Last year, WordPress saw a renaissance in personal blogging themes. The official WordPress.org directory received a deluge of high quality themes that served to raise the bar for commercial developers when it comes to design and simplicity.
In particular, the trend of flat, minimalist blogging themes is still running strong. Last month, theme design and development duo Mel Choyce and Kelly Dwan released Aventurine, a bold new theme for writers.
The name Aventurine was inspired by the Italian phrase a ventura, meaning by chance, but the theme’s elegant and deliberate typography choices indicate that nothing has been left to chance. Aventurine posseses a design wholeness where every element has a clear purpose, and the theme is free of cluttersome widgets and extraneous meta.
The theme’s colors are reminiscent of Choyce and Dwan’s popular Flounder theme, which has been downloaded more than 33,000 times. Aventurine’s text and headers feature Josefin Sans and Varela Round from Google Fonts.
The theme includes customizer options for setting the background and header colors. You can also upload a background image. Aventurine’s creators recommend using a repeating pattern, such as the ones offered at subtlepatterns.com.
Featured images are displayed as headers on top of posts at 900px wide for impact. The footer widget areas the only additional customizable feature. They are displayed neatly beneath posts and do not detract from the main content of the page.
Dwan and Choyce built Aventurine with accessibility in mind, particularly as it relates to best practices for interacting with keyboard and screen readers. While the theme’s default color palette does not pass accessibility guidelines, the authors made it easy for you to change some of the theme’s main colors in the customizer. Further customizations can be added to a child theme.
Aventurine has built-in support for a range of Jetpack features, including galleries, carousels, infinite scroll, and Photon. Over the past year, the Jetpack development team has been refining the plugin’s features to be more friendly to theme developers. Many newly released themes are taking advantage of this by supporting Jetpack features out of the box.
After sorting through dozens of free themes added to WordPress.org in early 2015, Aventurine is one of the few that stand out as truly original and inspiring. It’s one of the best-designed personal blogging themes of 2015 thus far. Check out the live demo on the theme’s homepage. You can download Aventurine for free from WordPress.org or install it via your admin themes browser.