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New Themes: Gridspace and Ascetica

septiembre 6

Happy Themeday, all! Today we have two brand-spankin’-new themes for your visual enjoyment.

Gridspace

First up is Gridspace, a classic, elegant premium theme by Graph Paper Press.

Gridspace lets you show your work in style. Designed as a portfolio for photographers, its slick features include light and dark color schemes, multiple thumbnail sizes, a responsive design, and a convenient space for your logo. Your readers can easily switch between two blog layouts on the fly – grid view and list view – while large featured images and an elegant overall design make your work the focus.

Live on the grid, and check out Gridspace on the Theme Showcase!

Next up is Ascetica, a beautiful theme from AlienWP, designed by Galin Simeonov.

Get rid of the clutter and concentrate on your content. Ascetica prefers subtle details over flashy gimmicks and provides the perfect balance of minimalism, white-space, responsiveness, and customization to allow you to focus on and support what matters most – your content – while doing it in a way that is uniquely your own.

Love that minimalist look? Then make sure to visit Ascetica on the Theme Showcase.


blog.wordpress.com

Freshly Pressed: Editors’ Picks for August 2012

septiembre 4

In August, WordPress.com bloggers hit us with their best: Smart takes on the month’s biggest stories. Thoughtful musings on culture. Photographs and art that bring the world to life.

The following ten picks represent what Freshly Pressed is all about: original content that engages readers, timely posts that contribute to a larger discussion, and personal writing that resonates with others. Enjoy!

Glimpses of Iran

This photo essay documents quiet, unexpected moments of daily life in Iran and captures the delicious details and textures of Yzad and elsewhere. The collection of six photographs illustrates quality over quantity—each image is strong, well-composed, and tells its own story.

Frankie V. Debra, Roe V. Wade: Patricia Heaton’s Two Famous Moms, and Can You Still Be a Feminist If You’re Anti-Abortion?

“But I’m still happy to be in their gang, because we don’t all have to think the same.”

This post examines hot-button topics—abortion and feminism—through an original and nuanced discussion of actress Patricia Heaton. We are impressed with the blogger’s honesty, respectful but confident voice, and willingness to ask questions; these elements encourage readers to comment and join the discussion.

Thinking of New Orleans

“Why do we turn to these stories? For shelter. We need an explanation, because “It happened for no reason at all” is somehow too horrifying to face.”

In this reflection on Hurricane Katrina, writer/photographer Kim weaves thoughts on Louisiana, loss, and the film Beasts of the Southern Wild. We especially like her musings on how we create stories to cope, and to make sense of why things happen in the world. Her gallery of evocative images of New Orleans complements the piece.

Armstrong Is Probably Guilty, But It Is Definitely Meaningless

“This whole long, sordid episode ends in two competing realities. The first is that Armstrong – despite his protests – likely is guilty. The second is that doesn’t matter if he is.”

After introducing the story on Lance Armstrong’s battle with the US Anti-Doping Agency, Mark presents an opinionated yet fair take on doping in cycling (and touches on other sports, too). He admits he is not an Armstrong fan, which further illustrates a balanced approach to the issue.

Authors Behaving Badly: The Seedy Underbelly of Reviewing

“As a writer, I’m not comfortable with the idea of someone writing a review of my book if they haven’t read it. I’m not writing so people can pat me on the back, I’m writing because I have stories I want people to read.”

Here, Jo offers her thoughts on an interesting publishing story: an entrepreneur who set up a business in which authors pay him to write a positive review. Solidly written and thorough, the post leads to a discussion for both writers and readers alike. We like how she asks questions at the end to help launch a healthy debate.

Republican Todd Akin: Don’t Worry, You Won’t Get Pregnant From Rape

“The point is, this is a decision that most deeply affects the victims of rape; those victims have to live with the outcomes of that decision as well as the effects of the crime itself; and those women should be allowed to make the decision that is best for them.”

August saw no lull in controversy in the news, and WordPress.com bloggers confronted these issues head on. A post tackling a hot-button issue can become polarized—even angry—but this take on Todd Akin’s statement on rape is at once passionate and professional.

Lie to Me: Five Lies I’m Proud of Telling My Kids

“Actually, Timmy, there’s a really, really good chance that you won’t be an astronaut. Considering your complete inability to understand long division, you’re probably going to sell cars when you grow up. Now let’s talk about Santa Claus.”

Readers enjoyed this tongue-in-cheek list about the lies one father tells his kids. Whether or not you are a parent, you can relate to this lighthearted post, and will likely recall your own childhood and wonder: did my parents lie to me?!

Rethinking Sleeping Beauty

“Before she pricks her finger, she hesitates, her hand outstretched, but then at Maleficent’s urging, she finally touches the spindle. I’ve always preferred to think that she did it on purpose, not just because she was under a spell. I like to see it as an act of rebellion, a refusal to go from Briar Rose to Aurora quite yet.”

We like how Melissa uses a childhood tale to express ideas about coming of age. Musings are particularly resonant when a writer takes something familiar—such as the story of Sleeping Beauty—to illustrate observations on a more personal level. As a result, she engages with her readers, who have made their own connections through her insights.

When Saturday Mornings Meant Something

Cartoons – the word, the concept, the feeling, the religion — is dead.  Dead and obsolete like the Gothic-arched mouse hole where Jerry took refuge.  Drowned in a sea of endless animation.”

This homage to old-school Saturday morning cartoons left readers swimming in a sea of nostalgia. He-Man! Dungeons and Dragons! The shows of Hanna-Barbera! The sharp and entertaining commentary and palpable passion for the subject contribute to this well-received post.

For Neil.

“Rest in peace other Neil.”

We’re always on the lookout for original artwork: illustrations, paintings, sketches, and more. Shortly after learning of Neil Armstrong’s death, (another) Neil shared an illustration celebrating the famed astronaut. The piece is just as much about Armstrong as it is about the artist himself, and this makes the post timely as well as touching.

What do you think about these selections? Were there other Freshly Pressed posts that stood out this month?

If you’re looking for more, peep the latest posts on Freshly Pressed; check out our writing challenges, photo challenges, and other blogging tips and inspiration at the Daily Post; visit our Recommended Blogs; and browse the most popular topics in the reader.

For editorial guidelines for Freshly Pressed, read: So You Want To Be Freshly Pressed.


blog.wordpress.com

New Themes: Able and Sight

agosto 31

It’s Thursday, and you know what that means — new themes!

First, we are happy to introduce Able, a multipurpose traditional blog theme that is a refresh of our two older classics, Andreas 04 and Andreas 09.

Able

Designed by our very own Philip Arthur Moore, Able retains the spirit of its predecessors — up to a three-column layout and a gray scale color scheme — while offering an updated look that is clean, responsive, and highly readable. We’re sure you’ll be Able to come up with many creative uses for this theme. Read all of the details on the Theme Showcase, or take the demo for a spin.

Our next new addition is Sight, another great theme from WPShower that blends simplicity with sophistication.

Sight

Elegant and versatile, Sight is a great choice for many different types of sites, including blogs and online magazines. It features a right sidebar for widgets, two custom menu locations, a slider for sticky posts, and a responsive layout that adapts to smaller screen sizes. Learn more about Sight on the Theme Showcase. You can also take a look at the demo, if you wish.

Enjoy!


blog.wordpress.com

New Theme: Twenty Twelve

agosto 29

Every year the WordPress team proudly unveils a new default theme, increasing by one the collection now known affectionately as the Twenty Somethings. Serving as the flagship theme for a year, it has big shoes to fill. The theme should work well for a blog or a website, be carefully crafted under-the-hood to support essential WordPress features, and—of course—it should be aesthetically pleasing and exciting.

Say hello to the new default WordPress theme for 2012.

Twenty Twelve is an elegant, readable, and fully responsive theme that makes your site content look its best on any device.

A key component of this theme is a special homepage template. Recently, it’s become even more evident that WordPress is heavily used as a content management system (CMS) with many more sites now using it to organize any kind of content rather than purely as a blog. The homepage template meets this need by allowing authors to craft a perfect introductory page—it’s the first thing visitors see. Homepage content (text, images, video, anything you’d like) lives in the upper area, and below it you can arrange specific homepage-only widgets.

What makes this theme really shine are the design details. Starting with a thoughtfully crafted mobile-first layout, Twenty Twelve is intended to be viewed on any size device from smartphones and tablets up to the latest and greatest HiDPI/retina screens. No matter how your readers decide to visit, it’ll remain usable and good-looking.

To increase readability and attractiveness, Twenty Twelve features the gorgeous Open Sans typeface. Refreshingly different from the basic web fonts of yesteryear, this font spruces up your prose and gives your content a modern, clean look.

Since I already mentioned the Twenty Somethings, I’d also like to highlight how this one is different. Here are two key departures from previous default themes.

First, you’ll see in the styling for post formats that the design remains consistent on both list and single views. Links, quotes, asides, and images that you select to be formatted as such in your post editor are shown a bit differently than standard blog posts—and they’ll retain their unique look-and-feel across your site.

Second, you’ll notice that a custom header image is not visible when you first activate the theme. Unlike Twenty Ten and Twenty Eleven, this theme doesn’t come with a set of hand-chosen header images, nor does it use featured images as large banners at the top of posts and pages. A header image is supported by the theme, though this time the feature will be turned off until you choose to upload your own.

Learn all about these features and more on the Theme Showcase.

Designed by Drew Strojny and built by many hands in the WordPress community, Twenty Twelve is now available in your WordPress.com dashboard at Appearance → Themes. Self-hosted WordPress.org users will have access very soon via the WordPress.org Extend theme directory, and the new theme will be bundled with the official 3.5 software release later this year.

I hope you enjoy the new theme and the new look.


blog.wordpress.com

Finding Themes is Now Faster & More Visual

agosto 28

I want to let you in on a little secret: when we launched Lovebirds and Ever After almost two weeks ago, we reached 200 active themes on WordPress.com! With so many amazing new themes coming out, we thought it was time for an overhaul of the Theme Showcase.

More Visual

I always judge books by their covers and themes by their screenshots, but the old Theme Showcase’s tiny screenshots made that last one really hard. That problem is now just a fading memory:

Theme Showcase screenshot

And, like everything on WordPress.com these days, these screenshots are HiDPI/retina-ready!

Faster

We now only show the first 20 or so results, loading more as needed with Infinite Scroll. This, and a bunch of other behind-the-scenes improvements will keep things nice and snappy while you look for the perfect theme for your blog. To top it off, all your searches and filters are quickly returned on the same page.

Happy theme browsing, and here’s to the next 200 themes!


blog.wordpress.com

New Theme: Avid

agosto 24

Looking for a new and exciting way to share your images with the world? Well, look no further! Avid is an innovative premium theme for photographers from The Theme Foundry. With a unique photoblog layout, beautiful gallery, and retina-optimized interface, Avid makes it easy to share all of your snapshots, photographs, and creative work.

Every detail of Avid is carefully crafted with photographers in mind. Avid gives you the power to quickly and easily showcase your images, galleries, videos, and blog posts in a beautiful, responsive layout. Read more about Avid in the Theme Showcase and then take it for a test spin by visiting the live demo.

Avid was designed by Dave Ruiz of Foundation Six.


blog.wordpress.com

Collaborate and Create: Group Blogs For Friends, Colleagues, and Family

agosto 21

For many, blogging is a solo journey, but it doesn’t have to be. Did you know a blog on WordPress.com can have multiple contributors? Check out the following group blogs, and you might find inspiration for a project that your friends, colleagues, or family members would love to collaborate on:

Jessica Korteman

Jessica and Hai, a globetrotting Australian couple and writer/photographer team currently based in Tokyo, document their adventures with words and images. The home page is a dynamic display of the vibrant images of the festivals and places they’ve explored and is a fun way to share their content.

[Theme: Customized Imbalance 2, a sophisticated theme for showcasing a group portfolio or online magazine.]

Thirty Six 24 Thirty Six

Two friends under the aliases Naomi and Elle approach weight loss, body image, exercise, and women’s health with heart, humor, and sass. The conversational blog is new, but the pair has created various features, like static pages for exercise journals and stats, so readers can follow along on their journeys.

[Theme: Oxygen, a versatile theme that allows you to switch between a traditional post format and an online magazine-style template.]

Peanut Butter on the Keyboard

A group of romance novelist-moms muse on motherhood and writing, from the craft to the business of publishing. An honest, lighthearted tone permeates the blog—they share what they have learned about raising kids and writing books with readers, yet also learn from each other.

[Theme: Forever, a simple and modern design that's easy to follow.]

Overexposed + Underdeveloped

Ten friends explore a mix of topics, including travel, family, and food. Their voices are different, yet they share a perspective that life should be shown as it is: beautiful, messy, mundane, and real. The photography is the blog’s unifying element.

[Theme: Customized Anthem, a clean, elegant theme with eight unique post formats.]

Just Me & My Dad

Through this simple but effective photo project, a dad and daughter get to know each other—and their cameras—better. Each week, they share images based on a theme. The side-by-side placement of their photographs and clean blog design are a winning combination.

[Theme: Customized Vigilance, a minimal theme that keeps the focus on content—and is perfect for a photo project such as this one.]

Ajam Media Collective

This group of writers analyzes cultural, social, and political trends in the Iranian, Central Asian, and Diaspora communities. Three columns of text and images offer a variety of content, and authors and categories are clearly displayed.

[Theme: The Morning After, a classic magazine-style theme that can be customized to fit a group's needs.]

Noisy Pilgrims

This is what happens when a trio of engineers decide to take to the streets and document what they see. Stunning shots of culture, nature, and people are showcased on a photo-centric home page with a custom image sidebar.

[Theme: Ideation and Intent, a visual theme of bright colors and clean lines fitting for a collective of creatives.]

Atsuko & Joe

This team covers exhibitions and cool finds in art, design, and music, from London to Tokyo. Influenced by both contemporary and traditional culture and design, they post in English and Japanese, attracting a global readership.

[Theme: Customized Blogum, a modern design without the clutter, allowing a group to focus on their ideas.]

Have an idea for a group blog? Create a new blog or transform your current one by following the steps in the support document on inviting blog contributors.

The key steps to adding new users to your blog:

  • Click on Users -> Invite New in your dashboard, then follow the instructions to add WordPress.com usernames or email addresses. (You can invite people who are not WordPress.com members. Once invited, they will follow steps to complete the sign-up process.)

  • Select either Editor, Author, or Contributor from the dropdown. (You can add a user as an Administrator, but be careful—this grants full ownership rights to him/her. Only one administrator per blog is recommended.)

Editors can view, edit, publish, and delete posts/pages; moderate comments and manage categories, tags, and links; and upload files/images. Authors can edit, publish, and delete their own posts, as well as upload files/images. Contributors can edit their own posts but cannot publish them; these posts are submitted to an administrator for review. (Learn more about these user roles.)

We’re excited to see what you come up with!


blog.wordpress.com

Summer Cleanup

agosto 18

We’ve made a minor change to the dashboard menu to help tidy things up a little.

We figured that the Polls and Ratings menus were taking up too much space as top-level menu options. So we decided to move both Polls and Ratings under Feedbacks to minimise the amount of dashboard space these options take.

Poll settings are now under Settings->Polls.

Rating settings are now under Settings->Ratings.

Custom poll styles are now accessed via the poll editor.

We hope this update will make the dashboard a little more streamlined for you this summer.


blog.wordpress.com

Do More Faster

agosto 15

We’ve just released two improvements that will make WordPress.com even more efficient for you, leaving you more time to create content.

Site Stats

If you get a lot of traffic to your blog, your stats were sometimes slow to load.  We know you like to look at your stats often, think about how all those seconds added up.  Now, your main stats page loads all of its data in parallel:

This loads your whole stats page two to three times faster, which means less time spent staring at a spinner and more time for interacting with your readers and creating content.

Of course, if you’re a Jetpack user, you can partake in the speedy stats goodness on your WordPress.com stats page as well!

Toolbar Notifications

We’ve made your Toolbar Notifications faster to interact with also. Now you can navigate the Notifications menu from your keyboard.

Keys:

  • n : Open/Close the notifications menu (make sure you aren’t currently typing in a text box first).
  • j / k (or up and down arrows) : Navigate through your notifications
  • r : Start replying to a comment notification.
  • a : Approve/Unapprove a comment.
  • s : Mark as Spam/Unspam a comment.
  • t : Trash/Untrash a comment.

If you’re logged in, hit n now and try it out.


blog.wordpress.com

New wedding themes: Lovebirds and Ever After

agosto 14

At the beginning of 2012, we launched our wedding theme Forever and let you in on how you can use WordPress to document and share your wedding experience with your friends and family. Now we’re doing it again. Get the rose petals and bubbles ready, here come our two new wedding themes, Lovebirds and Ever After.

Lovebirds, a sweet theme with whimsical illustrations by our very own Caroline Moore, allows you to inform your guests about your journey and upcoming celebration — in style.

Lovebirds

The lovely cursive font adds just the right amount of garnish to the clean layout, providing you with a beautiful, clear frame in which to tell your story. Where did you meet? How did the proposal occur? Who’s in the wedding party? Where will the wedding take place? Spare none of the details! Take the demo for a spin or learn more about Lovebirds on the Theme Showcase.

Next up, we have Ever After, designed by Takashi Irie, another one of our own. Ever After makes effective use of subtle textures and ornaments to add elegance and grace to your wedding site.

Ever After

Ever After’s wide, one-column layout is ideal for sharing photos and videos of your wedding, in addition to all of the details surrounding your special day. It can transform your site into an online wedding album as you relive the memories of your wedding and subsequent journey, hopefully to end with a happily…ever after. As usual, take a look at the demo, and read more about the theme on the Showcase.

Personalization
Lovebirds and Ever After both feature a responsive layout that resizes to fit smaller screens, ensuring that your guests stay informed even on the go. Personalize your site with your own custom header and background images. If you want even more customization, our Custom Design upgrade gives you access to oodles of fonts, unique color palettes, and a custom CSS editor — all the tools you need to create a look that matches your wedding.

Our new wedding themes also allow you to add an RSVP form, a guestbook Page template, and our special Milestone widget that shows how much time remains before the Big Day!

Introducing Weddings.WordPress.com

Now that we have 3 themes for weddings, we wanted to show them off and show how easy it is to use WordPress for your wedding, all in one place.

weddings.wordpress.com

Visit weddings.wordpress.com to learn about all of our features, and to sign up for a free wedding site today, using one of our wedding themes. We hope this will be a great resource for you.


blog.wordpress.com