It’s been quite a while since I’ve contributed anything to the WooThemes repository, so when I finally managed to sneak in some Photoshop time, I wanted to draw inspiration from our own WooThemes website design, as we have been getting quite a few e-mails asking if our theme is available for sale. Obviously we want to keep our own design unique, but IÂ designed Coffee Break with a similar layout, so we could offer the public something similar in style.
The homepage layout consists of a jQuery slider at the top, which is great for showing of your most important content. We then added a nice mini-featured area below the slider, similar to the one we have on our homepage. You can add the sections with an icon to the left by just adding WP pages, and adding them to your options panel. We also added two sidebars, one for the homepage and one for the blog, and also a nice 2-column footer where you can have some basic information about the website.
Some theme launches here at WooThemes are hyped for weeks and weeks on Twitter and in our blog, others we silently and secretly work on and launch for our community as a nice little surprise. Mortar is one of those that I’ve been working on for a few weeks.
Built on an awesomely flexible grid structure that enables you to select how many columns you want on your home page and archives page and then arranges your posts according to their height and width using the JS Masonry layout plugin built by David DeSandro (Source code available here). The rest of the design is governed by the fabulous Grid 960 framework for easy modifications.
We’ve had the pleasure to collaborate with another hugely popular half-English web designer – this time the graphic designer, web developer, musician andÂ Apple enthusiast Dan Rubin. This collaboration has brewed and matured over months and months, in fact we got our first preview of this theme in November last year! Hopefully this demonstrates to a lot of users that we don’t rush our themes in order to release two a month – quality and quantity go hand in hand here at WooThemes.
Dan is a genius when it comes to web design, he gives a lot of careful thought to his designs and with Big Easy his personal style shines through. For his alternate styles to Big Easy he scanned and tweaked an old (circa 1970s) leather case with some lovely stitching, and a book cover from 1934 to form large repeating patterns. For the neat typography Dan introduced us to Cufon and implemented it meticulously with some “graceful degradation of text-shadow” <– You know you are working with a hot shot designer when he throws in words like that!
It’s not an every day thing for us here at WooThemes to give away wonderful free WordPress themes, built on our renowned theme framework, but today is one of those lucky few.
Last week, late one night, Adii spent some time with his good friend – a glass of whisky – and dreamed up Mainsteam in Photoshop – a vibrant blog theme for serious, yet personal bloggers. A couple days later, Cobus spent a day slicing and dicing the Photoshop file into neat standards compliant code, battling the odd Internet Explorer gremlin – minus whisky I might add. Then it was another day, building in our feature rich theme framework which eventually brings us to today where we can launch Mainstream upon the world wide web.
Roughly 4 months after the release of Groovy Video and 9 months after the theme contest where we picked Izzudin Helmi as the contest winner with his Groovy Series we have finally done his beautiful designs justice and WordPresserized all three of them. Today Groovy Photo and Groovy Blog join Groovy Video in the 3 part, colourful trilogy.
Fresh News is the all time most popular theme here at WooThemes, so we thought it should deserve to be one of the first themes to receive the new Woo Framework update treatment (see video of new framework). What this basically means is that the theme is now easier to setup and use because of the improved functions in the framework (options panel, new widgets, easier image upload, easier to update in future etc.).
We also reworked some of the coding on the front page of the theme, so it now acts more like Busy Bee in functionality. To be more specific:
Our second Woo Worker Interview is with a freelancer the other side of the pond of another Woo Worker who we interviewed last week (Josh of Cubicle Ninjas).
Tell us a little about yourself, your design / development skills and how this translates to your (freelancing) business.
I’m Kirstin, a 25 year old full living on the Isle of Skye (a small island off the north west coast of Scotland). I’ve been a webdesigner specializing in wordpress for the last 4 years and I’ve been a full time freelance designer since January. Although I’ve used a number of platforms, I homed in on wordpress as it offered a lot more flexibility and control. Most of my freelance work is tweaking and coding themes, writing plugins etc although I also do a lot of work with integrating forum and gallery softwares. I’m definitely not the best graphic artist out there, so I tend to be drawn more towards the coding and tweaking jobs.
Josh Farkas, the creative ninja of the Chicago based creative company spends 5 minutes with WooThemes explaining why he uses WooThemes.
Tell us a little about yourself, your design / development skills and how this translates to your business.
Howdy! My name is Josh Farkas and I’m the lead ninja here at Cubicle Ninjas. We’re a creative design firm that strikes fear into the heart of boring websites. Our experienced designers have something special – passion.
Our goal is to build websites that are:â€¨1.) Functionally Intuitive, andâ€¨2.) Emotionally Impactful.
Our unique advantage is that we’re a one-stop shop for all logo design, print design, and illustration. This means we can help you build a brand is beautiful across all forms of media, or match your current brand in the WooTheme of your choice.
What is your favourite theme by WooThemes? And why?
We honestly fought over this question…I guess the official answer is it depends on your goal. WooThemes are amazing because whether you’re building the next YouTube, making a portfolio, creating an online newspaper, or blogging to your heart’s content, you’ll have a handful of stunning options to choose from.
So you’re an Affiliated Woo Worker, right? What does this actually mean to you and what does the “job” basically entail?
In short: making people happy.
WooThemes, and WordPress in general, are being adopted by all shapes and sizes of people. This is no longer the domain of web geeks. So our mission is to ease first-time website owners through what can be a scary process, understand how we can be the biggest benefit, and provide speedy design and development to make their WooTheme perfect for their needs.
How has working with WooThemes influenced your business and / or earnings as a web designer / developer?
Before becoming a WooThemes worker, Cubicle Ninjas focused exclusively on larger projects. These tend to be with big companies where it can be a year until the final project sees the light of day. WooThemes has allowed us to work with real people on very small projects. It has been wonderful to see customers get so excited about our work, and has reminded us why we love waking up each morning.
Would you recommend WooThemes over other, alternative free / premium WordPress themes? If yes, why?
I would recommend WooThemes over the competition in a heartbeat. There are many reasons, but here are our top five:
Beautifully designed and coded
Infinitely customizable (usually through the back-end)
Exceptionally supportive community
Consistently Updated Themes
WooThemes Workers (Just in case…)
What do you think about the ease-of-use and customizability of our themes?
They’re as easy as can be. A simple administration menu featuring all of the options, with links to a clear and detailed explanation if there are any questions.
And if someone has heavier customizations in mind they can expand this theme to their hearts content. All they’d need is a little web design experience or a friendly WooThemes worker.
Anything else that you’d like to add?
A big ninja thank you to all of the nice people across the world we’ve had a chance to work with. And equal thanks to WooThemes for creating websites that are so much fun to play with!
Headline news today – “WooThemes launches The Journal“.
Joining a growing portfolio of hugely popular newspaper based WordPress designs “The Journal” has been in development for the past month and boasts some impressive new functionality.
The Journal was brilliantly conceptualized by our friend Firman Firdaus and given to us in Photoshop format. After some serious brain storming we simplified some of the functionality and typography and began the WordPress wizardry.
Foxinni came up with a nifty backend option feature to assign certain tags to different parts of the home page. Making it really easy to move things around and not have duplicated content clogging up key areas of the home page.
The Journal is very light on template imagery making creating your own styles an absolute breeze by tweaking some css colour values.
The guys at Web Designer Magazine have been keeping busy revamping their website. With it now running off none other than WordPress and it sporting a beautiful new theme design, with lots of new content it is definitely worth a visit.
Last week we recorded a podcast interview with Web Designer Magazine which is now available for your listening over on their website.
Podcast Episode 4 features:
CSS legend, respected author and standards consultant Eric Meyer talks candidly aboutÂ how heÂ got into the business andÂ what the future holds for CSS3. Plus, we catch up with Mark Forrester of WordPress design team WooThemes and ask whether CMS-based blog building is good thing or bad thing for theÂ modern art of web design.
I know there have been a lot of people eagerly waiting for the launch of this theme and I can now finally say our first dedicated photoblogging theme has arrived.
In mid-March when I posted an early teaser on my blog I received a lot of feedback about what our wonderful Woo users would like to see in a photoblogging theme. I got some great ideas from this and although I couldn’t include all of the requests I’ve tried to build it as best I can, thinking like a woo photographer.
Aperture’s custom built home page makes for an impressive visual display of your portfolio of photos/work/products. Note the slashes there. Aperture has evolved into quite a multi-functional theme. What was originally and predominantly built for photographers can easily be customized for just about any type of website by tweaking the theme options panel and renaming some of the widgets.
Aperture is built on our awesome new Woo-Framework that has an enhanced “Custom Settings” panel to easily upload your featured image for each post. The theme option’s interface has also received a make-over thanks to the wonderful Foxinni.
There’s tons to play with in Aperture – 12 alternate styles, 7 custom Woo widgets and 6 widgetized sidebar and footer spaces should keep you busy!
I’m not going to post our awesome default style here, have a play with that on our WooThemes Aperture Demo.
We know you like a freebie once in a while, and when we first saw the Meta-Morphosis design by Izzudin Helmi we immediately wanted to develop it into a WordPress theme, and give it away for free! The Photoshop design uses the Delicious font type, and we wanted to try and bring this over to the finished product, something we managed with the help of Cufon.
We also incorporated the new and improved Woo-Framework in this theme, so you will see some changes in the backend options. The biggest improvement is the ability to upload your thumbnails directly without having to use the old upload, copy+paste link into custom setting field anymore. This also applies to uploading your custom logo in the options panel. We hope to update all our themes with this new functionality soon!
Being April 1st you’ve probably already had a few pranks played on you today.
Here at Woo we are scattered all around the world so unfortunately we can’t cover each others computers with post-it notes, or set Adii’s iPhone in jelly, or move ALL the office furniture into Magnus’s office. Sigh…
Instead we are going to try prank you. Or are we…
If you head on over to the themes page and select a theme to purchase you might find a pleasant surprise… Perhaps you might find you can select 4 themes and only have to pay for 1.
Hurry though April Fools jokes are supposed to be made before midday on April 1st. We’ve extended that a bit, cos we nice people, so you have until midday tomorrow (12am GMT, April 2nd 2009)
The 4-for-1 offer is now closed. Our usual wonderful 2-for-1 offer still applies
Stop the press. We’ve decided we’ve had enough of wordpress themes and we are now going to be venturing into the t-shirt design business instead.
…… that’s a joke, don’t worry.
April is going to be a monumental month for us at WooThemes as it will be the first time all 5 of us of the WooTeam will be in the same room at the same time!
A few months ago we all decided we would get together for Future of Web Design 2009 in London, England. What better event to attend together to soak up some design goodness from the industry’s best designers.
We’ll hopefully be taking some t-shirts to the event to giveaway and that’s where we need your help – in designing them. We are looking for a kickass design that people want to wear, not your typical promotional tees that get thrown into a cupboard never to be worn. Your design can be trendy, humourous or professional, or even all three – we open to suggestions.
– The winner will receive $500, a 6 month developer license, and their name on the collar of the t-shirt gaining you huge street cred.
– The runner up will receive $250 and a 3 month developer license.
The design submitted must be entirely your own work.
By entering this competition you consent to your design concept being used by WooThemes and possibly even avaliable for purchase at a later stage. First, second and third prize will, as already stated, be awarded a cash prize for their work.
The winners will be required to deliver their design in the required format before payment is made, determined by an inspection of the design source file.