Themes and Gnorb.NET

If you frequent this site you may have noticed that I’ve recently been “experimenting” with a number of different themes and schemes.

That’s because I’m bored.

By that I don’t mean that I’m bored right now, it means that I’m bored with the way the site looks. You’re probably not (I hope you’re not), but then again you probably don’t look at this site as much as I do. (If you do you’re a sick, sick individual. Go outside and get a life.)

At any rate, I’ve been looking at making a few changes to Gnorb.NET and I’d like to get readers’ opinions regarding the next theme (or themes). The following is a quick look at and review of some of the themes I’m considering installing or getting inspiration from. (Getting inspiration != copying.)

Binary Moon
From BinaryMoon.com

Why I like it:

  • Color scheme already looks like what I have now.
  • Non-blog looking blog. (See “Squible” below for a more drastic example of what I mean.
  • Very easy to read interface. Actually makes the reader want to read it.
  • Easy to navigate.

What I don’t like:

  • It would be pretty hard to re-code something like that; I don’t think there’s a downloadable theme available.
  • I don’t have the mad Photoshop skillz that guy has. My skills are “moderately annoyed” Photoshot skillz, at best. (Actually, it’s more like “moderately annoyed” GIMP skillz.)
  • I hate blatant rip-offs, even if they are from a spectacularly designed site. (Truth be told, there are a few “improvements” I would include, like a Flickr image bar and at least the first paragraph of the most recent articles being presented.)

Enlightened
From SubNixus.com

What I like:

  • Very light. Heck, it even has orange!
  • Simple-enough look.
  • It’s a downloadable theme, so there wouldn’t be much time spent coding.

What I don’t like:

  • Too “Blogish”. Frankly, I’m a bit tired of that look.
  • Not centered, but that could be fixed.

Subnixus
From SubNixus.com

Live example here.

What I like:

  • Design is very simple, very clean.
  • Easy to read & Navigate.
  • Already essentially set up for non-intrusive ads. (Less intrusive that what’s here now.)

What I don’t like:

  • Seems a bit boring.

Regulus
From BinaryMoon.co.uk

(WordPress 2.0 Version)

What I like:

  • Based on Kubrick, which is what I’m using now, so the internal structure would be familiar to me.
  • Lots of back-end options. With a little tweaking this could make one theme become more than one.

What I don’t like:

  • Not much different than what I have now.
  • Not much different than what I have now.
  • In fact, pretty much exactly what I have now, but with some code improvements.

Squible
From Squible.com

Live example here.

What I lilke:

  • Non-blogish, like Binary Moon.
  • Breaks up the page into a nice set of sections, allowing for a good amount of flexibility.
  • The “Feature Article” on top allows me to keep the important content on top and the not-so important content below it.
  • Since it’s based on K2 it’s potentially very flexible and sexy.

What I don’t like:

  • Not particularly intuitive, since you conceivably have to scroll down to view the categories and links to other posts.
  • Easy to get messy with this theme.
  • Off the bat, does not elicit a strong “I want to read this!” response from the reader.

There are others, but these are my top choices. I tend to lean more towards the BinaryMoon theme, maily because it looks like Squible and Regulus combined, and mostly because it offers that non-blog feel while still being built in such a way as to make the reader want to view the site. (Unfortunately, it would likely take by far the most work.) I also lean towards Regulus because it’s based on K2, which works because that’s what I want Gnorb.NET to eventually be based on.

At the end of the day, it may be that I use multiple themes, some pre-packaged and some of my own. (I would be happy to contribute to the WordPress community, and this may be the only way I can really do that, other than donating.) This takes time because each theme takes time to set up, and I’d have to do this, for the most part, during late nights (one or two hours at most every few nights) and on weekends. In addition, I want to make sure I have enough time to write. After all, if I have to choose between a good looking site and writing, I’ll take writing every time, hands down.

Anyway, cast your votes in the comments section, and add a few suggestions of your own. And if you happen to be a designer looking for a project with which to showcase your mad designer skillz, well then I’m all ears. Or eyes. Whatever.

One thought on “Themes and Gnorb.NET

  1. As a side note, if indeed you ARE a designer looking for some fanfare, adoration, and a bit of linkage to your own site(s) or project(s), I’m willing to trade a good design for linkage, adoration, and perhaps even some patronage in the way of dead presidents and energy drinks. Email me at norb a-t- gnorb [dot] net for details.

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