the files that actually display this content. Single.php is the file used to display a blog post, page.php is used to display a page. Each file still begins with a loop to check for the content being requested, then the title is dynamically inserted using the same <?php the_title(); ?> tag, this time without the surrounding anchor. Also appearing in the single.php template is the custom thumbnail code which checks if a post thumbnail has been selected and displays it, or if not it displays a generic image in its place.
One tag that can be added to both the single and page templates is <?php comments_template(); ?>, but is most commonly reserved for just the single.php template. This tag injects the commenting system into the layout, which calls the comments.php template file.

Comments.php template file

View the annotated code

The comments.php file covers the whole list of comments and the comment submission form. Inside the file there’s a bunch of comment specific tags that enable you to build a thorough comments section. <?php comments_number(); ?> is a simple tag used to display the number of comments on a post, with parameters allowing you to edit the wording as you please. The comments file has its own mini loop, <?php if ( have_comments() ) : ?> checks to see if there are any comments on the post, then the whole list of comments is simply inserted using just one tag: <?php wp_list_comments(); ?>. The comments file has its own set of pagination links, which combined with the WordPress discussion settings allow you to split comments over multiple pages.

Finishing touches

Theme content testing

Once all the main template files have been filled with HTML content and WordPress tags it can be installed and tested. Create a series of blog posts and alter the posts-per-page setting to check the pagination buttons display correctly, add a range of different HTML to a post using various headers, lists and quotes in order to style up everything in your CSS file. We never included a design for the comments section in the original tutorial, so now would be a good time to conceptualise and mock up the comments section using a mixture of Firebug and a CSS editor. All the comment section is created from one tag, rather than individual tags being inserted into your original HTML, so styling this section up using the working theme as reference is the easiest approach.

The final theme demo

View the theme demo

The whole process of building a theme basically involves pasting a bunch of template tags in between your HTML. Many of the most common tags are listed out in this post, but you’ll also want to keep the WordPress Codex open in order to refer to the whole library of template tags available. On most occasions there’s a tag out there that will help you achieve the exact function you have in mind.

View the TicketStub theme demo

August 22 2011

07:00

How To Create a Blog Theme Concept in Photoshop

In the next few tutorials posts we’re going to go through the process of building a WordPress theme, starting today with the initial design concept in Photoshop. Follow this step by step walkthrough of the creation of the design concept for my Ticket Stub theme, which is based on a movie review type blog. We’ll create a full page design ready for coding up into a fully working website.

The theme we’ll be building over the next couple of posts is named Ticket Stub. It’s a clean and simple blog layout that’s set up as a movie review blog, but is generic enough to be used for any kind of website.

View the large scale blog theme concept

We’ll start by creating the background texture tile. Open up Photoshop and add a spot from a subtle grunge brush in the centre of the document.

Grab the rectangular marquee tool and draw a square selection somewhere in the centre. Invert the selection and delete out the excess. It’s trial and error to find a section that repeats without any obvious edges.

Reduce the opacity of the texture to around 30%, then see if it repeats correctly by duplicating the square to cover a larger area. Use the Clone tool to delete any unwanted particles in the original file.

With the original texture file selected go to Edit > Define Patterns to save the swatch. Fill the background of your web design file with this newly created pattern file.

Outline a 960px centre area in the document and fill it with white. I use the marquee tool by right clicking a selection and choosing Transform Selection. In the top bar you can then enter specific dimensions.

Add a very subtle Drop Shadow effect to the content rectangle. I’m using settings of 6% opacity, 0 distance, 0 spread and a size of 10px. Also give the layer a very fine 1px grey stroke to help define the edge.

The theme’s default logo can be added to the space in the header area. Fill a rectangle with a deep red.

Add a Gradient Overlay using the Overlay blending mode. Reduce the opacity in order to tone down the impact of the gradient to leave a subtle change of colour.

Add a 1px Stroke using a darker shade of red, then add an Inner Glow effect using a lighter shade. Adjust the options so the Inner Glow has a normal blending mode, 100% choke and 1px size.

Use the subtle grunge brushes to add a textured overlay to the logo using both light and dark red tones.

Add a spot of text to the logo. Here I’m using the American Typewriter font, with size and tracking adjustments on the word ‘Stub’.

Paste in a couple of star graphics from Illustrator and add a subtle drop shadow to the text to finish off the logo with a retro style cinema ticket stub appearance.

Add a couple of icons to the upper right area of the header for RSS and Twitter links. All text will be set in Helvetica in this design, while a deep red has been selected as the global link colour.

Use a guide to highlight a margin from the edge of the content area, then begin fleshing out a sample blog post with header and post image. Set the header to uppercase to help add typographic emphasis to these elements.

Generic dummy text can be used to represent the introductory content for the post. Set up the font at a legible 14px with a generous line height of around 24px to help with readability. Black on white would be way too contrasting, so a mid to light grey is selected for the body text.

Blog posts also have snippets of information that are displayed with every post. These can be included in their own panel. Draw a grey rectangle across the width of the column and add a 1px stroke of the same colour.

Set up an Inner Glow effect using the Normal blending mode, white, 100% choke and 1px in size to create a double border effect.

Use the same body copy text styling to add the date, category information and read more link for this sample post. Don’t forget to highlight links in the red link colour.

The date and category can be grouped together, separated by a little star graphic, while the read more link works well aligned to the right to suggest that it leads further.

Group all the elements that make up a sample post, then make a duplicate and position it underneath. Adjust the title to something much longer to plan how a longer sentence would wrap.

Use the same panel styling used in the post excerpts to create button elements for the older and newer post links.

The same button styling can be used in the sidebar to allow for more prominent links to the blog pages and categories. Align the text to the right in these elements.

Create a search bar using a finely outlined rectangle, then replicate the style of the icons in the header with a grey circle.

Use an Elliptical marquee as the base for a magnifying glass icon. Right click and select stroke to give the selection a 2px white outline, then finish off the icon with a handle using the Line tool.

It’s important to provide consistency throughout any design, using the same link colour, button styling and similar icon designs.

A short About excerpt in the sidebar helps fill out the empty space and provides another link through to other areas of the website.

The sidebar currently blends into the content area a little too much. Draw a light grey rectangle down the right side of the design to enclose all the sidebar elements. This helps the content with its brighter white background stand out with more prominence alongside the slightly darker grey.

Finish off the design with a back to top link, again creating a little icon based on the same style as those in the header.

This leaves our concept for our blog theme homepage complete. Next time we’ll begin chopping up the design and creating it as a coded webpage with HTML and CSS.

View the large scale blog theme concept

March 21 2011

07:00

How to Build a Basic Portfolio WordPress Theme

If you’ve been following parts one and two of this portfolio website tutorial series you will already know how to design the concept in Photoshop and build a working demo in HTML/CSS. Now let’s take the design and convert it into a basic WordPress theme so you can easily manage and update your website through the popular WordPress application.

View the WordPress portfolio theme

The theme we’re going to create is going to be made specifically for use as a portfolio website, so many of the usual features of WordPress themes will be omitted in this guide. Our website concept isn’t a blog, so this tutorial is aimed more at using WordPress as a simple CMS. With that said, we’ll still use the ‘post’ template to showcase our portfolio items, so we’re basically manipulating the core features of WordPress to suit our needs.

View the final portfolio theme demo

WordPress template files

Because we’re using WordPress as a basic CMS, we won’t be making use of some default template files such as archive.php or comments.php. However we’ll be introducing some additional template files as custom pages.

Style.css template file

Before working on any of the actual .php template files we first need to add the entire CSS styling the style.css WordPress stylesheet in our theme folder. We then need to customise the details at the top of the file so WordPress will recognise the theme in the Appearances section of the admin dashboard.

Header.php template file

The first template to work on is header.php. Paste in the upper portion of the HTML concept, right up to where the main content div begins. We then need to go through the code and swap out specific sections with WordPress template tags, which will inject dynamic content into the theme. <?php bloginfo('stylesheet_url'); ?> will automatically link up the style.css CSS stylesheet, while <?php bloginfo('template_url'); ?> can be used to place a link to the template directory in order to link up other files.
At the bottom of the <head>, the template tag <?php wp_head(); ?> is used to allow WordPress to insert other code from plugins etc.
In the navigation menu, the series of list items are replaced with the template tag <?php wp_list_pages('title_li='); ?>, which will automatically inject a linked list item for every page published in WordPress.
Our design uses a different style of header for the homepage and the inner pages. We can replicate this in the WordPress theme using a conditional tag. is_front_page() checks if the page is being used as the homepage, if it is it uses the first portion of the code. If not, the header is given the class of ‘page’ and the <h1> is filled with the tag <?php wp_title(''); ?> to render out the title of the post or page.

Home.php template file

Usually the index.php file is used as the homepage on a WordPress blog, but in our case we’re going to be using a static page, which is where the custom page file home.php comes in. At the top of the home.php file is a snippet of code which identifies the custom page. The rest of the template file is filled with lots of PHP…
<?php get_header(); ?> and <?php get_footer(); ?> at the top and bottom of the file are used to insert the header.php and footer.php files in order to render out a complete HTML page.
The WordPress loop then checks for content, which is injected into the page using the <?php the_content(''); ?> template tag.
Underneath our main content we then have another loop, this time using query posts. The <?php query_posts('cat=11&showposts=4'); ?> code checks for posts from category 11 (the portfolio category) and displays the latest 4 items. This replicates the ‘latest work’ section of the design.
For each of these portfolio items we then use the code <?php $image = get_post_meta($post->ID, 'portfolio_image', true); ?> to fetch the ‘portfolio_image’ custom field and set it up as a variable. This will then be used to insert the portfolio thumbnail into the design.

Footer.php template file

The remaining HTML from the static page is then pasted into the footer.php file. This particular design doesn’t require many more template tags, just <?php wp_footer(); ?> to allow WordPress to insert code destined for the footer (an Analytics plugin for example). The other snippet of code is just a handy page load speed indicator which can help visualise the difference when using caching plugins.

Page.php template file

The page.php file is the template file used for generic pages added to the site. The contents are similar to the home.php file, with the exception of the additional loop that checks for portfolio items. All we have is the links to the header.php and footer.php files, the WordPress loop and the tag to insert the page content.
The About page of our design doesn’t contain anything unusual, so this page would be generated using the page.php file. Others, like home, portfolio and contact all use custom page templates.

Portfolio.php template file

The portfolio.php file is another custom page. This file is very similar to home.php as it uses the query posts script to look for blog posts in the portfolio category. The main difference is the parameters of this query posts script doesn’t limit the number to 4 and therefore displays every item found. Each post contains links to that post’s individual page using the <?php the_permalink(); ?> template tag. This is simply inserted into the href attribute of the anchors.

Contact.php template file

Another custom page template used in this build is contact.php. This page contains the contact form code and links to the social profiles within the two divs that are unique to this page. The social links alone could have been pasted into the HTML portion of the WordPress page editor, but the code used for the contact form would be stripped out so it’s best to hard code it directly into the theme file.

Single.php template file

The single.php file is identical to the basic page.php template. It only needs to include links to the header.php and footer.php files, the WordPress loop and the content tag. The rest will be generated using the online WordPress editor. Usually a link to the comments.php template file would be included in single.php, but in this build we’re not making use of comments as the theme is meant to be used as a simple CMS.

Extending the theme to work as a blog

Our theme is only built as a simple CMS that accommodates pages and the odd blog post in the form of portfolio pieces. If we wanted to extend the site to add a blog, we could develop the archive.php and comments.php files. We’ve separated the portfolio posts into their own category, so a list of normal blog posts could be generated by simply excluding this category from the query posts script in archive.php.

Adjusting the WordPress settings

In order to align our WordPress install with our theme we need to tweak the settings. First we need to create our four pages of home, about, portfolio and contact and type in the basic content. Before publishing each page, we then need to select the custom page templates for the home, portfolio and contact pages in order for them to display their unique functionality and content.

WordPress by default uses the index.php file to display a list of recent posts, so we need to head over to the Reading tab of the settings and change the front page to display the home.php template.

Finally, we need to add our series of portfolio pieces as posts. Create a new category named Portfolio, then begin creating posts. Add a title, then fill out the content with text and images using the WordPress uploader. Don’t forget to upload the small thumbnail image and copy the URL. This URL will then be pasted into the custom field area alongside ‘portfolio_image’. The script in the code will then take this custom field and use the location of the image to display the thumbnail of each portfolio post. Everything in the main content area will then be shown when the user clicks the ‘see more’ link and lands on the page generated by single.php.

The final WordPress theme demo

View the WordPress portfolio theme

Our basic WordPress theme is now complete. The portfolio website is powered and updated using the WordPress engine and can be enhanced with plugins to optimise for search engines. Now the core site has been built, all updates and additions can all be made via the online dashboard, no more code editing.

View the final portfolio theme demo

February 07 2011

07:00

How To Design a Custom YouTube Background

Have a YouTube channel? Want to customise it with your own background design? Follow this guide to find out how to create a cool theme for a gaming channel, then download the free template for use in your own projects.

Custom YouTube design

The design we’ll be creating is a dark military theme for my new gaming channel. Subtle camouflage patterns, grungy background textures and an array of awesome weaponry all combine to form an eye catching background design to entice viewers and subscribers.

View the final YouTube background design

YouTube background template

Like many social websites, YouTube allows the cusomisation of your personal profile through the uploading of a background image and the modification of the profile’s colour scheme. In order to make sure our design fits well with the YouTube website and its various palettes we need to base it on a template. Here’s a YouTube design template I made earlier, download it and feel free to use it in all your future projects. The template highlights where each palette is located and shows how much of the page is seen by common monitor resultions.

Download the YouTube design template (PSD)

The first step towards our dark gaming channel design is a camo pattern background. Here I’m using my free repeating camo patterns I posted on Blog.SpoonGraphics, with a slight colour adjustment.

Next, draw a large selection around the main YouTube container from the template and fill it with black on a new layer.

Download a grungy texture like this one from LostandTaken and scale it into position over the black area in the design. Reduce the opacity to tone down the grungy effect.

Toggle on the template and CMD+click the palettes layer thumbnail to load the selection. Fill these palettes with a black background and reduce the opacity so the texture can be seen through them.

Create a new layer then right click the selection and choose Stroke. Enter 1px with the color White. Change this layer to Soft Light.

Use the Eraser tool with a soft brush setting at 50% opacity to grunge up these borders by erasing out random areas.

Being a military themed gaming channel means we need guns, lots of guns! Scour the stock photo websites for various weaponry. I originally developed this design for an Expendables Movie poster tutorial, check out that post for more details!

Open up each weapon photo into Photoshop and desaturate, then use the Magic Wand to quickly make a selection of the object.

Go to Select > Modify > Contract and enter 2px in the settings. This helps clip out any unwanted white area that the Magic Wand might have included in the selection.

Clip out every weapon image you find and compile the selections in a new document. Aim to find a range of weapons of various sizes, including knives.

The images won’t be in proportion with each other, so scale and order each weapon according to their actual size.

Starting with the largest weapon and moving down, rotate and position the guns so they flare out in a kind of wing shape.

If the tones of some weapons don’t match, quickly adjust the Levels to clip their shadows and highlights.

The smaller weapons may need duplicating to fill out their area of the wing. Stack these weapons to give the impression of layered feathers.

Finally arrange the knives until the rotation of elements reaches the 180 degrees mark. Again stack and layer these objects to fill in any gaps.

When all the weapons have made up a complete wing shape, group them together and paste them into the main YouTube design document.

Scale and position the wing behind the content panel. Take into consideration the common monitor resolution guides to ensure the weapons will fit within the screen area of most viewers.

Paint in a blue overlay over the weapons to add a cool colour cast. This blue will also be sampled for use as the link colour to tie the design together.

Duplicate the group of wings, right click and selection flip horizontally, then position the duplicate in the same place on the opposite side.

Toggle on the design template to double check the scale of the design and its elements. This design will fit into 1440px resolutions, but the tips of the larger guns will be cropped off on anything smaller.

We also need to take into consideration larger monitor resolutions and browser window scrolling, so add a black fill to fade out the edges of the design to a solid colour.

Crop the design as tightly as possible, then save the image. Compress the JPEG settings as far as you can while keeping an acceptable image quality. The max filesize YouTube accepts is 256kb.

Log into your YouTube profile and edit your channel. Upload the background image and deselect the repeat option. Then go through and edit the design background, text and link colours. Also remember to set the transparency of the YouTube wrapper and palettes to 100% so the underlying background can be seen.

Custom YouTube design

Check out the final design over at my gaming channel on YouTube. Notice how the palettes sit nicely against the containers of the background. If you’re gaming fan, particularly of the Call of Duty series, why not consider subscribing? ;-)

View the final YouTube background design

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