Adaption, Bosco & Isola – Three New Free Themes

A trio of themes from Automattic designers has launched in the WordPress.org Theme Directory.

Designed by Tammie Lister, Adaption has a bold, contemporary, vibe. It features full-width images, two widget areas, and an optional third column.

Adaption

Adaption

Looking for an uncluttered single-column theme with strong typography? Check out Bosco, crafted by Frank Klein.

Bosco

Bosco

Isola was inspired by a “less is more” philosophy and influenced by mobile design patterns. This minimalist theme was designed by Joen Asmussen, with web development by Caroline Moore.

Isola

Isola

All three themes are responsive, and look gorgeous on devices both small and large.

Meet Kelly

Kelly, a colorful personal-blogging theme designed by Automattic’s Kelly Hoffman, is now available for download from the WordPress.org Theme Directory. Here’s how Kelly explains the creative inspiration for her namesake:

I really wanted to keep it simple but fun, which is why I went with bold splashes of color and large type. I went with the complementary color palate of reddish orange and green as a fun reference to my red hair and green eyes.

Kelly

Pictorico

Spring Theme Launches on WordPress.org

Over the last few months, Automattic has released a half-dozen new free themes in the WordPress.org theme directory, ranging from stylish personal blogging themes to photo-intensive portfolio themes.

Meet the class of 2014:

Designed by Automattic’s Dan Hauk, Pictorico is a snazzy portfolio theme with large featured images and a classy post slider.

Pictorico

Caroline Moore launched three flexible blog-oriented themes of her own design: Fictive, as well as Quadra and Circa, both child themes of Hexa. All take attractive advantage of post formats, with charming use of colorful geometric icons throughout.

Hexa Circa Quadra

Tonal is Tammie Lister‘s debut solo theme in the WordPress.org directory. Tonal’s graceful, minimalist look also comes with a bonus: change the site’s background color to a shade of your liking and the theme automatically adjusts the typography to ensure your text stays clean and readable.

Tonal

Musicians have been taking full advantage of Singl‘s strong, contemporary vibe. Crafted by Thomas Guillot, it serves its creative niche with polish and panache.

Singl

We hope you enjoy our Spring Collection!

ryu

Behind the Design of the Ryu Theme

Much like I did for the Further theme, I’d like to share my thoughts behind Ryu — the free theme I released recently.

Yes, you guessed right. It’s named after the main character of the classic game. If you know why the character was named Ryu, you will understand why I named this theme Ryu, too. :)

I mentioned this in my previous post about the Further theme, Behind the Design of the Further Theme, too that I strongly believe that we, as WordPress theme designers, should create amazing themes for specific purposes/audiences rather than multi-purpose themes that are just good. In many cases, themes designed for a specific purpose or a targeted audience perform better when people use them for that purpose. I’ve created Ryu specifically for the Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter generation of personal bloggers.

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The Recipe for a Great Theme

Have you ever looked at a WordPress theme and thought, “Man, I wish I could do that!” Well, here’s a little secret: You totally can.

Yes, you can make a theme, and you don’t need to be a theme expert to do so. You just need three things:

  • An idea,
  • a healthy dose of curiosity,
  • and time.

An Idea

Until five years ago, I’d never touched a WordPress theme. I didn’t have a lot of experience, I’d never experimented with dynamic programming languages, and I’d never had to design for a vast and varied audience.

But what I did have were ideas – how about a theme for babies? Or a theme with changing seasons? Or a theme with animated fish? I didn’t know how to make these themes happen – I just knew I wanted to make them.

Without an idea, there is no theme! So before you do anything, figure out what you want to build. Have a goal to strive for, write up some notes, sketch it out.

It doesn’t have to be mind-blowing, or revolutionary, or the Next Big Thing, as long as you’re excited about it. You’re probably not going to make history with your first theme, but why let that deter you from making something really cool?

A Healthy Dose of Curiosity

If you like to learn, you’ve already taken a huge step toward becoming a themer. WordPress changes often, so theming techniques change often, too. You don’t have to venture far for learning material – you’re looking at a wealth of theme-makin’ goodness right here at ThemeShaper!

But I encourage you not to get mired in the technical details. You know how you may use Photoshop, but you probably don’t use one-tenth of its capabilities? Theming is like that. You don’t need to know how to do it all – you just need to figure out one piece at a time.

Think of your theme as a puzzle, and break it into smaller components – a fixed sidebar, an animated drop-down menu, a customizable header that changes colors – together they’re an intimidating obstacle, but if you tackle each piece individually, you’re likely to find it’s not as difficult as you think.

Also keep in mind, you don’t necessarily need to start from scratch (unless you want to!) Maybe you’re less interested in coding a theme, but you want to illustrate one – you can always build a child theme, or use a starter theme, so you don’t have to dive as deeply into the code.

Here are some of our favorite ThemeShaper resources to get you started:

And finally, tutorials have their place, but don’t be afraid to play around! Some of the best learning experiences and discoveries are hands on. Remember: There are very few things you could do to your WordPress theme that a quick Ctrl+Z can’t fix.

Time

We’ve come to the part I can’t help with. You have the idea, you have the tools, now you just have to make it happen. Easier said than done, but as they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Some of the best themes take weeks, months, or possibly even years, to come to fruition.

But beware: Theming is addictive. If you spend enough time with it, you may find yourself staying up late into the night to squash a CSS float bug, or research scripts for a post slider, or find just the right shade of blue for that navigation menu. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

I hope this inspires you to give theming a chance if you haven’t already – it’s a great opportunity to try something new and make something cool!