ASCII One: A Free WordPress Theme


e released a couple of WordPress themes over the last months. Some of them were praised, the others were torn apart, but we always tried to always offer a variety of different styles. And today is no exception.

Today we are glad to release ASCII One — a free professional WordPress-theme created by Piotr Godek1. This theme was designed with the main focus being on typography — all graphical elements are made only of characters, and it holds for visuals, too. The theme is released with and via Smashing Magazine and is released as a gift to its readers.

Download the theme for free!

This theme is released under GPL. You can use the theme for all your projects for free and without any restrictions. 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.


Features of the theme

  • typography insired, graphical elements made only of characters,
  • widgetized,
  • 3 columns + 1 (metadata),
  • 2 sidebars for widgets,
  • theme works with WordPress 2.6+
  • The font used for graphical elements is Museo7 by Jos Buivenga.

This theme will be supported and upgraded. new versions will be available on Odd Web Things’s site8.

Wordpress Theme9
Meta-area for the post

Wordpress Theme10
Comments to the post

Thank you, Piotr. We appreciate your work and your good intentions.

Last but not least…

You may be interested in the following free WordPress-themes as well:


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  1. 1

    First? :)

    Wonderful theme! Thanks SM!

  2. 2

    Hmmm, not my cup of tea… Thanks for sharing anyway!

  3. 3

    I like the simplicity of this design, but the colors seem a bit strange to me. Great concept, thanks SM.

  4. 4

    good one though. thanks for sharing guys :D

  5. 5
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    Lovely! I’ll use this theme. Thanks

  7. 7

    Curt Simon Harlinghausen | Wunderknabe

    December 2, 2008 1:51 am

    Nice theme. Flexible to use.
    Good work. Thanks and stay tuned . . .

  8. 8

    In principle this is a great idea; but it looks a little bit under-developed. You could have maybe used some over-sized fonts to provide a greater impact. It’s got me thinking though.

  9. 9

    This theme is released under GPL. [..] However, it’s forbidden to sell or redistribute the theme without both designer’s and Smashing Magazine’s permission

    I think you are mistaken here … You cannot put such restrictions on a work under the GPL.

  10. 10

    very nice theme!

  11. 11

    i really like this theme and design. with ie7 i still have font issues, because all fonts are shown cursiv and i dont know why. in firefox everythings nice and similar like the screenshot.

    this theme is sexy and simple and that is hot. with the right header graphic this theme will rock. but aggregado theme is the best so far, and thankfully its free too

    hope you get some nice feedback piotr

  12. 12

    Nice Idea! Thank you very much.

  13. 13

    If you notice any technical problems with the theme, please post them as comments here.

    Thanks :)

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    Thx for the work, but I don’t like the color scheme. When using a grey background I would suggest softer colors.

  16. 16

    Aw. I’m disappointed. I thought every piece of design would be done in text, but this just has pictures of text. Anyone can do that.

  17. 17

    no, not beautiful in my eyes.

  18. 18

    Atomised: the web design co-operative

    December 2, 2008 6:36 am

    I really don’t like it. Is it just me? I’m not wanting to seem churlish but I think this is really disappointing. The grey is too light I think. I’ve just used grey on our new company site and it can work well but if it’s too light and has has yellow text and symbols added to it it reminds me of tracksuits and sports bag design. All shapes, decals and colors that you would never normally want to see, let alone see together. I also think the layout is tired. We’ve seen this blog layout to death. I’m not trying to be negative. I loved Infinity. I think this is a poor follow up. But it’s all opinion!

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    Honestly… not very impressive. Was this the winner in a 30-minute theme from scratch competition?

  21. 21

    Uhmmm…I didn´t like, for me looks poor.


  22. 22

    This theme really not that good especially some font color are in yellow.

  23. 23

    Not bad, but way to bad for Smashing Magazine.

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    Andrew Wigglesworth

    December 2, 2008 12:09 pm

    Hmmm, sorry, but this is a licencing mess, maybe a well intentioned one, but still a mess.

    You say that the download is “under the GPL”, and then state:

    You may modify the theme as you wish, but if you are planning to release your modification, please ask our permission first.

    All versions of the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL, which is what I have to assume you are referring to), give a straightforward and explicit permission to distribute source code. This is one of the main purposes of the licence.

    Unfortunately, notwithstanding your claim that the download is “under the GPL”, the only licencing information in the download is in the licence.txt file:

    The ASCII One WordPress Theme, designed and developed by Piotr Godek of Odd Web Things (
    is licensed under GPL.

    The Blueprint CSS Framework used in this theme is licensed under the (modified) MIT License.

    The Museo font used in this theme is property of Jos Buivenga and is distributed under exljbris Free Font License Agreement.

    So, it’s not all “under the GPL”, and unfortunately this file just leads to further confusion.

    For the “GPL”

    * There is no such licence as “GPL” and if this is actually referring to the GNU GPL, there is no indication of which version.
    * There is no indication which parts of the download are covered by the “GPL”

    * There is no copy of the licence enclosed in the download as required.

    * The GNU GPL is a licence covering source code, which must be readily identifiable, it is not clear where/what all the source code is or what it would all consist of (eg. images).

    * There are no copyright statements and grant of the GNU GPL even in files that could be described as “source code” and therefore no indication that they are covered by a licence.

    The GNU GPL is not a good licence for artwork.

    For the “modified MIT licence”

    * The “modified MIT licence” is too vague a term, there is no indication which licence is actually being referred to.

    * For the CSS files to still be under the “revised MIT licence”, they must have a copyright statement and wording of the MIT licence included with them.

    exljbris Free Font License Agreement

    * Where is the wording of this licence?
    * What exactly in this package is covered by the licence?

    After a web search I found a text of the “exljbris Free Font License Agreement” on this web page:

    The exljbris licence is a restrictive licence prohibiting distribution and is therefore incompatible with both the GNU GPL (any version) and the MIT licence (any version). This means that they cannot mixed together in the same piece of software.

    Furthermore, the same document cannot be covered by any two of the GNU GPL, MIT licence or exljbris Free Font License Agreement at the same time.

    All in all the licencing here is a complete mess and as such I would not recommend that anyone use this package.

  25. 25

    I like the layout. Not my preferred color scheme but not bad either. I think you did a great job and I hope everyone appreciates the work you put into it as much as I do. You would probably get better comments if you would release the.psd files.

    Greetings from Amsterdam,

  26. 26

    You guys just don’t stop giving, it’s like christmas all year long.


  27. 27

    It’s a wonderful theme but the comments stopped working on my blog when I enabled it.

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    About the license: If the user wants to make a modification, release it, sell it, or whatever, he/she doesn’t have to ask for any kind of permission as long as the work is under the GPL.

    About the theme: I love it, really nice and simple, nice for design blogs :)

  29. 29

    It looks good and unique. I’m not as fussy over freebies as the rest of the people around here.

  30. 30

    License info:

    1) MIT License applies ONLY to BLueprint CSS, not all CSS. MIT license allows for distribution:

    The MIT License

    Copyright (c)

    Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy
    of this software and associated documentation files (the “Software”), to deal
    in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights
    to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell
    copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is
    furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

    The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in
    all copies or substantial portions of the Software.


    2) Museo is NOT distributed, it is used in images.

    3) Stop picking on the licensing. The theme is free. If you don’t want to use it – don’t.

  31. 31

    Very ugly theme imho. Not like Smashing Magazine.

  32. 32

    wow. not impressed at all. I guess you get what you pay for.

  33. 33

    very nice theme, thanks a lot ^^

  34. 34

    Yep…comments don’t work. I’ll try and figure something out and let u guys know.


  35. 35

    This great them for wordpress. I like it. Thanks a lot

  36. 36

    Hope you can figure it out. I like the general layout though I also have “two” menus on the right side. I can’t tell if it’s actually two or if it’s wrapping weird.

    Anyway, I like that it highlights the latest post kinda like;

    I’ll be looking for an update!

  37. 37

    Was going to dive right in and say how much I dislike this… But thought I should pause for breath instead of insulting the creator of this theme. So I did…

    Must agree with many of the comments here. It’s not great. It’s not beautiful. And type as image? Why? If you’re going to do that, as someone has already alluded to, surely you could play around with it more, be more adventurous? I’m guessing the rationale for using image-type instead of actual text is more about all that standards malarkey (accessibility, semantics, search engines, et al) which I can understand, but in pure design terms I don’t quite get it. Perhaps that’s just my taste…

    I will say that my initial knee-jerk reaction to the screen-grab was not a good one, but I actually thought the theme looked better seeing it context of a live demo…

    So, not completely without merit, but not to my taste, and as has already been noted it looks under-developed, really.

  38. 38

    That’s awesome, thanks for sharing, I shall find a good use for this!

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    @Piotr: It’s important to “pick on the licensing.” If someone is going to use this theme they need to understand the circumstances in which they can and can’t use it.

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    sweet.. looking good..

    great theme i guess..

    i would have loved it more light background, sorry for too much demanding.

    thanks for sharing

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    Thank you very much for the great theme. I was searching a simple but artistic theme for my new street phohotography blog.

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