We love our readers. We respect the hard work of designers and developers across the globe. And we do our best to make the web design community stronger and the Web a little bit prettier. Therefore we ask talented artists and creative professionals to showcase their skills and release something unique and beautiful as a gift to the community.
We support them both financially and with a broad coverage on our magazine. And when designers agree, truly impressive works see the light of day.
Today we are glad to release Agregado Lifestream Theme — a free professional WordPress-theme created by Darren Hoyt and Matt Dawson of Category4. The theme features a built-in lifestream module and contact form with custom control panel options. It is commissioned by Smashing Magazine and designed especially for Smashing Magazine and its readers.
Download the theme for free!
You can use the theme for all your projects for free and without any restrictions. However, it’s forbidden to sell or redistribute the theme without both designer’s and Smashing Magazine’s permission — please link to this article if you would like to spread the word. You may modify the theme as you wish, but if you are planning to release your modification, please ask our permission first.
Motivation behind the design
Here are some insights about the design process and development from the designer himself.
“Agregado was inspired by the recent popularity of services like Twitter, FriendFeed and Tumblr, and by a recent trend Zeldman calls 'the vanishing personal website'. The theme attempts to rebuild that idea of a personal website, incorporating a lifestream carousel alongside standard blog posts, keeping your fragmented data all in one place.
The lifestream code was inspired by Kieran Delaney's WP plugin "SimpleLife", but rewritten to fix bugs and caching issues. The code is built right into the functions.php file, with control panel options which include contact form configuration. There are other 'personal site' touches – a user profile box with gravatar and bio, plus the built-in contact form. First-time visitors get an easy sense of who you are, what services you use, and how to get in touch.
The design itself intentionally deviates from the standard WordPress layout. Hierarchy is key – lesser content modules (Subcategories, Pages, Monthly Archives, Search) are tucked away so the user stays primarily focused on recent blog posts and recent lifestream items. Newer items are lighter with a larger font size, and get incrementally smaller and darker as they get older.
The theme also contains a custom Archives page. In the past, blindly clicking a monthly archive link (ex: "November 2006") has never been useful to me, so I decided to display all posts in a grid format, chronologically, and categorized by month and year. If you find bugs, please leave a comment. We will continue upgrading the theme as necessary.”
Thank you, Darren and Matt. We appreciate your work and your good intentions.
- Lifestream module with carousel
- Custom archives page
- Animated js dropdown menus
- Built-in contact form module with AJAX sent/fail message
- Built-in drop caps for lead paragraphs
- Numerical pagination on archive and search pages
- Author-highlighting for comments
- User profile module
- Widgetized bottom bar on homepage
- Widgetized sidebar on single post pages
- Print stylesheet
- 'More in this Category' sidebar module
- Control panel options for lifestream and contact form
- WordPress 2.6+
- Firefox 3.0+, Safari 3.0+, IE7+
- Host server with PHP5+ installed
Last but not least…
We are regularly looking for creative designers and artists. You may not know it yet, but we might feature you in one of our upcoming posts.
If you would like to release a high-quality free font, a WordPress-theme, some wallpapers or an icon-set please contact us — we would like to support you (both financially and with the broad coverage on Smashing Magazine).
You may be interested in the following free WordPress-themes as well: