20 More Free First-Class WordPress Themes

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Free professional WordPress themes always come in handy. Whether you are looking for some design inspiration or professional coding solutions — in both cases you can learn a lot, you can apply them and you can build customized designs upon them without reinventing the wheel all the time.

However, to create a unique design, sometimes it’s not enough to change colors or increase font-size of a theme designed by other designers. The uniqueness of a theme is all about little details, some personal touches in the play of link colors, footer and header. Therefore in most cases it’s useful to think of free WordPress themes as a playground for your imagination.

In this article we present 20 fresh free high-quality WordPress themes. Unfortunately, over the last months they haven’t gained the popularity they deserve which is why they are now featured on Smashing Magazine. All themes can be downloaded, customized and used for free — in personal or/and commercial projects. Please read license disclaimers carefully before using the theme in commercial projects — they can change from time to time.

You might also want to take a look at our previous selections:

Well, let’s dive in.

Free First-Class WordPress Themes

1. Going Global WordPress Theme [ preview ]
A stylish 2-column theme with a streamlined container and a ‘global’ motif. It is vibrant and exciting and might suit for both corporate and personal blogs. There are two adslots in the sidebar for graphic banner ads.

First-Class WordPress Themes - Link Prestige - Goodies

2. Balance Black
A clear 2-column theme with excellent use of typography. You might need to replace Croatian buttons with social bookmarking buttons. No preview is available.

First-Class WordPress Themes - maratz.com » archive » 2 Balanced WordPress Themes

3. Leopress [ Demo ]
The tiger is striking again; now in WordPress. This 3-column WordPress theme looks exactly like the user interface in Mac OS X Leopard looks like. The navigation is also similar. Have fun tweaking the Leopard for your needs.

First-Class WordPress Themes - Temas para WordPress » 7Graus

4. Springloaded [ Demo ]
A fresh, colorful and nicely structured 2-column theme with support for widgets, gravatars and a handful of other nifty plugins.

First-Class WordPress Themes - » SpringLoaded the theme is here » The 449

5. Probama Theme [ Demo ]
Politics isn’t our realm and we don’t promote Obama here, but this theme is very nice. Built-in control panel options allow easy management of images, video, podcasts, latest-post highlighting on homepage and other RSS info. This truly professional theme can be developed further for your personal needs.

First-Class WordPress Themes - Probama Theme

6. Striped Flowers [ Demo ]
A beautiful, colorful and lively 2-column WordPress theme. You’ll find a dozen of further quite colorful themes on this site as well.

First-Class WordPress Themes - Scribblescratch.com » WP Themes 2

7. Tiny Studio [ Demo ]
This theme was designed to match the concept of a small design studio. This theme uses custom fields to display the top 10 latest artworks in the Latest Artworks section.

First-Class WordPress Themes - Tiny Studio

8. Stilbruch [ preview ]
An elegant, simple and sexy 1-column-theme. Simple, yet beautiful.

First-Class WordPress Themes - Stilbruch WordPress Theme

9. Rio Theme
Easy, fast, minimalistic but a powerful appearance. “It gives your blog the look it deserves and says: You don’t need any overloaded layouts to compensate anything. Be yourself!”

First-Class WordPress Themes - Rio Theme WordPress Theme

10. Summernight WordPress Theme [ preview ]
This theme attempts to catch the feeling of a long, exciting summernight and lets you tell your adventures with big, eye-catching pictures. Quite provocative, but hey – it’s all about the unique style, right? Easily customizable and best used with dark, patterned backgrounds.

First-Class WordPress Themes - Summernight WordPress Theme

11. slide-o-matic [ demo ]
One-column, clear and simple. With a sliding navigation menu.

First-Class WordPress Themes - slide-o-matic

12. The Wind Cries Mary [ demo ]
An elegant, beautiful and with “traditional” typography. A 2-column WordPress theme.

First-Class WordPress Themes - NT Musicgirl

13. Textback WordPress Theme [ preview ]
“Snow-white, bright and incredible clear; this wordpress theme is the perfect choice for everyone, who is sick of crowded and uncreative designs and wants to take a deep breath. Who wants a restart. Because this is the job of the winter: To be a recommencement.”

First-Class WordPress Themes - AMY and PINK - Textback WordPress Theme

14. Balance White
A light version of Balance Black; a clear 2-column theme with excellent use of typography. You might need to replace Croatian buttons with social bookmarking buttons. No preview is available.

First-Class WordPress Themes - Balance White

15. NT-Musicgirl [ demo ]
You can do so much out of it. A WordPress-theme in retro-look. Slim columns, stylish design. You might want to increase the font-size and improve the design of forms, though.

First-Class WordPress Themes - NT Musicgirl

16. Facebook Layouts [ demo ]
A WordPress-theme similar to the original Facebook’s design. You can also easily change colors. “As simple as the Facebook design itself, this theme brings it all together. ”

First-Class WordPress Themes - Facebook Layouts

17. Theme Lab [ demo ]
A colorful and nicely structured WordPress theme which comes with 8 different styles and a style switcher.

First-Class WordPress Themes - Theme Lab

18. The Massive News “Mobile Edition” WordPress Theme [ demo ]
“The popularity of the iPhone and iPod Touch are on the rise, and I felt it just made sense to create a WordPress theme that is built entirely for optimized viewing on both devices. The Massive News Mobile Edition WordPress theme does just that, bringing you all the perks of WordPress to boot.”

First-Class WordPress Themes - The Massive News “Mobile Edition” WordPress Theme

19. The Unstandard WordPress theme
“The Unstandard WordPress theme is released / shared with the intent of breaking the typical blog mold. Farewell to the blase reverse chronological text heavy front pages, and hello to visuals & imagery to lure visitors deeper into your website / blog. A WordPress theme comprised of a – grid aligned – images for forward facing pages, and clean textual presentation on the inner pages.”

First-Class WordPress Themes - The Unstandard WordPress theme

20. Chronicles [ demo ]
“In the literary sense, chronicle is a written record of events presented in order of time, and updated regularly over a prolonged period. This is a dark-brown colored, fully validated, widget-ready, 3-column theme with rounded edges all around it.”

First-Class WordPress Themes - WordPress Theme - Chronicles

Bonus: WordPress Admin Themes and Experiments

The default Admin WordPress theme isn’t as user-friendly as most designers would like it to be. That’s why some developers design WordPress Admin User interfaces. The results are indeed, user-friendly.

WordPress Tiger Administration
“For several reasons, I didn’t want to touch the XHTML framework of the admin, but instead relied on the power of CSS2 to manipulate the presentation. The whole package has been wrapped up into a single plugin. Just install and activate. The new design will be immediately visible.”

First-Class WordPress Themes - WordPress Tiger Administration // Ordered List by Steve Smith

Fluency Admin
We’ve featured this theme already, but it fits perfectly to this post. The menus are rearranged; main menus are down left and sub menus are placed across the top. To install the theme download the zip file, extract the contents and upload the whole ‘wp-admin-fluency’ folder to your web server. Then go into your WordPress admin and go to the ‘plugins’ page, activate ‘Fluency Admin’ and you will instantly be using the theme.

First-Class WordPress Themes - Fluency Admin

Prologue [ Demo ]
“We’re fans of Twitter around here, but while the format appealed to us it really just whetted our appetite for something more, like a way for each of us to share short messages about what we’re doing or working on internally, or private messages between groups of folks.”

First-Class WordPress Themes - Introducing Prologue « WordPress.com

WP Contact Manager [ demo ]
WP Contact Manager is a different kind of theme for WordPress. With a little bit of work (outlined in detail below) it turns WordPress into a contact manager. You can add contacts through the regular admin interface, tag contacts, search them and more.

First-Class WordPress Themes - » WP Contact Manager

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Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs responsive Web design workshops and loves solving complex problems in large companies. Get in touch.

  1. 1

    Thanx! This are some excellent designs!

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  2. 2

    Great stuff!

    Very inspiring.

    Smashing is definitely one of those sites you have to check daily :D

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  3. 3

    Some good designs indeed, but in my opinion a lot of garbage this time, especially nr. 9 and 10 are like shit.

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  4. 4

    I like the Mac WordPress Style, and I love the style in fluency, but there is only one problem with that. It doesn’t work in IE 7.0 .. I clicked activated on the plugin and nothing happens in IE then I deactivated and ran it with firefox and activated it … and It works on FF, but when I open IE again it won’t work. So I have two different admin panel skin in two different browsers… Waste my time

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  5. 5

    Those WordPress themes are awesome! Thanks a lot! I especially like Leopress.

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  6. 6

    Fantastic source of inspiration – many thanks for posting.

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  7. 7

    The first theme looks very much like the site of the design agency Mutado. Similar color scheme, typography, overall layout…

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  8. 8

    Have you seen the new Upstart Blogger theme? It’s here.

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  9. 9

    Thanks for sharing this amazing work !

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  10. 10

    Daniel Condurachi

    March 25, 2008 4:06 am

    Thank you! Those are very good ideas for me because in the near future I intend to redo my blog and combine it fully with my portfolio

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  11. 11

    Nice list. I particularly like the “Unstandard” theme – a really nice looking, original approach to a blog layout.

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  12. 12

    Blog Perfume has just released a Clean and Soft 3 Column WordPress Theme called SilveRay today. You can view it on .

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  13. 13

    First of all, I’ve just discovered your blog, and I can’t tell you how impressed I am with the depth of your posts. It’s become one of my favorites in Google Reader.

    Secondly, since folks are more and more turning to WordPress as a CMS tool, I would be interested if anyone knows of any themes that would be more directed toward a restaurant. Something that would allow menu pages, and a front page blog? I don’t believe I’ve ever seen WordPress used this way, but maybe one of you have…?

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  14. 14

    Nice list, but i am kind bored how you guys always highlight WordPress theme. There are other CMS out there that has many splendid theme.

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  15. 15

    I’ve been waiting for more wp themes, thanks for the list!

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  16. 16

    http://www.tech-exposed.com

    Nice find. I was looking for new templates to use for my upcoming projects.

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  17. 17

    wtf is up with the summernight wordpress theme picture?

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  18. 18
  19. 19

    Definitely a great roundup, but as mentioned; whiskey-tango-foxtrot is up with that article image in summernight?! Anyways, keep up the good work, you’re a daily read!

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  20. 20

    Wow! Some nice examples of WordPress themes… I like most of them :)

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  21. 21

    Please note. Admin themes are for 2.5+ only.

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  22. 22

    Thanks,
    Very nice collection.

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  23. 23

    thanks!

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  24. 24

    Thankz! I love the list!
    Finally found a wp theme that looks like what i want, now i just have to edit the sh*t outa it ;)

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  25. 25

    Hey, the article image in the Summernight WordPress theme is a tribute to the great Japanese artist Mari-chan.

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  26. 26

    it’s cool,thanks

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  27. 27

    Hey guys thanks a lot for this post!

    I was just wondering, are you in the nearby future going to, instead of WordPress themes, present some smashing free CSS templates?

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  28. 28

    like it!

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  29. 29

    Thanks a lot.. as a newbie theme creator. I can learn alot from this themes!!! :)

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  30. 30

    One Winged Angel

    March 25, 2008 7:42 am

    Thanks for featuring my theme, Tiny Studio. Greatly appreciated!

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  31. 31

    Before you post a theme here, do you check that it is actually genuine? I’ve had problems with a couple of “theme” sites who have stolen my current site design and tried to pass it off as a WordPress theme. Fortunately for me I caught them out before it had been distributed too widely!

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  32. 32

    Um. Did you really have to post a picture of an illustrated gurl spurting blood out of her woohoo? Did you really?

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  33. 33

    We can certainly do without the disgusting images next time!

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  34. 34

    Oh come on, that’s modern manga stylish art from a very charming Japanese artist. I think it’s great.

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  35. 35

    Gorgeous. :) Are there comparable sets out there for Movable Type? That’s what our company uses… would be nice to swap out the standard (but blase) MT templates with something better.

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  36. 36

    Thank you very much. I liked most of them. Those are really top quality themes. Gonna try third one on my blog :P.

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  37. 37

    yay leopress

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  38. 38

    Am I correct in understanding you can’t use these themes unless you pay for the custom css in wordpress? If not how do I use them?

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  39. 39

    thanks, good list

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  40. 40

    Hats off to you guys for putting together such a high quality collection of brilliantly designed WordPress themes. I have tried hard to find a good theme for my personal blog, and this list is giving me a hard time to zero in on one. Good stuff!

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  41. 41

    Awesome list.

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  42. 42

    Sweet! There are some very nice, professional themes there that I have never seen. Thanks

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  43. 43

    No 9 and 10 is just Shit and the only one looking impressive is 12…

    Thanks for no 12.

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  44. 44

    Woah, brilliant. Thanks very much!

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  45. 45

    A very nice collection. Thanks

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  46. 46

    Some of the best designs / WP themes I’ve seen

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  47. 47

    These are all really beautiful themes though technically #12 is a livejournal theme

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  48. 48

    I love WordPress, WP is blog engine but power engine for next web generation, I trust next time WP as propesional just not a blog only

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  49. 49

    For both “Balance White” and “Balance Dark” themes I ran across this when researching a query bug:

    http://wordpress.org/support/topic/126450

    From the sounds of it, these themes should not be used at any time. Is anyone able to confirm this? I do like the minimal layout…

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  50. 50

    Once again, excellent list. I love the visual emphasis of Unstandard. Speaking of visuals, anyone else trying the beta of SearchMe? It is NICE. If you are visual like me, you will love it.

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  51. 51

    PipeDream is one kick ass theme from the creator of Fluency. Except that it got some issue with IE6.

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  52. 52

    Very cool!! gj

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  53. 53

    another quality smashing post!

    love the iPhone / touch theme, great thinking. Interesting to see if you can target the device so you can have two themes one for desktop and one for mobile.

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  54. 54

    As easy as it is to hack wordpress these days the LAST thing anyone needs to do is try to make WP into a contact management system.

    WP used that way is just a bad bad idea…

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  55. 55

    Wow, cool. I diden’t knew that I can change the admin skin as well …
    ThanX

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  56. 56

    I like 9 and 10, best thing about Smashing is there is something for everyone

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  57. 57

    Loving the Facebook Theme!!! Great post SM!!

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  58. 58

    Great post.
    thanks.

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  59. 59

    Recently I wanted to change my theme, now I’m definitely sure, that I will. And you gave me some really good alternatives.
    Thank you :)

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  60. 60

    Did you even briefly consider a different demo photo for Summernight?

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  61. 61

    Could someone tell me what is the best theme for a free press magazine? Is there something that fit for this?

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  62. 62

    wonder why you did not include rainbow feather, but maybe that is because it is not “mainstream” enough.

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  63. 63

    Thanks for sharing such a good list. Truly appreciated. Going to try some of them on my website.

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  64. 64

    other nice themes > themes-css.com :)

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  65. 65

    did nothing for me. I will stick with 3K2

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  66. 66

    fantastic work indeed …
    thx

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  67. 67

    Hmm..
    I like probama theme, theme for Obama supporter like me..

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  68. 68

    Has any one added working sidebar code for leopress? if you have please let me know Mat at newmacuser dot com

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  69. 69

    You get a self hosted WordpPrss blog. You probably wouldn’t be able to use any of them even if you did pay for that ridiculous css “upgrade” thing in WordPress dot come.

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  70. 70

    Awesome – very creative and artistic.

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  71. 71
  72. 72

    i like it nice!

    keep posting good stuff!

    c u soon

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  73. 73

    wow it’s perfect perfect perfect perfect perfect
    coooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool
    coooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool
    coooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool
    coooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool
    coooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool
    coooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool
    coooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool
    coooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool
    wow it’s perfect perfect perfect perfect perfect
    thx

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  74. 74

    good read thanx for taking the time to write it

    very interesting

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  75. 75

    Jonathan Franzone

    March 31, 2008 8:45 am

    Excellent list of very high quality designs. Thanks so much for compiling.

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  76. 76

    The summer night theme looks great but trying to use it is a pain in the ass. I understand why you wouldn’t want to provide support for a theme, but if you release a theme to the public at least provide a readme with some sort of explanation. Especially since this theme does not work out of the box- it uses a different format for the side tabs, and utilizes some plug ins – What are the settings for the plug ins? I don’t know! Maybe it’s in the notes folder……Wait. That folder’s empty. Hahhaa. YOU LOSE!

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  77. 77

    I am in love with Fluency.

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  78. 78

    Sehr tolle Zusammenstellung von Themen, ich habe mir gleich Anregungen holen können.

    Stürmische Grüße von der Ostsee

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  79. 79

    Free Classifieds - Free ads

    April 6, 2008 5:42 am

    I would recommend to promote or post the topic under free classifieds such as OrientalAds.com which can help to get more response world wide at free of cost.

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  80. 80

    The summernight picture is one reason why I can’t read this blog at work.

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  81. 81
  82. 82

    does anyone know of a software where I can design my own template but it automatically puts the codes in for me, I just drag and drop??? Premium themes are not what im looking for and custom blog designs are to expensive, please help

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  83. 83

    Smashing Magazine, you have done it again! This is just about the ultimate location for real inspiration.

    Keep up the stella job folks :)

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  84. 84

    really good desings . i like too its. thanks for works.. wordpress forever

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  85. 85

    woww very prof. themes thanks ı love you smashingmagazine.com

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  86. 86

    Hi
    you have a nice work here friend com visite me on my site and forums

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  87. 87

    Tiger looks gorgeous but it won’t work. I just gave it a testrun and I was set back with mere post organisation. No Admin rights anymore so no chance to set back to the default theme in the backend. had to erase the folder. what a pitty it doesn’t work!

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  88. 88

    A lot of Free & Premium themes can be found here WPZOOM

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  89. 89

    very nice stuff here.

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  90. 90

    Good grief. A first-class WordPress theme would at least have sidebar widgets. #9 and #10 look good but, well… they’re not so good. I don’t see how they would qualify as first-class wordpress themes.

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  91. 91

    Very nice themes,Thank you!
    I can’t to decide yet which to use in my recipes for cooking blog.

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    • 92

      the theme is really awseome..neat and clean..i liked the design very much cz i love simple things..gonna use it one of my blog..thnks for the hard work..

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  92. 93

    nice themes, thanks =)

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  93. 94

    thanks for sharing

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  94. 95

    thanks your work

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  95. 96

    We find these same themes 3 columns in the list of 980 themes WordPress.
    http://romaniannewsy.blogspot.com/2006/11/980-free-wordpress-themes.html

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  96. 97

    I loved reading this blog I dont usually post but this time I will, have a good day:)

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  97. 98

    At first glance you don’t realize how inappropriate #10 is. Far below the usual high quality of SM.

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  98. 99

    Hi ,

    The probama themes was very nice , but it has small issue, its not working properly in IE7, (Note: The subcategory in the home page will not off when i mouseover on category) pls check it and inform to me its working,

    Thanks,
    Kannabiran.G

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  99. 100

    Still Trying to figure out that Tokyo Punk Thumbnail???!?!? Nasty!!

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  100. 101

    hello for this themes.
    and i am100th commenter of this post, will u give a gift :)

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  101. 102

    I found my best theme.
    thans smash

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  102. 103

    You get a self hosted WordpPrss blog. You probably wouldn’t be able to use any of them even if you did pay for that ridiculous css “upgrade” thing in WordPress dot come,and change is what you are getting…

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  103. 104

    lovely themes, but if you are looking for free web templates then see: http://www.DesigningTips.com

    Jay

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  104. 105

    Michael Garmahis

    August 10, 2010 2:34 pm

    If you have some bucks to spend, I highly recommend to buy one of the premium themes. They are much more powerful, flexible and have great support to answer your questions. Check out my review Top premium WordPress themes

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  105. 106

    Thanks for this !

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  106. 107

    thanks for the themes

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  107. 108

    I downloaded the Going Global theme, and to my disappointment, the gold banner (dove) wasn’t a part of theme. Where can I find it! It is outstanding!!
    Thanks much in advance.

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