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Notepad Chaos: A Free WordPress Theme


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.

Notepad Chaos: A Free WordPress Theme

Today we are glad to release Notepad Chaos — a free professional WordPress-theme. The theme has 2 columns, a quite vibrant design including “personal” design elements such as handwritten headings, stick-it-notes, clips and pins. The theme was designed by Evan Eckard especially for Smashing Magazine and its 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 theme has been updated to version 1.5. It’s now up-to-date with cleaner code and includes a lot more functionality (gravatars, dynamic sidebars, etc.). You can find the files and demo here.

Motivation behind the design Link

Here are some insights about the design process and development from the designer himself.

“I had recently stumbled upon many websites with gorgeous, gigantic, illustrated backgrounds and wanted to try my hand at creating a site that shared that similar element. This theme was an experiment into layering multiple images and having everything line up and flow with the site’s content.

Notebook Chaos
Among other things, the Notepad Chaos theme has handwritten search box and navigation at the top of the layout.

It was quite a challenge to develop the design after creating it, but in the end it helped me gain more experience in CSS and what we designers can do to try and create sites with plenty of visual depth. On the technical side of things, the theme doesn’t use any plugins or extras, and focuses simply on the design.

Sidebar in the Notepad Chaos is designed as a post-it-note and clipped at the top.

The themes uses a custom field called “thumbnail” where the user can add an image to their post. The instructions are within the readme file along with how to set up the menu links.”

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

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).

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

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

    It doesn’t look like it supports Pages or am I missing something?

  2. 2

    adelaide web design

    August 20, 2008 3:31 pm

    very nice ;)
    see our wordpress web design at Duivesteyn Web Consulting

  3. 3

    Love it :) Nice attention to detail without feeling too busy.

  4. 4

    Looks a very nice theme, not overly convinced on the background but it does make a change from the popular wooden background for such designs.

  5. 5

    Just a heads up, none of the smashing magazine images are showing up in the rss feed (feedburner version)

  6. 6

    Great looking theme — definitely a lot of interesting details here but it does all tie in together nicely. Well done!

  7. 7

    Very nice, congrats!!

  8. 8

    Beautiful, very inspirational piece of work!

  9. 9

    Looks really cool. Great job!

  10. 10

    Very nice free theme!
    Image problems in the RSS feed though as mentioned above

  11. 11

    OoOo pretty! I love the color scheme… Nice work!!

  12. 12

    Is it just me or is this copy…just slightly different elements and a different background in identical style.
    Yes, it is really nice, I am not denying the skills and the good looks, I just had to say whay I had :).

  13. 13

    @Tristina – you could add pages into the sidebar, no problem. Use the Pages widget, or drop the wp_list_pages template code into your sidebar.php file

    @zhille – it’s not Web Designer Wall – it uses a similar style, but other than that it’s a different theme. Possibly highly inspired by WDW, but yeah, like, show me something that is 100% new and original :)

    Cool theme guys!

  14. 14

    really nice work !!!! there should be more themes like this one !

  15. 15


    WDW didn’t invent the style, it’s nowhere near a copy.

  16. 16

    James De Angelis

    August 20, 2008 3:09 pm

    Very “inspired” by Webdesigner wall…

  17. 17

    That’s beautiful… thanks for sharing it

  18. 18

    Webdesigner Wall was one of the many illustration-driven sites that inspired me to create this theme.

  19. 19

    Nice, though a little rough around the edges.

  20. 20

    Max | Design Shard

    August 20, 2008 4:42 pm

    This is so cool, thanks

  21. 21

    ilovecolors design

    August 20, 2008 5:00 pm

    Evan, it’s a really fine theme, maybe it’s the best that has been featured on SM in terms of aesthetics. My only concern is that the date element is not well integrated with the overall design, in the way Latest Posts, blog title and others are. Great work.

  22. 22

    I Love this! Is anyone out there ready to convert it to a blogger theme….?

  23. 23

    Great theme! Reminds me of a little bit.

  24. 24

    very nice theme!!!

    I wish I could desain like you!!!

  25. 25

    August 20, 2008 5:54 pm

    looking nice.thanks for this theme

  26. 26

    I love the design style … Nice work!! :)

  27. 27

    I was just thinking today about setting up a new blog on wordpress, and then I fell upon this! Brilliant design, smashing to the core. Love you guys!

  28. 28

    thanks for sharing! this looks like something i can use and tweak for my needs :) great job :)

  29. 29

    Suspiciously like web designer wall, still looks nice though.

  30. 30

    I love this theme. The only problem I am having is with the link to the archives page. For some reason it keeps linking to the about page. Does anyone know how the correct for the archives?


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