Smashing Magazine is without a doubt, one of the best online resources for web developers and designers and also happens to be one of the best sources of free premium quality WordPress themes. Just last week, they released not one but two, smashingly beautiful free WordPress themes. I can only do one review at a time so for this review, I chose the Vintage WordPress theme, designed and created by Wendell Fernandes of Dellustrations.
From Smashing Magazine:
…we wanted to release a WordPress theme that would reflect the vintage, old-style look and thus look attractive, unusual and memorable. We discussed retro and vintage designs already, but we wanted the theme to literally stand out — not through its style, but also through its structure. Therefore we were more than happy when the designers suggested a design with a magazine-look.
- 2 columns
- Right sidebar
- Built-in gravatar support
- Compatible with IE 7, Firefox, Opera and Google Chrome
As far as design is concerned, the Vintage WordPress theme is flawless. I love the custom graphics – especially the background, RSS feed graphic and the Vespa motorcycle. The PSD source files are even included in the theme download package, so if you have Adobe Photoshop and know how to use it, you can basically change almost any part of the design and create a totally different customized version of this theme.
However when it comes to the coding, usability and functionality aspect, that’s where this theme has some flaws. It lacks proper documentation. There are no instructions on how to use the carousel.
I tried looking for a file that describes what the carousel is for and how it can be installed/used but I couldn’t find any, even in the readme.txt file. Based on the theme demo, I can see that it was designed to display a portfolio – screenshots of client’s websites for web developers or photos if you’re a photographer. I know advanced users would be able to figure out how to use it, but without instructions and proper documentation, this section becomes useless and a waste of space for regular users.
There are also no instructions on how to edit/manage the 125×125 banner ads. For advanced users, it won’t be that difficult to figure it out but for regular users, who don’t have much HTML/CSS coding skills, they’ll most probably have a hard time figuring it out. To edit the 125×125 banner ads, you’ll have to open the header.php file, go to line 37 or look for a div with the id “adds”. Replace the image source with your own ad banner and link.
Another “flaw” that the Vintage WordPress theme has is that it’s not widget-ready which is a biggie not for me but for those who use widgets. Many WordPress users rely heavily on widgets to display stuff on their blogs.
With all that said, I still consider Vintage as one of the best free WordPress themes available and I’m sure the “flaws” won’t stop users from using this theme on their blogs. Btw, aside from downloading this theme for free, you can also use it for any purpose without any restrictions. You can use it for private and commercial projects, including software, online services, templates and themes.
Once again, we’d like to thank Smashing Magazine for releasing premium quality WordPress themes and making them available to the public. Hats off as well to Wendell Fernandes for a doing a great job with the design.
If you know of a nice WordPress theme that you’d want to be reviewed or if you’re a theme author and would like me to do a review of your WordPress theme, feel free to contact me via the Contact page using the subject “Request a review”.