When I was searching for a theme a few days ago, I really wanted a theme that allowed as much “real estate” as possible for articles, while still displaying the necessary bloggy bits, e.g. archive links, search box, “meta” box, etc. This requirement makes three design features very desirable: a smaller masthead; one sidebar (plus articles=two columns); and a floating-width article column (to take advantage of the full browser window). And of course the theme has to be aesthetically pleasing.
I came up with a list of about a dozen themes that had some feature(s) that I liked. The list is below, in reverse alpha order.
- Yadda, by John Hesch, has a clean, minimalist look, but the fixed width layout is a show-stopper for me.
- Wuhan, by Meng Gao, looks nice, but another fixed width layout, and the masthead is a bit too big for me.
- Steam, by Samir M. Nassar, fits all my criteria and looks clean. In fact, this theme looks even better than I remember! I will be adding this to the themes on my blog. The only minor issue I have with this theme is that several short articles one after another seem to blend together. Also I would prefer to add a calendar to the archives box. (Easy enough to fix.)
- Spirit, by BB Iverson, looks great. It’s a 3-column layout, which I didn’t want, but it does have a short masthead and fluid width so it fills the browser window. I’m also not a fan of textured backgrounds, mostly due to the bandwidth. (The memory of a 33 kb/s modem link is still fresh in my memory.)
- Simple Green, by Priss, is another minimalist theme. In fact, at under 5 kB (yes, 5 kilobytes!) it may be the tightest theme which actually does the job.
- The theme “Sharepoint like” looks very good, but the WRC Viewer links for it are broken. Alex King’s theme contest page has the theme available for download, but some of the theme text (not documentation, viewable blog text) is in Greek or Russian or something. Another minimalist theme (amazing how they keep turning up in this list…), full window width, single sidebar layout. I like it quite a bit, but didn’t load it earlier because I wasn’t able to find a download for it until today. I’ll be translating the text over the next day or two.
- Psycho looks pretty good, except the blog title runs under the rest of the sidebar for multi-word titles. Probably easy to fix. I like how the articles stand out from each other on this theme.
- Journalized is very nice, especially the blue theme. The only thing I don’t like is the 3-column layout, but this theme may be worth breaking the single-sidebar guideline.
- Head (get your mind out of the gutter!), another theme by Priss, is very striking. Alas, it is a 3-column layout, and multiple entries on the same day blend together a bit.
- “Green ACT” looks good, although it’s a fixed-width layout. But the real problem is that I can’t find a download for it. 🙁
- “Fullwidth” (available on Weblogs.us theme repository) has a very nice layout with a high proportion of real estate set aside for article text. But this layout is just too grey for me.
Already mentioned in an earlier post were “Elvgren” and “Borderline Chaos”, both of which are already installed on my blog. See the earlier article for my opinions on these themes.
Whoops! I just found out that “Steam” doesn’t include the theme switcher. I was able to get back to my other themes by browsing index.php?wptheme=Borderline+Chaos. I’ll have to add the theme switcher to “Steam” ASAP!