I used to build my own “themes” back when there really weren’t any “themes,” just static HTML pages that you might generate from something that you might call a “template” if you were formal enough about it and had thought enough about it before deployment.
Now I don’t really want to do all of that. I don’t have the time to invest.
So I’m running around the blogging universe looking at “themes” and what I’m finding is that the world is now *way* overdesigned. I keep seeing words like “sleek” and “minimalist” that appear to apply to themes that are bombastic, grandiose, overdone and overwrought.
I have no interest in having *Also Sprach Zarathustra* playing in the background of peoples’ minds as I post a little of this, a little of that, maybe something on academics, maybe something on politics, maybe something on careers. I’m not going to SEO this up six ways from sunday and try to sell it as so much “expertise,” nor am I hoping to generate an income, land a job, change the world, recruit activists or employees, etc. with what I post.
But there appears to be a massive gulf between “no design whatsoever” (which applies to maybe 20 percent of themes out there for blogging) and “Fortune 100 ready,” which appears to apply to the rest.
Yes, I’ll be doing some CSS and customization work of my own, but I really want something that’s:
- Clean and lightweight
- With reasonable information density
- Not at all bombastic or heavy-handed
- Doesn’t “oversell” the content
- Enables some organization and hierarchy
- Is reasonably easy to navigate
- Balances aesthetics with actual usability
- And sees the entire blog as the context, rather than seeing the theme as the context
In short, there’s a lot of ego out there in theme-land, and designers seeing *their theme* as the content of the sites on which it’ll be used, rather than seeing their theme as something meant to be customized and then to *act in the service of the content*.
I don’t see anything nice, simple, organized, capable, and typographic. I just don’t. And I’m crawling through hundreds of themes at this point.
Frustrating and I’m more than a little embarrassed for all of the “designers” out there that appear not to understand the basics of design.