Cool, customizable WordPress
May 31, 2006 1:53 PM   Subscribe

Help me find a cool, customizable WordPress theme.

I have decided to Get My Own Blog. I installed WordPress without incident, but I can't quite find what I'm looking for in terms of layout: clean, simple, and elegant, and somewhat customizable. Some blog designs I like are Daring Fireball and Kottke. I really like the Hemingway theme, but I am not sure I want to stray as far as it does from the typical blog layout. I would also like to make my own header and change the type colors. I guess I have quite a laundry list of requirements, but I'm hoping some MeFites have run across something that fits. And if you have other cool tips or tricks for WordPress, I'd love to hear about them too.
posted by lackutrol to Computers & Internet (20 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Well...every wordpress theme is customizable. You can always open up the CSS and change what you will, so I'm a bit unsure as to what you mean.

If you're just looking for "cool", I'm a huge fan of K2 for its web 2.0-ness. If you just want to browse more themes than you can stand, try the Wordpress Theme Viewer.
posted by griffey at 2:14 PM on May 31, 2006

Response by poster: I was a little overwhelmed by the theme viewer, I'll admit. I guess what I mean by "customizable" is "easy to customize." I have a decent beginner's ability with CSS, but WordPress's many different files are hard for me. A guide presented like "here's where you control the text colors" and "here's what you need to do to accomodate a different-sized header" would be something I'd be grateful for.
posted by lackutrol at 2:28 PM on May 31, 2006

Personalize Your Wordpress Blog
posted by gsh at 2:40 PM on May 31, 2006 [1 favorite]

K2 is a great place to start. It, and the new themes it's inspiring, are designed to be flexible so that you don't have to hack into the CSS. On the other hand, if you like hacking into the CSS, it's harder to get it to do what you want.
posted by danb at 2:40 PM on May 31, 2006

True Blue is a very good looking theme.
posted by tumble at 2:51 PM on May 31, 2006

I think you should jump on board with Hemmingway. With a little tweaking, you can achieve the general look and feel of it without completely abandoning conventional blog format (for instance, see the link in my profile).
posted by panoptican at 2:55 PM on May 31, 2006

A guide presented like "here's where you control the text colors"...would be something I'd be grateful for.

I know very little about coding and CSS. I went through the code for the theme I used, changed it just to see what it would do, and littered my CSS files with comments that were, literally, what you say here.

My CSS files are thus a bit messy to the knowledgeable CSS'er, but as an average doofus, I now know where every changeable element lives.

Most importantly, when you start tweaking, save a backup copy of your original files, and remember that CTRL-Z is your friend; anything you do can be undone.
posted by pdb at 3:18 PM on May 31, 2006

Furthermore, if you are interested in doing something similar to what I did, email me and I'll send you the code.
posted by panoptican at 4:01 PM on May 31, 2006

My favorite simple style that I am not using is the newish Barthelme theme. That site has a few simple themes which are pretty easy to build off of with just a little css knowhow.
posted by jessamyn at 4:46 PM on May 31, 2006

You may have to give us your laundry list. It's easy enough to change colors and fonts with CSS, but customizing the structure of the page in any way is unnecessarily difficult in WordPress as of the last time I tried it, so that may be hard. In general, when looking at themes, find a layout that you like, (1-2-3 columns? Menu left, right, top? Footer menu?) and then change the actual look of the page afterwards.
posted by Hildago at 7:36 PM on May 31, 2006

Another vote for K2.
posted by atom128 at 8:18 PM on May 31, 2006

I am using Connections for my church site and Boredom for my personal site. I have tweaked all of the graphic elements of Connections, so it now looks like this.
I think it's a swell theme and nice and easy to change around.
posted by Biblio at 8:30 PM on May 31, 2006

I'll add my voice to K2. Be sure to look at the custom schemes that others create to totally change the look of K2 without changing the function. Head to the forums on
posted by maxpower at 9:56 PM on May 31, 2006

man~ja is such a Kottke clone, it's unusable without some customization. But since it's clean and minimalist, I'm probably going to switch to it.
posted by xueexueg at 7:18 AM on June 1, 2006

Response by poster: A reader who is not a member sent me an email pointing to Canvas, which is a theme that allows you to customize a lot of layout elements as well as font colors and sizes and such without any CSS knowledge. I haven't played around with it much yet but it looks nifty.

Thanks to everybody for your suggestions and help.

I'll follow up with a link to the blog here once it's up and running.
posted by lackutrol at 2:04 PM on June 1, 2006

Canvas looks pretty interesting. Make sure you post your creation and your impressions of Canvas when you're done lackutrol, I'm interested to hear about your experience.
posted by kurmbox at 5:22 PM on June 1, 2006

Response by poster: Small update. I played around with Canvas and it's fun (you just drag and drop stuff into the place where you want it to appear), but there are kinks still being worked out. For example it seems that the type controls need to be edited manually.
posted by lackutrol at 10:58 AM on June 2, 2006

Response by poster: Another small update: I am working with a designer friend who is doing a variation on the "Hemmed" theme.

I have already started posting, and if anyone is interested, email me and I can show you the test site (which currently uses Hemingway). I just don't want the test site to be too availalbe to potential clients before I "launch."

Thanks again to everybody.
posted by lackutrol at 12:31 AM on June 24, 2006

Response by poster: OK, this is weird. I posted yet another update with a link to the blog, but it seems to have disappeared. Anyway, once tweaks are done, I'll be moving it to the main page.
posted by lackutrol at 3:48 PM on June 30, 2006

Response by poster: I hate to be moderating my own thread, but it is now at the main page.
posted by lackutrol at 3:11 AM on July 1, 2006

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