Sometimes, while rambling the web, you stumble upon real gems. That’s what just happened to me. It was by pure coincidence that I found the website of Anders Norén. Anders Norén, among other things, develops WordPress themes. These are not only mostly completely free, but also picture-perfect. You can grab them from WordPress.org. If you are into the WordPress theme universe, you already know that the majority of free themes is plain disappointing. They are designed and even more so coded in a half-assed attempt to get some short-dated attention. Others may be good, yet batter you with a plethora of mostly superfluous functions – the jack of all trades approach. Neither of these is Anders Norén’s take. He cares for great contemporary design, outstanding typography and clean code. This is reason enough to introduce you to his works…
Anders Norén is a Swedish web designer and student of communications from Umeå. He already developed 10 great WordPress themes, of which 9 are available for free from WordPress.org. Compared to other specimen out there, Anders’ themes have relatively few options. As soon as you need a special feature, you will have to install a plugin. His themes are Child theme ready, which allows you to use embed important functionality into the Child. This is generally a good idea as the use of Child themes allows for an easy update of its Parent without having to fear the loss of any important changes you might have made.
All his themes are fully responsive and Retina-ready. They will look great on all devices as you can see from the screenshots below. Each theme fully supports WordPress Post Formats such as Standard, Audio, Gallery and more. Then there are templates for removing the sidebar, one for a full-width design, and for showing proper archives such as last posts, categories, tags and more. All themes are promised to be actively maintained and kept in sync with upcoming WordPress versions.
These Are the Free WordPress Themes
Fukasava is a minimal Masonry style blog theme for photographers or any site owner with a heavy focus on images. Your articles are displayed in a Pinterest-like layout. Fukasava offers five widgets and supports the Jetpack plugin with its lazy load variant Infinite Scroll. Articles are loaded as you scroll down. You can easily change the colors and add your own logo.
Hoffman also supports Jetpack with its Infinite Scroll and its Gallery feature. This beautiful blog theme can easily be customized in regard to background as well as link colors.
Garfunkel is another Pinterest-style theme with Jetpack support for Infinite Scroll. Options are changing the background image, altering the link colors and embedding your own logo. This theme comes with six unique widgets.
German product designer Dieter Rams seems to have had an impact on Anders Norén. This minimal blog theme is a tribute to him. It comes with Jetpack support and lets you alter the colors of the sidebar as well as the link color. It has a slider built-in – perfect for the presentation of images or graphics in general.
Radcliffe has been designed for image-heavy blogs. Pictures are presented in full width on the front page and turn to headers in individual articles, while still fully stretching from left to right. If you like Medium, this theme should be on your shortlist. Options are the possibility to upload your own logo and the modification of link colors.
This theme is my personal favorite. Baskerville presents articles in Masonry style and is perfect for content-laden blogs or magazines. The header can be replaced with your own, while uploading your own logo has not been planned ahead. If you know your ways around WordPress, this will not hinder you. Take a look at the live demo to see how pretty this theme actually is. Besides containing the templates called Archive, No Sidebar and Fullwidth, Baskerville comprises a so-called Contributor template. This templates makes for a decent presentation of your contributing authors.
Very tasteful presentation with the Contributors template
Baskerville supports the ZillaLikes plugin, enabling your readers to tell you whether they like what you have to say or show.
Wilson is perfect for personal bloggers or your private web site. Choose your own logo and change the link colors. Unique widgets for Flickr, Dribbble and video are available.
Hemingway is not only extremely clean and beautiful, but also provides an outstanding typography, which is the major reason for its attractiveness. The header can be replaced as can the colors of the links and more. Templates for Archive, No Sidebar and Fullwidth are again included. A widget for the presentation of videos is also available.
Ligonberry has been created with the classical blogger type in mind. Photos find their place in a slide show, audio has its own player and video presentation has also been optimized. Post formats care for the separation of these different media and their individual presentation.
Lasseter, the Only (or First) Paid Theme by Anders Norén
Lasseter is Anders’ only paid theme, at least at the time being. It is as beautiful as the others and optimized for media-heavy sites with a lot of images and video. Lasseter contains its own social share feature for Twitter, Facebook and Google+ and supports the ZillaLikes plugin. Audio is played within its own player with share functionality. Furthermore there are five individual widgets for Flickr, Dribbble, Videos, Twitter, and a Tabbed widget. The latter shows the most recent posts, comments, categories and tags in a tabbed interface.
Lasseter – 49 $
Lasseter is ready for the following plugins:
For Theme Developers: a Short Look Beneath the Surface
Looking at the code supports the good impression the design already made. These themes are of great code quality, and will work in years to come without inherent problems. The code is perfectly clear and well structured. Developers are able to adapt the concepts quickly. This is even more supported by the well-documented essential file functions.php. The following screenshots show parts of content.php and functions.php from Baskerville.
Excellent Code Quality: content.php
Well Documented: functions.php
Such picture-perfect AND free themes are a rarity over at WordPress.org. This makes it easy to get over the fact that Anders’ themes are not the most feature-packed out there. There’s always a plugin to add functionality just around the corner. This has the additional advantage that the feature will still be there while the theme may not ;-).
Design, Typography, Code Quality – all is top-notch: Noupe says "All Thumbs Up"!
Themes, Demos and Downloads
- Fukasava: Theme Page at Anders Norén | Live Demo | Download from WordPress.org
- Hoffman: Theme Page at Anders Norén | Live Demo | Download from WordPress.org
- Garfunkel: Theme Page at Anders Norén | Live Demo | Download from WordPress.org
- Rams: Theme Page at Anders Norén | Live Demo | Download from WordPress.org
- Radcliffe: Theme Page at Anders Norén | Live Demo | Download from WordPress.org
- Baskerville: Theme Page at Anders Norén | Live Demo | Download from WordPress.org
- Wilson: Theme Page at Anders Norén | Live Demo | Download from WordPress.org
- Hemingway: Theme Page at Anders Norén | Live Demo | Download from WordPress.org
- Ligonberry: Theme Page at Anders Norén | Live Demo | Download from WordPress.org
- Lasseter: Theme Page at Anders Norén | Live Demo | Buy the Theme for $ 49 at Mojo Themes
- Contact Form 7 for – well – contact forms
- ZillaLikes and your blog can be liked – yay
- Codestyling Localization (for language localization)