Free Portfolio WordPress Theme: Creative by Nature


In this post we are glad to release Creative by Nature, a unique and flexible high-quality portfolio WordPress theme for artists, photographers and designers. The theme was designed by .css{mayo}1 and released especially for Smashing Magazine and its readers.

Creative by Nature2

Download the theme for free!

Creative by Nature is a free portfolio theme created by and released especially for Smashing Magazine and its readers. The designers created a funky theme, particularly useful for artists, photographers and designers who are looking for a flexible portfolio solution. The theme’s .zip-package3 includes all necessary files, server installation guide and a help file which describes how to add entries to your portfolio section. Besides, a PSD source file4 is available for free download as well.

The theme is released under GPL. You can use it for all your projects for free and without any restrictions. Please link to this post and also to CSSMayo Release Post5 if you want to spread the word. You may modify the theme as you wish.

Creative by Nature6

Installation guidelines

  1. Download the latest version of “Creative by nature” theme either here or here11
  2. Unzip and upload the theme to your “wp-content/themes/” directory
  3. In WordPress, go to “Appearance > Themes” and activate the “Creative by nature” theme
  4. In the theme archive you’ll find file creative_by_nature-export.xml. Import it to your WordPress installation from “Tools > Import > WordPress”
  5. Go to “Settings > Reading” and:
  • Check “A static page (select below)” in “Front page displays” field.
  • Select “Home” in “Front page: ” drop-down menu
  • Select “Blog” in “Posts page: ” drop-down menu

Adding Portfolio Entry

Here are instructions for adding portfolio entries:

  1. Go to “Pages > Add new”
  2. Enter Portfolio entry title
  3. Insert your image into the post(preffered image size: 290×230 px), then add “more” tag. Add short description for the entry, then add one more “more” tag. Then enter the remaining text. (Check out test portfolio entries for example)
  4. You may also enter custom fields “url” if you want to add additional information to each portfolio entry.
  5. You’ll need to setup few things in “Attributes” section:
  • Choose “Portfolio” page for page parent
  • In “Template” field select “Portfolio Item”
  • You may also enter position field if you want to specify the order of portfolio entries.

Thank you very much, folks! We appreciate your efforts.


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The Smashing team loves high-quality content and cares about the little details. Through our online articles, Smashing Books, eBooks as well as Smashing Conferences, we are committed to stimulating creativity and strengthening the web design community’s creative forces.

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  3. 3

    Nicolas TAFFOREAU

    July 30, 2009 1:04 pm

    Amazing theme, thank you for the share.

  4. 4

    Zoltan Sebestyen

    July 30, 2009 1:05 pm

    Great work. Thanks!

  5. 5

    Wow cool..
    Not pretty sure, but I may use it soon !

  6. 6
  7. 7

    Very inspiring. Thanks!

  8. 8

    Mehrdad Nassiri

    July 30, 2009 1:35 pm

    Beautiful but client-side files are about 1.2mb !
    It’s too bad for slow-internet users …

  9. 9

    Beautiful theme, lost of graphics in the background, the typography needs a little touch up. xml file was something new and wasn’t really sure what that was for. Thank you again Smashing Magazine and CSS Mayo

  10. 10

    Of the creative themes out on the net, this has to be one of the top ones I’ve seen. Well done on a fantastic job.

  11. 11

    That’s really beautiful. Good work, creators.

  12. 12

    really good…so good my website im working on looks similar ..haha.. im patting my own back now.. good job as usual SMASH!

  13. 13

    Patrick Sweeney

    July 30, 2009 5:13 pm

    Never understood the point of someone “creative” using a prefab design. sort of defeats the purpose.

    • 14

      Agreed – I’m a creative industry guy so I would never use it. However I am donating some websites to friends who are entering art school etc. and cannot afford a full blown site, so the easiest & quickest way for me to get them a site is to utilize such templates and give it to them.. they want to show off their photography/artwork in a more personalized setting than, say, Flikr.

      Great point though – no creative professional should be using these for the sake of integrity!

  14. 15

    Please, can anyone explain what that template should say? I have no clue… looks to me like just another grunge style template.
    Even worse the license statement: “The theme is released under GPL. You can use it for all your projects for free and without any restrictions.”
    You really should know it better – don’t release such sentences out to thousands of readers. The GPL never was and will never be a “do what you want” license… and its for sure not a good license for art work like templates.
    @SM: You should really push the featured artists to use a Creative Commons here…

  15. 16

    Never understood the point of someone “creative” using a prefab design. sort of defeats the purpose.

    Ditto. Okay, I get it if you’re an illustrator, or something else non-designy (I am, and our graphic design teacher hammered it into our heads that we’re NOT designers and if we ever actually design anything she’ll kick our asses) but if a webdesigner used a free design for their portfolio… that’s just cheap as hell.

  16. 17

    it doesnt do it for me – i dont like it

  17. 18

    I am new to wordpress and love this theme – at the moment I am using the wordpress hosted version – I asume I can’t use this theme. What do I have to have in terms of wordpress to be able to use these themes. It would be good if wordpress made them available

  18. 19

    Excellent theme, i like it.
    It looks really professional and easy to use

  19. 20

    looks pretty cool. even with that huge amount of pictures =)

  20. 21

    To my mind this template is quite good even if I’m not kind of the design style…
    I just wanted to give you a feedback about the search result’s page. I don’t know if it’s normal but there is no background so it’s quite difficult to read the text and the title is hidden under the leafs.
    But globally thanks for sharing this template for free, you must have spend a lot of time to create it.
    ps : sorry for my poor english language…

  21. 22

    I don’t like it in general, but I really love how awesome the polaroids look :D

  22. 23

    I don’t like this design. I agree with “All for Design” dificult for reading I prefere clean design

  23. 24

    this has been posted about 4 times now. BORED

  24. 25

    nice !!!!

  25. 26

    Is it Turkish Money? :D

  26. 27

    nice theme
    thanks for share ^^

  27. 28

    Thats Amazing!

  28. 29

    Can the theme be used for a professional project ?
    Thx !

  29. 30

    Patrick beat me to the punch. The irony is delicious :D

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    While I always appreciate your site’s hard work and contributions and thank you for giving this away for free… I got to say, not really feeling it. I think a portfolio design should be less words, more pics and more focused on the work. And not so naturish, more clean and less background. Like I said, focused on the work and not distracted by the surroundings.

    But thank you for the theme. I’m sure it will make someone happy.

  32. 33

    What’s the name of the plugin you’re using to share posts on Twitter, … plz ?

  33. 34

    I just got a new wordpress theme on my site. Now I want this one!! These things are like shoes to us, we’ve got to have a lot of them!

  34. 35

    That theme looks fantastic!

  35. 36

    Why are smashing mag themes always over designed? You guys always release themes that do not have “Lasting appeal”, they always looks tacky.

    Look back at this theme in 6 months time and you will see how irrelevant the design style is, no disrespect to the designer, but come on now, another grunge theme?

    I havent yet seen 1 smashing mag theme that has any lasting appeal, you guys are so called experts aswell, surely you can muster up a decent theme for the community.

    This is just my opinion, but honestly, maybe you should release something that you would actually be happy to use yourself.

    Elegant, timeless design is where its at! A good example of a decent theme is the one you use on this site, simple, clean and has lasting appeal. Why not make something like this for us?

  36. 37

    Excelente template, muy bueno, lo voy a usar. Es re moderno y perfecto.

  37. 38

    Turkish Lira (; Fantastic theme!

  38. 39

    While I have to agree with a lot of folks about this being overdesigned, (and a bit ironic), I think the real value of this theme would be to use it as a starting point for creating your own portfolio theme. Swap out the graphics with your own, tweak the typography, etc. It could be a real time saver and isn’t it all about productivity?

    Of course there are those that like it just the way it is and that’s fine too.

  39. 40

    What’s the deal with the Turkish Lira? Yes, I liked it but just wondering where did the idea come from…

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    Ok, i will be using this theme as a base but I have to implement custom thumbnails first, and get rid of those small portfolio images, and spice up the blog sections, and of course change the background!

  41. 42

    This is a nice design… looks like a lot of work went into it (as well as the dozens of others that have been posted here). But why do people continue to want to distract people from viewing their work with so much stuff in a design?
    I for one would prefer people to view the sum of my work … un-distracted by the environment I have placed it in. Web design in portfolio sites is what makes the first impression… what if the viewer decides they don’t like the design and boogies on out of the site? IN that case, no matter how good your work is you won’t have the chance to show it…

    IMO… simple black Rules… (Doesn’t mean you can’t sweeten it up a bit tho :) )

  42. 43

    Amo este diseño, este tema en general… y publicar el .PSD es una gran ayuda, tanto para aprender como para modificar y adaptar el trabajo a nuestras necesidades.
    SM son geniales! los sigo hace un buen tiempo a traves de RSS y Twitter e introducen a la “gente común” (ni me considero Geek) en el terreno del diseño. Logrando que la internet sea más bonita cada día.
    Esta clase de publicación me deja entretenido por semanas y seguramente utilice este tema, mientras sigo profundizando mis conocimientos.

    Gratz keep up the good work!
    (from Argentina)

    I love this design, this theme in general… and the .PSD realese helps us a lot: to learn and modify this to our needs.
    You are great SM, I’m following you a long time ago (RSS & Twitter) and you introduce to normal people (I’m not even a Geek) into the design. You make the internet prettier every day!
    This kind of publication helps so much, and expands my mind in so many ways!
    Gratz keep up the good work!

  43. 44

    Why it is not available on the official repository?

  44. 45

    Ultimate theme for wordpress……
    Thanks for sharing

  45. 46

    Premium Theme Info

    August 5, 2009 9:36 am

    Very beautiful theme. I can’t believe it’s free!

  46. 47

    nicusor @ Nickoo Shore

    August 6, 2009 4:09 am

    Simply…. beautiful!

    Thank you!

  47. 48

    Is this theme widget ready? Can’t get them to show up.

    Looks like a nice template. Planning to get rid of the “Services” section, “Case study” text at the bottom, change the background. Can’t get the small thumbs at the bottom to show up properly …

  48. 49

    Don´t work for me, dashboard and blog don´t load after theme selection :-/

    Maybe it´s a problem with memory.

  49. 50

    Great theme, but im having trouble with the projects. If i rename them they get jumbled up. They are being sorted alphabetically, i have tried to mess around with the order as well and just cant get it to work. If anyone knows a solution, please help!

  50. 51

    I like turkish lira. Why did the person who made this templates, use thish sing? i couldn’t find a answer.

  51. 52

    To… Much… JPEG… Compression…

  52. 53

    Turkish Lira nostalgia:D

  53. 54

    WOW ! Excellent and creative theme have explained everything how to import files, Thanz guys! Keep it up.

  54. 55

    Excellent theme and I am sorry but those who mention this is an over complicated and cluttered design, generally you would want tailored orientated websites to stand out rather than a clean one.

    I do have a question regarding the theme itself though I would like to have a logo be represented rather than the blog text. I have no issues removing the blog title and tag line, I just can’t figure out from the PSD itself, how to save just the ‘logo’ section and replace with the current header image in the theme, if anyone can help that would be greatly apprecaited.

  55. 56

    @49 Wilson
    I had the same problem.

    It works when I numbered the ones I wanted on the front, 0,1,2 and then I edited homepage. php so that line:
    $projects = get_pages(‘child_of=’ . $portfolio->ID . ‘&sort_column=menu_order,post_title&sort_order=asc&number=4′);

    ended with a 6 instead of a 4

    Don’t ask me what that means or why changing it works. Just knew that was the right area of the template and I started messing with it till it worked

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    excellent theme… great job dude..!!

  58. 59

    Very nice & beautifull theme and css…
    BRAVO !!!

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    it’s not working for me.
    too bad coz its a really nice theme.

  61. 62

    that is awesome keep it up

  62. 63

    Giuseppe Beghelli

    January 9, 2010 5:25 am

    Excellent template but there is a problem in the Portfolio section. Must include the ability to display a number of projects per page. If I have 100 projects may not appear in a single page, the scroll would be infinite. Sorry for my English.

  63. 64

    I LOVE IT!! I think it’s awesome and am going to use it for a blog I have been wanting to start! Thanks for the share…can anyone tell me what the “PSD-spurce” is for???
    thanks much!

  64. 65

    wonderful site thanks to share a lot of things

  65. 66

    I love this and I’ve had a great time customizing it. But there is one thing I am trying to figure out how to do that escapes me completely.

    I like the way the projects are listed on the page, but is there a way I can make the images show up larger on the project pages? I have resorted to linking them into my Flickr pages since I can’t figure out how to make them larger if you click on them, or just to simply have them larger on the project page (preferable) …

    Thanks for any help,

  66. 67

    Wonderful template! Excellent to customizing:) I allowed myself to the redesign and customizing it of my needs.
    Cheers and thank You!

  67. 68

    Hey,Thanks so much for sharing. This is a great layout also to customize
    I just have problems uploading it.. it never appears maybe I do a stupid mistake.

    Hope you can help me!

  68. 69

    Too cool! I simply love it!
    thnx a lot for the share!!! *-*

  69. 70


    thank you.. its really amazing theme..
    it has solved my issue of designer :)

    thanks again.. god bless you………….!!!!!!!!

    Love you !!!

  70. 71

    shuvra sengupta

    May 5, 2010 11:40 pm

    how can i add social buttons like twitter, FB e.t.c in this theme

  71. 72

    It is so lovely!!! I am using this theme is that i need. But I have some troubles with proyects where it should show a thumbnails, but no its working fine.
    (joer con mi ingles!!!) Any way it is wonderful and amazing.
    Thank you very much. Where it is the autor’s web?

  72. 73

    The designers created a funky theme, particularly useful for artists, photographers and designers who are looking for a flexible portfolio solution. The theme’s .zip-package includes all necessary files, server installation guide and a help file which describes how to add entries to your portfolio section. Besides, a PSD source file is available for free download as well.

    ipad bag

  73. 74

    Not a bad theme for a grunge theme. Attention to detail… nice. I agree with the comments about a web designer using a canned template… shame!

    Note: this template does not appear to support password protection on posts or pages.

  74. 75

    HI, this theme is awesome.

    I´m making my own portfolio and that´s all ok, since the photos of the main page have disappeared. It´s as if the main page don´t link with the portfolio items.


  75. 76

    Is possible that it don’t work Fine in WP3??

    I can’t get the 3 big snapshots on HomePage, also de Case Study Part and only the small icons of More projects, but with bad URLS.

    anybody knows that?

  76. 77

    hey so im having some troubles with this theme, the polaroids arnt showing up and the pages tabs “home” ect are invisable unless you scroll over them.
    any help would be highly appreciated.

  77. 78

    This is exactly what I have been looking for! Thanks Smashing Magazine! You are the awesome sauce of awesome! ^_^

  78. 79

    Christina Hooper

    October 3, 2011 5:02 pm

    I’m having the same problem as parufito and liz… I can’t get the portfolio images to show up on the home page. Is it possible that it’s a glitch with using it on WordPress 3 that’s causing it?


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