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Free Studio Designed WordPress Theme

One of my favorite blog design houses, The Blog Studio, have released a second free theme for WordPress 1.5 and 2.0. It’s called Liquid Summer and you can see it in action here. It’s a three column design and has a nice feel about it (even though that green is a little hard on my retinas on my screen.

The cool thing about it is the ‘liquid’ content section that expands and shrinks depending upon how big your reader has their browser window.

Of course the problem with free themes is that they are not unique – but it might suit some bloggers who are just starting out and saving up for a unique pro design.

Liquidsummer

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. A.B. Dada says:

    I’m thankful for more free templates, but that thing is fugly. My brain fried after about 3 seconds of looking at it.

    I think it could be a decent template, though, with some more natural color changes.

  2. Stuart says:

    ABD – you lasted longer than I did – I couldn’t get to the back button quick enough.

    And you’re right a more subtle green might be good

  3. Dr han says:

    deleted for spamming

  4. sg says:

    Dr Han is such a spammer.

  5. Darren Rowse says:

    I like it in terms of layout – the comments are especially well designed.

  6. David says:

    I am surprised, with the thousands of themes, that you would post this one on your blog…

  7. Dev Null says:

    I get horizontal scrolling on IE @ 1280×1024. Yack.

  8. Hagrin says:

    I’d have to agree with the masses here – this is a pretty poorly designed template. 1. Horizontal scroll bar in IE (which right there is poor design – even if IE sucks which it does, you need to code for its exceptions), 2. Very poor color choice, 3. Text is extremely tiny, 4) Top right navigation is either incomplete or just placed wrong (it should be upper, upper right not somewhat in the corener). 4. No tiered comments, 5. No meta-moderation on comments (which seems to be the new craze and really does work well on active blogs) and 6. That green bar up at the top really makes the top navigation confusing and “lost”. I have built my own CMS systems before and I’m not nearly a great designer either, but I’m also not releasing templates to the public (yet, I plan on doing it eventually once I switch to fluid CSS and I fix my commenting system). Examples of good templates would be – http://www.mollio.org/ – take a look at these templates which are just fantastically built and have more than just the CSS for layouts. They also build styled elements as well).

  9. derek says:

    i’m with david. there are a number of fantastic themes out there that i would have thought deserved a feature before the one posted above. nonetheless, i think the structure is great. colors are a little to hard on the eyes. easily changed i’m sure for new bloggers.

  10. Darren Rowse says:

    David – I only linked to this one because it’s designed by blog studio who I think do great work. I’m more than happy for people to suggest their favorite themes in comments below though. The more we know the better in my books.

  11. Free themes are jut fine for me right now, however I don’t like this one.

  12. MJ Ray says:

    Looks like they’ve still some work to do on that one. It appears as one very long thin column here (510×580 window size = 2 browsers side-by-side – don’t most people do this now?). Its CSS isn’t valid and is has some colour problems (although not as irritating as problogger’s ;-> ): http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/validator?uri=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.theblogstudio.com%2Fdemo%2F&usermedium=all

  13. Chi An says:

    I’d like to suggest you guys take a look at open web design. Lot of cool designs there. However, they are not WP themes.

  14. Yikes! What a tough audience ;). Thanks to everyone for taking the time to comment. This just proves you can’t make everyone happy! The theme has been downloaded a couple of thousand times in the past 72 hours, and has been getting some pretty great reviews around the net (including a plug on the official WordPress blog).

    That said, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. That’s part of what makes being a designer so much fun.

    Hagrin has a couple of very valid points, and I really appreciate the time he/she put into the comment. The template he point to at mollio.com is indeed a lovely design. It’s not a wordpress theme though, and the two shouldn’t be confused for the sake of those with less development knowledge.

    It would be really helpful to me if those of you who experienced the horizontal bar in IE could tell me what version you’re using. Here at the studio, we’ve tested it on 5.5 and 6, and don’t get it…

    MJ Ray: as far as I know from my server stats, you’re in the extreme minority viewing a site at 510px. Over 95% of our site visitors have their browser windows open to 780px or greater.

  15. MJ Ray says:

    @Peter: 95% of visitors or 95% of responses? With the increasing stress on privacy from major media like the BBC (who mention it almost every “Click” show now), server stats are becoming less accurate as the non-response rate rises.

    Also, designing for the 95% can mean looking fugly to 1 in 20 people. Would you accept a 1 in 20 misprint rate on your offline marketing materials?

    There are really few good reasons for putting out an invalid or inaccessible site in this day and age. We have the tools like xhtml, CSS and WCAG: this can be done right. It is a shame to see one such invalid page design being promoted as a free sample and it’s a tragedy if it gets “some pretty good reviews”.

  16. MJ Ray:

    95% of visitors.

    Unfortunately your online/offline metaphor doesn’t hold up. In print, I can guarantee the final state of a piece. I would certainly not be satisfied with a 1 in 20 failure rate in that case. On the web however, it’s a different story. The final viewing state is totally out of my hands.

    To put a twist on your comment though, our intent with our free templates is NOT to appeal to the 95%. We use the free templates as an opportunity to do something fun. If 99 out of 100 people don’t like it, that’s ok. It’s not client work: it doesn’t need to appeal to any particular group. If some people like it, great!

    You are correct that the W3C’s css validator is showing one single error on the stylesheet. The error that is being displayed is a known shortcoming in the validator itself. The error is NOT invalid according to the W3C’s own specs for css2. The validator has it’s uses, but it is far from a perfect tool.

    I’m at a total loss as to why you would feel it’s a shame that we’re giving away a template that thousands of people seem to be enjoying. To the best of my knowledge, no one is being forced to download it ;) Installing it won’t break anyone’s system, nor will it damage their data. If they don’t like it, or if it doesn’t fulfill their particular needs (ie displaying at very narrow widths), then they can simply switch the theme off.

  17. MJ Ray says:

    I think it’s a shame that it’s not helping to build an accessible and valid web. The final viewing state is not under your complete control, but you have a big effect on it. The viewer can’t easily make the invalid valid. How can anyone see releasing inaccessible invalid demos as a good thing?

    I’m surprised to read the claim of a validator bug. Which known validator bug (number?) does your CSS trigger? Which bit of the CSS2.1 spec allows four dashes in the first non-comment line of a stylesheet?

  18. MJ Ray, I goofed on the validation: I thought it was choking on the * selector, but you’re right, it is the hyphens that are throwing the error. I’ve updated the zip file.

    I still politely take issue with how a few non-functional misplaced characters on the style-sheet render an entire site inaccessible and invalid to the user. I’m asking in the spirit of understanding your point, not of being an ass.

  19. Mikester says:

    I hate to say it, but… “owned”.