Raft: A New Multipurpose Block Theme for WordPress

Themeisle, longtime masters of the multipurpose WordPress theme, has launched its first block-based theme with the same trademark style and flexibility of its previous products. The shop currently distributes its Hestia (100K+ installs) and Neve (300K+ installs) themes on WordPress.org, commercializing pro versions with upgrades and support. Raft is the latest addition to the lineup.

When it comes to full-site editing support, the WordPress directory still leans a little heavy on blog themes, but Raft was designed to suit a wide-ranging variety of use cases, as stated in the theme’s description:

“It’s perfect for blogs, small business, startups, agencies, firms, e-commerce shops (WooCommerce storefront) as well as personal portfolio sites and most types of projects.”

Although the default homepage looks simple, it’s the block patterns that make this theme ready for anything. Raft includes patterns for creating a cover image with title and background, image galleries with a title, post query loop, two columns for features or services, three columns of features, call to action, FAQ, inverted background, and a hero section.

When users first install the theme, it prompts them to install the free Otter Blocks plugin, which adds more page building blocks and customization options. Raft also has compatibility with Elementor, Brizy, and Beaver Builder, in addition to Gutenberg, and support for WooCommerce. The Pro version of Otter Blocks contains more advanced WooCommerce blocks for building complex store layouts.

After activating the theme on a new install, clicking “Customize” takes the user to the Site Editor where it will be pre-filled to look nearly identical to the demo. There’s not much to the demo – it keeps the pages fairly simple and showcases the patterns on a separate page. Raft isn’t quite a blank slate but it does leave some room for the imagination, as it’s not stuffed full of content and animations.

The theme comes with eight beautifully designed style variations, each with harmonious color combinations that create a different vibe for the website.

image source: Themeisle

Rift packages full-site-editing templates that users can edit to further customize the main pages like 404, single blog posts, the front page, archives, and more. It also includes a blank page template.

Themeisle markets its popular classic themes on WordPress.org with pro versions that include starter templates, additional header and footer options, custom layouts, WooCommerce layouts, and other features. The company has not created a pro version for Raft. They may still be developing upgrade options but the world of blocks changes the game, since custom layouts are much easier to create with the block editor. User expectations are different. It will be interesting to see how Themeisle markets its first block theme compared to its classic products.

Rift is a good option if you need a lightweight theme that isn’t too opinionated but still provides the basic design as a starting place for building pages and customizing them with more advanced tools as necessary. If you are already one of the 100k+ Otter Blocks users, this theme integrates seamlessly. Raft is available to download for free on WordPress.org.

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13 responses to “Raft: A New Multipurpose Block Theme for WordPress”

  1. I do wish that some theme authors would not try to claim copyright of a user’s site. It’s not cool. The theme author has copyright of the theme they have created, yes, but not the site that the theme is installed and activated on.

    “Copyright 2022 – Raft by Otter” is in the front facing footer.
    It’s true that this can be changed by editing the footer template part, but it should not even read like this by default on a live publically viewable site, however easy it may be to edit.

    Such a shame as the theme is genuinely nice with its attention to detail, style variations and patterns.

    • Thankfully, having the Site Title block available makes this easy for a theme author to output something like this in through the footer.html template part:

      © 2022 Powder · Theme by Brian Gardner

      In my case, “Powder” is dynamically pulling in the Site Title, and the “Theme” is linked to the theme page. You can see this in action at here.

      • Brian, so when the User changes the Site Title from “Powder” to “My Cool Site,” the copyright statement at the bottom changes (this is what I would expect).

        But it seems that this contradicts the Licensing requirement that Andrew linked to:
        “Copyright statements on the front end must only display the user’s copyright, not the theme author’s copyright.”

        • Val, I don’t wish to speak for Brian but my take on this is that you wouldn’t usually give your own site the same Site Title as the name of the theme you are using.
          If you do choose to name your site the same as the theme, then that is your choice and the copyright is still with you the site owner.

          • My example is somewhat of a bad one because my demo site title is called Powder. The point I was trying to make is that my themes all assume that the copyright goes to the site owner and pull in the site title for that purpose. Then, I separate the mention of the theme that is being used on the site. So in theory, this is really what it is:

            © 2022 SITE TITLE · Theme by Brian Gardner

      • Thank you Brian.
        Placing the Site Title block makes it much clear-cut and unambiguous on a live site.

        When previewing a theme on .org, the theme preview takes the theme name to use as the site title (as it does in your demo but that is your site so not an issue), and so the confusion could still be present. Although this is an issue with the .org theme preview and not the theme.

  2. I suppose that at installation that copyright would hold as the theme is installed and demo data is made available.

    Themeisle does not require the end user to leave that intact, do they?

    • I suppose that at installation that copyright would hold as the theme is installed and demo data is made available.

      Absolutely not. Your site copyright is yours, not the theme author’s.

      This confusion shows exactly why themes should not be doing this, ever.

      The theme requirements specifically say so.
      “Copyright statements on the front end must only display the user’s copyright, not the theme author’s copyright.”
      https://make.wordpress.org/themes/handbook/review/required/#1-licensing-copyright

      • Ahhh… the Theme Author’s copyright statement is maintained elsewhere.

        I thought that at installation, prior to the end user changing anything and with theme-provided filler text and images loaded, the Theme Author’s copyright is appropriate. But the reference you provided indicates otherwise and your statement is correct that the copyright should not be there at all (or perhaps there should be a clear instruction that this should be changed immediately.

        Thank you. #TIL!

      • You are right. While it is “filler content” in this particular paragraph block its content should be changed to something neutral or, as Brian mentioned above, changed to the site title block.

  3. I love the block themes for WordPress. I am a new blog owner with a mental health blog and I am always looking for better ways to make my blog even better. Thank you for writing this post. I learned a lot.

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