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.
Preview or Download the Vintage WordPress theme. You can also download the PSD sources for this theme.
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”.
Hmmm… I love the theme and am not that concerned about it being not widget ready. Lack of documentation is causing me to pull my hair out though…. Everytime I try to make even a minor change, like in the header, (Via WordPress theme editor) I get an error, “Warning, can not modify header info”…. I will keep playing around with it and hope to make it work, but it seems like it may be all show and no go:)
@jan – Sure thing. If I find a theme that has those qualities, I’m definitely gonna do a review of it so I’m sure you won’t miss it. :D
When you come across a vintage theme that is minimalist and a typography that you think will suit Jhay’s taste, kindly take note of it and remember me. Who knows I might have use for it in the days to come. :)
@K – I know these type of themes aren’t your type. Okay, I’ll do my best to look for one that fits your description and kinda like Derek’s Unstandard theme. I think I already have one in mind, I just have to make sure.
Hope you had a great weekend. :)
I don’t like this theme at all. I just have to have to have to hate those ad boxes, not that I am against it, it seemed unecessary for a personal blog, innit?
Jaypee, I’m looking for some typography theme in minimalist. Although you can edit that on CSS but you haven’t featured one yet except the ones from Derek’s which I truly adore.
Have a great weekend.
@fruityoaty – I know. I’m pretty sure some users would rather have a less elegant theme with a detailed documentation than a very nice looking one without proper documentation.
I left a comment on the theme author’s blog suggesting to include a proper documentation. Dunno if he’ll do it or not.
Wow! It’s certainly gorgeous, but its lack of documentation on how to edit it for one’s use… is a serious detractor for me.
@Ambo – Thank you! Glad you liked this theme review. I try to choose the best themes that I can find. You’re welcome! :)
Another breathtaking Wp Theme Bro! haha. Graphics are cool and the overall designs. Thanks for sharing!
@bluep – Well it really depends on the user’s preference and in your case you don’t mind the longer page load time because you like the design and I’m sure there are other users who think the same way too.
Cool! Hope you find a use for it someday. You’re welcome and have a good weekend my friend! :)
I like the theme, but like what other’s said it’s too heavy on loading. Just like my current theme. But then again I dont mind having a longer load time. I downloaded it anyway for future use. Thanks for sharing this.
@jan – I think you’re the 4th person to mention about it being “heavy”. I guess most users prefer lighter and simple themes huh?
Having someone knowledgeable do it for you is a very good idea. Although some people don’t have that privilege. :)
@elmot – Again, it depends on the user’s preferences. I know many people who like the color brown even on their themes. But if you don’t like it, you can easily change that because the PSD source files are included and you can edit that in Photoshop.
Good point regarding the graphics taking away the focus from the content. Thanks for sharing you insights. :)
I like the vintage look and feel to it, though I find the header a tad heavy. I find it neat and just right overall. I don’t bother with a design’s coding and stuff – I know well enough to leave a good thing alone. Okay, if it has to come down to the tinkering part – I’d ask someone knowledgeable. Hehehe.
@Gem – I’ve seen a lot of brown colored WordPress themes before. Maybe you just have to look around. ;)
That’s true. There are a lot of users who use and rely heavily on widgets to display stuff on their blogs and like you said, most of these users don’t have the time or skills to tinker with the code.
the over-all placing of the designs is just ok, but the brown color for a site with this for me is quite dull. and just like jhay, it is quite heavy on graphics. hurts the eye…turns away the focus on the content in effect.
@jhay – It definitely is, but then again some users don’t mind or bother to read the documentation so it doesn’t matter to them.
Like I said in my comment earlier, I forgot to mention about that aspect. Some users would sacrifice page load time for a beautiful looking theme. :D
As of now, it doesn’t have built-in widget support. I’m pretty sure the theme author would fix it or someone else would.
This theme looks very nice. Another brown theme, nauuso na ata. Too bad it is not widget-ready. I hope the designer would consider that, because I believe there are more users who are not really don't want to get behind the hood and "waste hours" tinkering with the template.
@loy – I agree. I forgot to mention about that aspect of the design in the review. Really? Oh well it depends on the user’s preferences. ;)
It’s a good looking theme but the poor documentation is a big turn-off.
Plus, it’s a bit heavy on the graphics side. The theme itself took some time to fully load, what more once a blogger customizes it with the typical set of badges that goes on the sidebar?
Plus, no widgets support? Bummer!
@Azrael – Who doesn’t? The designs are really awesome. Thanks for dropping by. :)
It’s a goodlooking theme but a bit too heavy on the design. Truth be told, I don’t like it. :-)
same here..i love the designs….