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WordPress Fun: A Free WordPress Theme


If you have been following Smashing Magazine for a while you know that we love high-quality freebies. Over the last years we’ve featured a number of designers and developers who released their work for free — among other things we presented high-quality free fonts, free WordPress themes, free wallpapers and, of course, free icons. You can find many of them in our section Freebies.

Every release helps to make the Web a nicer place which is why we support designers and challenge them to release something for free in order to be featured on Smashing Magazine. And the results are quite often pretty impressive.


Today we are glad to release a — a free professional WordPress-theme. The theme has 2 columns, thumbnails integration, a “featured” post section as well as a nice grungy design. The theme was designed by Maleika Attawel from Germany, purchased by Smashing Magazine and is now released as a gift for our readers.

Download the theme for free! Link

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.

The main illustration (Teen Blogger (Punk Boy)) was created by ChinHang Chung and purchased by Smashing Magazine from iStockPhoto with the extended license “Electronic Items for Resale (unlimited run)”. Therefore the illustration is redistrubited legally.

Motivation behind the design: the idea Link

What do you generally do when you want to create a WordPress theme without having an actual client? The initial reaction would be; you despair. All the things we have learned as good web designers such as evaluating a client’s specific needs, doing proper field research, wireframing, finding the proper grid concept for content placement, selecting a colour scheme and visual elements to support content, choosing good type, tailored to … oh wait … this is just a theme.

A theme, by definition, is a subject of discourse. In the case of a WordPress theme, it can be anything. And in the delicate case of my humble theme, the subject is fun. Plain and simple. The idea was to create a theme that is fun and usable, heavy and light, eye-catching and robust, specific and yet generic enough to be used in a variety of ways. The theme is not designed to replace true and proper web design, ergo it is not tailored to suit a specifc niche, nor complement distinctive content. However, depending on your explicit or non-explicit purposes, the design might find a good home.

The prerequisites Link

Like all creative processes, it started with an idea. While I am a great fan of minimalistic designs, I also admire complex and graphically intense web compositions. The only prerequisite was that it doesn’t take ages to load and that the total size of the graphics doesn’t add up to an enormous sum that would only enable those with mighty speedy internet connections to work. That was the only aspect I had to keep in mind to get started.

The design process Link

I had decided on going with a simple two column layout. No fancy modular or column grid, but a simple hierarchical grid like the majority of blogs use. As a page’s length is variable, it was clear that only the content that is extra but not mandantory could reside at the bottom of the page. So all navigational aids (such as categories or friends’ links) as well as a “most discussed” feature would take their position at the very end of the page.

Because I wanted to keep it as elementary as possible and void content clutter, it was clear to me to do away with too many features that would blur instead of sharpen the reader’s perception when visiting the site. Hence, I kept it rather simple and thus set aside the left column for featured content and the right column to display the newest blog entries.

Here you have the result of my humble efforts (preview) and here you can download the theme for free.

Special requirements Link

The theme is built with WordPress 2.5.1 and is only partially backwards compatible. The theme also works with WordPress 2.6. As this theme uses a few .png files, it is recommended that you make sure that the image paths to these are correct (for IE6). You find the two CSS rules in the ie.css file inside your theme folder. The theme can be used with or without widgets (below the fold).

Last but not least… Link

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).

Smashing Book #5

Hold on tiger! Thank you for reading the article. Did you know that we also publish printed books and run friendly conferences – crafted for pros like you? For example, Smashing Book 5, packed with smart responsive design patterns and techniques.

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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.

  1. 1

    the cartoon is soo cute!

    === second ====

  2. 2

    Maynas Chua dot com

    July 16, 2008 2:06 am

    Awesome work my friend :)

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. 3

    nice grunge, but its looks complicated, too much images. I love simple style

  4. 4

    Looks great! Heavy on the graphics though,.,…

  5. 5

    Very nice, and I think as we’re in 2008 we shouldn’t be so stuck up about “graphics heavy” most of us have broadband, and hosting costs are getting cheaper and cheaper, I’d rather see 2 graphics heavy sites that look great than 200 similar looking boring “quick loading” sites. Either way, nice work.

  6. 6

    Nice looking design.

  7. 7

    Ich finde es klasse, mal nicht so 08-15 wie die meisten Themes. Tolle Arbeit!

  8. 8

    WoW – great!
    Now i try to translate it in italian.

  9. 9

    What a grungily beautiful theme. I am tempted to use the graphic logo on my own blog.

  10. 10

    danke, super gemacht!

  11. 11

    looking good!

  12. 12

    Wonderful as always! :-)

    It would be great to see a demo of this theme too!

  13. 13

    Nice theme! The stock illustration you used is everywhere though.

  14. 14

    Theme looks too coool ….

  15. 15

    I’m having trouble installing the theme – Word press reports: WordPressFun/style.css is not readable. I’ve reuploaded the file, even checked it in a text editor and it looks fine. Anyone got suggestions?

  16. 16

    Looks nice. Might try my hand at doing a free theme

  17. 17

    Great looking theme! Thanks!

  18. 18

    This is so strange.. I saw that design being sold on sitepoint. How come it is now free. And since the vector illustration is a stock image how do you manage the copyright issues?

  19. 19


    I am the designer of the theme. The stock image was bought. The design was bought by Smashing Magazine via SitePoint.

    Best wishes,


  20. 20

    Very nice designed theme. I’ve seen this theme on sitepoint marketplace

  21. 21

    Hi, i found the header image on a tumblr site. It’s the same designer?

  22. 22

    so nice !

  23. 23

    Wow, this is really amazing! Thank you! (:

  24. 24

    exquisite work :)

  25. 25

    nice theme.. i love it

  26. 26

    Très jolie

  27. 27

    a high quality theme enough to be a premium wordpress theme, and yet was give for free! freakin’ awsome!

  28. 28

    Anyone else struggling to get it working? I’m having STYLESHEET IS MISSING errors.

  29. 29

    finally installed it the png fix for logo and featured image is not working on ie6 any suggestion

  30. 30

    Curt Simon Harlinghausen

    July 16, 2008 5:20 am

    Genius. Thanks. Great work.


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