Most people won’t believe they are freebies, and look better than many professionally designed static sites. Check these 11 babies out!
A lovely free site, with a fading features gallery, and nice green color scheme. Perfect for food, lifestyle, and other type sites.
2. Monochrome Gallery
Monochrome Gallery is one of my favorite WordPress magazines at the moment, and I’ve created a couple of sites using it. It has a neat design that features five stories with pictures down the bottom, and a main slideshow that scrolls through five recent posts. There are also great sidebars for bits and pieces, asides, and ads if you prefer. A good example of a theme using it is here (most notably with the addition of a header picture) – the same basic layout but using the more extensive premium theme.
Before you download it though, keep in mind that the various bells and whistles can be tricky to set up. I’ve added to the support there with my own tutorial for setting up Monochrome Gallery, that hopefully should help you set up and on your way as fast as possible.
3. The New Yorker
This one is not a free theme – but included because it’s an incredible artifact and an addition to your range of options. The New Yorker is an amazingly extensive, high-end newspaper clone. You’ll have to look at the demo to get some idea of the scope – the screenshot is only for the top third at most. With 37 different widgetised areas (most themes have one or two), nearly 140 settings, a separate theme control panel to run it all, and automatic control functions for videos, ad banners, and other aspects, this $39 theme is a WordPress template out of control. It’s lovely to look at too, with beautiful attention to detail in the typography and layout. The only question that comes to mind is – how would you ever fill all that content?
4. Modern Paper
Cheap (free) and cheerful – take out the navigation bar, add in a big image header, and you have one fast internet magazine.
A lot like Modern Paper above, this has a nice variation where small sections of text are highlighted in the middle column – a nice option you might want to have for your project.
A truly gorgeous theme, with a great drop down menu and colors. This elegant theme can also be chopped and changed by removing elements. Just leave the front page sections you’d like in the theme editor.
7. Jello Wala Mello
Another great theme for showing a whole bunch of information on the homepage, for your readers to browse and go into for further detail. For an example of this theme with a logo in the top section, and the yellow scheme replaced with blacks and greys, see Rock Songwriting. Many other great modifications are possible for this free theme – just come up with a simple font and color change and you’re away.
8. WordPress Magazine
A lovely, professional looking theme that can be happily “tweaked”, or used as-is. I even like using the logo supplied, and have made a favicon to go with it which I’ll post if anyone is interested. Check it out.
Perhaps the most stylish magazine – dare we say overly so? Mimbo is a classic of the genre, and with good reason. A little tricky to set up, but worth the effort.
10. The Morning After
I have a love/hate relationship with The Morning After. On the one hand, it is one of the most desirable “open” page magazine themes out there, made in response to a survey of all the ingredients people wanted in a free wordpress theme. It has all sorts of great features, like a easy-to-print function for posts, asides, and featured articles. On the other hand, adding images to the front page is more annoying than with any other theme I’ve used. So many times I’ve started a project with The Morning After, and then swapped a little later. Perhaps I’m looking at it wrong, and you’ll solve this puzzle. Let us know. The prizes are pretty darn big. Check out the preview to see what it can do.
The elegant grandfather of the magazine set, this WordPress skin makes a blog look a million bucks. I’d love to see a funked-up version of Branford – it looks like it could loosen up a bit and be a completely different theme. If anyone has any creative examples, let us know.
This site is but a baby – a few weeks old. Stay tuned, because we have over 60 very selectively chosen magazines, ready to be uploaded!
Suggestions? Comments on your favorite magazine themes welcome.