Dilectio: A Smashing WordPress Theme


Update (22.12.2007): the theme had some comment errors; Elena has just fixed them. Please download the new version, you’ll find the links below.

Over the last year Elena Gafita, the creative mind behind Design Disease team, has designed a number of free WordPress themes1, as the Smashing WordPress Theme2 we released as a present for our readers during our One-Year-Anniversary in September’07. Afterwards we’ve contacted Elena and asked if it’s possible to design another WordPress theme for our readers. Elena agreed.

After we’ve discussed the details of the design and the main aims we wanted to achieve, Elena started to do her magic. The result is a fresh, clean, user-friendly and playful WordPress theme “Dilectio” — a smashing Christmas present for Smashing Magazine readers. In the following, Elena describes how the design was created and what the theme has to offer.

Please notice that all images are clickable and lead to the demo-version of the theme. You’ll find the preview- and download-links in the end of the article. There you’ll also find a bonus present for our Smashing readers.

Dilectio: A Smashing WordPress Theme

Dilectio WordPress Theme3
Dilectio WordPress Theme: an overview

This new theme was a quite different challenge for me, because the guys from Smashing Magazine asked something and I quote “simple, beautiful and user-friendly”. I don’t know whether I succeeded in meeting these requirements or not, but what you have in front of you is what came out of it.

Dilectio comes from the Latin Language and it means “love, solicitude, esteem”. It’s a rather atmospheric theme and to achieve this effect I started my scratch from with something that might be identified with this kind of feeling. The element I am talking about is the rounded shape that is repeating randomly, creating a beautiful and original rhythm. I’ve created “About this Blog” area just to give this identifiable element that a site needs, an area that many will remember.

Dilectio WordPress Theme4
Main content area and horizontal navigation.

Dilectio WordPress Theme5
Unordered bullets, headers and comments in the content area.

Dilectio WordPress Theme6
The comment area.

Being a designer, it’s not very common to me to write too much; it’s better to present what this theme offers and how one can use it.

Main Features

  • 3 Column Theme
  • Widget-ready – two sidebars (both sidebars are supporting widgets, but I recommend to use the second one from the right margin.
  • The data of the section “About this blog” is stored in the file about-blog.php, which is located into the main theme directory (see the screenshot below).
  • The theme is using 5 plugins; 4 of them are integrated into functions.php, so there is no need to install them. These plugins are WP-PageNavi7, Recent Posts8, Recent Comments9, Gravatar10 and FlickrRSS11. You can use the last one to present your Flickr images in a Flickr Photostream (see the screenshot below).

Dilectio WordPress Theme12
“About this blog”-section includes an Intro, search, links to RSS-feeds.

Dilectio WordPress Theme13
This is how Flickr Photostream may look like.

Support queries are only answered on my blog and not in this release post. Please don’t e-mail me or contact with support requests.

Preview and Download

The Dilectio Theme is released under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License17. This means that you may use it for your personal and commercial projects and you may also make any changes — just don’t remove the credits in your footer. ;-)

A Happy New Year to everyone!

Elena — Design Disease18

Bonus: Dilectio Wallpaper

[Editors:] Elena has also designed a wallpaper dedicated to the Dilectio theme. We’re genuinely happy to offer a Smashing Dilectio Wallpaper19 for our readers as bonus of the WordPress theme. You can also download the wallpaper (see the rescaled version below) in a .zip-package20 (0.1 Mb).

Click to get the wallpaper21
Dilectio WordPress Theme: Wallpaper, .png, 1024×768, 96 KB

Thank you for your work, Elena.

Smashing holidays, folks!


  1. 1 http://wp-themes.designdisease.com/free-wordpress-themes/
  2. 2 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007/09/07/smashing-freefont-and-wordpress-theme
  3. 3 http://www.wp-themes.designdisease.com/testrun/?theme=dilectio
  4. 4 http://www.wp-themes.designdisease.com/testrun/?theme=dilectio
  5. 5 http://www.wp-themes.designdisease.com/testrun/?theme=dilectio
  6. 6 http://www.wp-themes.designdisease.com/testrun/?theme=dilectio
  7. 7 http://lesterchan.net/wordpress/readme/wp-pagenavi.html
  8. 8 http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/recent-posts/
  9. 9 http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/recent-comments/
  10. 10 http://site.gravatar.com/site/implement#section_2_2
  11. 11 http://eightface.com/wordpress/flickrrss/
  12. 12 http://www.wp-themes.designdisease.com/testrun/?theme=dilectio
  13. 13 http://www.wp-themes.designdisease.com/testrun/?theme=dilectio
  14. 14 http://wp-themes.designdisease.com/2007/12/21/dilectio-wordpress-theme/
  15. 15 http://www.wp-themes.designdisease.com/testrun/?theme=dilectio
  16. 16 http://wp-themes.designdisease.com/download-manager.php?id=6
  17. 17 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/
  18. 18 http://designdisease.com/
  19. 19 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/images/dilectio/dilectio-wallpaper.jpg
  20. 20 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/pdfs/dilectio-wallpaper.zip
  21. 21 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/images/dilectio/dilectio-wallpaper.jpg

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  1. 1

    That’s really great! The minimalist details make the theme perfect… Thanks!

  2. 2

    Sweetness!!! Free stuff it raining from heaven!!!!

  3. 3

    Looks great! Really good looking. Happy holidays everybody!

  4. 4

    Really nice ! I love the colors. I think a “lite” version without the swirly things would look great too. Although I love those swirly things, I even used them on my own site !

    By the way, I noticed something weird. When you google for “smashing magazine”, this site doesn’t appear in the results ! Anybody else experienced this ?

  5. 5

    fantastic :) really inspirating

  6. 6

    Holy moly… now that’s a beautiful WordPress theme!

  7. 7
  8. 8

    Very ugly theme, standard creation of DesignDisease. I’m getting sick of this.

  9. 9

    This theme is truly gorgeous! I absolutely love it.

    I noticed in Firefox, however, that when the screen is maximised, the bottom scrollbar appears. Nothing major, but one of this annoying niggles that drives an OCD addict like me insane!

    Truly great theme though! :)

  10. 10

    This theme looks awesome. Great christmas gift for the community.

    Are you plan to offer other color schemes as well?

  11. 11

    Felicitari Elenei!

  12. 12

    Nice work.

  13. 13

    I really like the layout on the theme and the colors that you used. I also like how you made it clean but also have a some artsy elements to it.

  14. 14

    I’m with you. I think this theme looks like all the other “wow holy s*** uber-smashing” WP themes. I’ve seen much better ones during my web experience. But thanks for this post anyways, it showed me what “smashing” means for some people ;)

    Happy Holidays!
    — tux.

  15. 15

    Definitely one of the nicest themes I’ve seen. Thanks.

  16. 16

    It’s nice, i will use it on my blog

  17. 17

    beautiful work, thanks!

  18. 18

    Wow, Smashing has really taken a trip down the drain.

  19. 19

    This is so BEAUTIFUL! Thank you!

  20. 20

    It is a nice theme! Not as nice as babawaba.com will be though! Muhahaha.

  21. 21

    gratitud, Elena y a Smashing Magazine, un gran obsequio de Navidad.

  22. 22

    I keep getting the following error:

    Fatal error: Call to undefined function the_title_attribute() in /home/omthrus/public_html/seoul/wp-content/themes/dilectio/index.php on line 13

  23. 23

    Really like the look of this theme…

    I’m trying to use it on my site but can’t view comments posted by my users. The error i’m getting is – Fatal error: Call to undefined function is_wpuser_comment()

    For an example of what I talking about see – http://www.niallwalsh.net/2007/11/08/stardust/

    Any ideas anybody?

  24. 24

    The theme looks great, thanks.

  25. 25

    It’s nice, but such a wide theme that has such a narrow area for content is a bit of a waste in my eyes. Great graphics though.

  26. 26

    Seems great! But I met the same situation like “Chatmandu” ,the 23rd upper.

    Fatal error: Call to undefined function is_wpuser_comment() in /home/……./wp-content/themes/dilectio/comments.php on line 32

  27. 27

    I don’t like the font. but that can be arranged. thanks.

  28. 28

    really cool… i love it

  29. 29

    that is so cool.

  30. 30

    I’m having the same problems with comments that others have reported.

    Also, the descriptions says, “The data of the section “About this blog” is stored in the file about-blog.php, which is located into the main theme directory (see the screenshot below).” There is no about-blog.php file. That info is editable in sidebar.php

    This theme looks terrific but feels like it’s about 99% baked.


  31. 31

    Could someone show me the code and where to place so that I can add an image to the top of the theme…in the header.



  32. 32

    I too was impressed with the look of this theme until I found that my comments were getting all screwed up when I tried to make use of it. It looks like another plugin, “Official Comments” by Brett Taylor is also in use here. Bretts “Inner Geek” site seems to be down at the moment, but I believe you can still get hold of the plugin via the wp-plugins database.

  33. 33

    Superb theme! I love it.

    I’m having the same problems though – the post page is broken because of the is_wpuser_comments bug, and about-blog.php is missing.


  34. 34

    I will fix the errors and announce it here. Sorry for all the bugs. :(

  35. 35

    wow cool theme….

  36. 36

    I have updated the version so download it again. No comment error.

  37. 37

    Just superb. Awesome theme. I know I’ll be shifting some of my sites to this theme.

  38. 38
  39. 39

    OMG, I just love it!!

  40. 40

    Thanks for the quick fix… Working like a dream now!

  41. 41

    just absolutely kitschy

    a theme for people who have nothing to say but need decoration

    and one hint: don’t link the screenshot of the commentform with that design-disease, people who want to comment mix that up and are directed there all the time

  42. 42

    Just downloaded the update. No problems now.

    Thanks a lot for a great theme.

  43. 43

    I love this theme. My only issue is with the FlickrRSS. The one in in the demo & screenshot is not what is showing up on my page. Any ideas to make the images smaller so I can show the background behind them?

  44. 44

    I love this theme. My only issue is with the FlickrRSS. The one in in the demo & screenshot is not what is showing up on my page. Any ideas to make the images smaller so I can show the background behind them?

    Site: http://read.rambls.com


  45. 45

    O.o WOW!!! I love it!!! thank youuuu!!!!

  46. 46

    Pretty theme but it kills WP when I try to activate it. I get {url}/wp-admin/themes.php?activated=true in my address bar and then nothing. No admin panel, no site. Just blank. I have to remove the folder from the /themes/ directory to get my site to function. Bummer.

  47. 47

    Now i know Christmas is here !!!

    Thank you santa :P for the amazing free bies

    i will be a good boy next year too :D

  48. 48

    Thank for the early present!

    I specially like how functional the layout is — gets everything right up top without wasting space (column width).

    Great stuff!

  49. 49

    I never used WP but this theme is very nice, I like the details..very well done! Thanks!

  50. 50

    great work! thanks…

  51. 51

    Thanks for the Theme! I really like it!

    I`ve found a (little) Bug and fixed it and here is my (little) present to all who have the same problem!
    The Message: “Call to undefined function: is_wpuser_comment()” can be fixed by replacing a code-snippet in the comments.php.

    It worked fine for now by replacing
    ” to

  52. 52

    Sorry for the last Post!
    I didn`t saw that HTML is not allowed. So here is my second try:

    It worked fine for now by replacing the class-attribute in the li-Tag!
    Just replace the PHP-Code of the class-attribute with Comments (class=Comments)!

    Hope this was helpful!

  53. 53

    I agree, it’s beautiful but try increase the text size, some parts of the design will break.
    I believe in functionality not only in beauty. Design must be flexible. We are not tacking about print here where you have fixed units, on the web units can change, a good design must resist to small changes like increasing the text size.

  54. 54

    Very very cool template , Look very nice

  55. 55

    Can someone help me?

    I haven’t got the slightest idea how to change my wordpress theme to this.


  56. 56

    Awesome Theme! Thank you, SM and ELENA these are a great gift for this holiday. Happy Holidays everybody!

  57. 57

    Nice looking theme…. but it did not work at all…. kept getting php errors… couldnt even run admin section cuz it ruined everything had to log in through ftp to get rid of the damn thing.

    i would expect a big blog like this to make sure a theme works before it gives it out

  58. 58

    i will use this theme.. very nice

  59. 59

    I get WHITE blank screen when I tried to use this theme? Any idea?

  60. 60

    Theme looks very good!

    there is a tiny horizontal scroll for 1024px screen resolution. It is a bug I assume.

    other than that, looking great!


  61. 61

    Thank you for the early Christmas present. You can vote for Dilectio as your favorite theme on wpthemez.

  62. 62

    I already used it on my site and I translated it into German. So if anyone is interested… feel free to contact me.

    @ Elena: Could you make the PSD-Files available so that I can change the “Search”-image to present the word “search” in German?

    Another bug: In the search-form there should be written something, but there isn’t!

  63. 63

    very nice theme. just it seems that it’s been designed for screen with higher resolution than 1024 pixels.
    Anyway, Merry Christmas guys.

  64. 64

    It`s nice, but not that nice to be worth this post on smashing magazine. This theme is for 2-3 weeks only, after that is boring :)

  65. 65

    Nice theme. :) Cheers! Happy holidays everyone!

  66. 66

    This is my first post ! Thanks for this amazing worpress theme.

    View my website with dilectio theme here

  67. 67

    Congratulations for this amazing year, and thanks for all your excellent work, this is my day-to-day-first-visit site!
    My best wishes for all the team behind Smashing!

  68. 68

    Very nice theme the ornaments design is really looking very nice.

  69. 69

    someone port this to blogger, please!

  70. 70

    Love it! It’s obvious that a lot of time and thought went into this design. I looks like every detail was thoroughly pondered. The trebuchet font has become popular and I love the way it makes sites look stylized! Beautiful! I can’t wait to use it on one of my sites.

  71. 71

    Really Cool =)

  72. 72

    I’ve ported it for Jogger and use it as my theme. Totally awesome.

  73. 73

    Hi there,
    I got this error “Fatal error: Cannot redeclare wp_pagenavi() (previously declared in /home/khaiicom/public_html/wp-content/plugins/pagenavi/pagenavi.php:58) in /home/khaiicom/public_html/wp-content/themes/dilectio/functions.php on line 59″

    when using few plugins(pagenavi , gavatar and recent comment ) in this theme.Others theme seem fine with those plugins.

    dload latest ver of the theme and plugins, wordpress using 2.3.2
    thanks in advance

  74. 74

    got it! (check my site eheh)

  75. 75

    Beatiful theme, very nice… i append this link to my webDesign blog.

  76. 76
  77. 77

    Hi. My search form on http://coolgift-seeker.com/ is not working. Could anybody help me please?

  78. 78

    i started to use this theme. it is very nice

  79. 79

    It’s nice, but such a wide theme that has such a narrow area for content is a bit of a waste in my eyes. Great graphics though.

  80. 80

    Search Results Problem:

    I have a problem similar to Gift Seeker. When I enter a word in the Search box and the search page shows up, when you click on page 2 or 3 or 4, it sends you back to an Index page. You do not get the second, third or fourth page with search results.

    Try it. Go to http://www.rosecantine.com and type in the word: apple.

  81. 81

    nice! downloading!

  82. 82

    The theme is wonderful, thank you for such a great work. I will use it on of my future projects.

  83. 83

    I get an error when I select the theme:

    there is nothing to see – only white sites in my blog and also in the admin interface. I must delete the theme from my webspace, then I can select another one…

    I have the same problem with the smashing theme… :-(

    What can I do?

  84. 84

    Thank you it is incredible and perfecto!

  85. 85

    Excelent Theme, I’ll Try it but i will change background coz it’s looking “kampungan”. Thanks

  86. 86

    I tired to use this theme but it messed up my feeds…said there was an extra space somewhere but I could not find it.
    When using this theme my feeds were unavaibale, switched to another theme and they were back online. Strange and lame because I really like this theme.

  87. 87

    maybe it’s just my imagination, but it seems to me that the site blogday.org was the inspiration for this theme

  88. 88

    for the search pagination to work the search form must use GET method. :D

  89. 89

    i love this theme and i am using an customised version of it.

  90. 90

    You can try to adjust following settings in wp-contentthemesdilectiostyle.css:

    #bgcontainer – width: 999px
    .Header – width: 999px
    .CON – width: 969px
    .Footer – width: 969px

    I quickly tried that on slightly modified theme at http://www.shoethatfits.com, but can’t guarantee that it will not mess up alignment of various elements someplace else.


  91. 91

    It’s the greast theme that I’ve used and I like it very much.Thank you for your great work!

  92. 92

    It’s all about making the right modifications to the default theme. I’m using it for Mode Du Jour, and I’m perfectly happy with it.

  93. 93

    thanks for your subject guys it is v

  94. 94

    To anyone that wants to fix the horizontal bottom scroll bar issue:

    Open styles.css, change the width for .Header and .Footer to 975px.

  95. 95

    nice theme…..

  96. 96

    Can anyone please tell me how to make this switch to my old theme when accessed through Internet Explorer 6?
    Thanks :)

  97. 97

    very beautiful!
    usarei ele no meu site!

  98. 98

    This will be just perfect for my scrapbooking blog. Beautiful, gorgeous, lovely!

  99. 99

    Hello, thanx for great theme.

    There is small bug: there is no pagination appears after pressing any tag. It lists only 10 (or defined number) of related posts even if there are much more posts fot this tag.

    For example http://hinkal.ru/tag/dagestan/
    There are 24 posts for tag “daghestan” at the moment but shows only 10 of them. Is there any idea how to fix this?

    Thanks a lot.

  100. 100

    And this theme is NOT xhtml valid ;)

  101. 101

    This is a great theme!

  102. 102

    greatest theme of all time!

  103. 103

    the flickr photostream not working..why?

  104. 104

    Nice theme! I love it!

  105. 105

    I love this theme, thank you!

  106. 106

    how to configure post replay for this themes.

  107. 107

    Oh… I got it! Here’s how you enable the flickr goodness in the sidebar: download the flickrRSS plugin, install and activate it (duh!), then go to its setup page. There’s a section called HTML Wrapper. Put (line item) in the before field and (close line item) in the after. Save. Reload the blog. Rejoice!

  108. 108

    Is this theme compatible with WP 2.7?

  109. 109

    At first testing it’s compatible with WP 2.7.

    Only threaded comments are not supported. And the comments are based on the gravatars2 plugin instead of the new native gravatar functions.

  110. 110

    Do not order from Design Disease!!! – they owe me projects for months and they simply do not communicate, or refund payment or nothing at all. Buyer beware!! Now, going to report them to Better Business Bureau and other sites….

  111. 111

    404 not found

    Guess the theme is dead :(

  112. 112

    it looks very nice, thanks.

  113. 113

    The link in the post doesn’t work, but it looks like you can find the theme under:


  114. 114

    Beautiful theme.. The only part that really bugs me is the way the 2 tabs (recent comments, recent articles) work. In IE, it jumps to the top of the page by clicking either. If your ‘About’ section is long at all (as mine is), it completely takes the reader away from where they were reading. Many people will lose interest and leave your page if they have to scroll back down and search for where they were!

  115. 115

    I haven’t been able to download, perhaps the link not working? Any other link available please?

  116. 116

    Love this theme, but after installing there are problems with pictures embeded, text always wraps no matter how many spaces, breaks, etc. are coded in the post. And, it does not work well AT ALL with IE. Does not even line up correctly! Sorry I spent so much time with it.

  117. 117

    Excellent theme, I have been using dilectio for 2 years.Amazing :)

  118. 118

    i like it but it couldnt work for buddypress subblogs with buddypress admin bar…

  119. 119

    link not working…any mirrors?

  120. 120

    This is just the kind of detail I was searching for. I wish I’d have discovered your web site earlier.

  121. 121

    is good work

  122. 122

    I too was impressed with the look of this theme until I found that my comments were getting all screwed up when I tried to make use of it. It looks like another plugin, “Official Comments” by Brett Taylor is also in use here. Bretts “I

  123. 123

    afa ssssda sd asd saafa ssssda sd asd saafa ssssda sd asd saafa ssssda sd asd saafa ssssda sd asd saafa ssssda sd asd saafa ssssda sd asd saafa ssssda sd asd saafa ssssda sd asd saafa ssssda sd asd saafa ssssda sd asd saafa ssssda sd asd sa


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