In our Early Theme Adopters series, we focus on bloggers creating great sites with recent additions to the Theme Showcase. Barely two weeks old, free portfolio theme Sketch is making a name for itself on artists’ sites and beyond.
Early Theme Adopters: Sketch
Sketch has barely been available for two weeks, but you’d never know it. This clean, cheerful, portfolio-focused theme is already a favorite — and not just for artists and illustrators. Here are three sites we love:
Dutch artist and designer Asja loves cats, as does the rest of the internet. On All Cats Have, she takes a simple doodle of two cats sitting side-by-side and transforms them to everything from superhero cats to Matisse-inspired cats to buddy cats lamenting their hangovers:
With Sketch, she’s able to showcase her latest blog posts up top, and her cat illustrations, which are all organized as portfolios, below. Using the new Site Logo feature, she drops a mini-version of her eponymous felines in the blog’s upper-left corner.
Asja keeps Sketch’s default sans-serif font; it’s readable, simple, and doesn’t steal the limelight away from her art. We also love the personal cat-teriffic touches in her pages and menus — the blog is listed as “Random Purring” in her menu.
When budget issues led the United Nations to reduce food support to refugees in central Africa, most of the world didn’t hear about it. One blogger did, and is now challenging the rest of us to spend a day living on the equivalent of one day’s rations: 850 calories. He uses Sketch‘s emphasis on visuals to build a bold, engaging site that draws us in with photos:
The blogger uses the top feature area to keep evergreen posts front and center, while the portfolio area links to more information on the humanitarian crisis and guidelines for people interested in taking the challenge. A simple logo (also taking advantage of the theme’s support for Site Logos) and Sketch‘s naturally clean typography mean that nothing detracts from the site’s mission.
BRICKrhetoric is a literary and arts journal from Chicago with an urban focus. And although Sketch is presented as a theme for artists’ portfolios, the editors saw it as the perfect blank canvas for the creative work they present:
They’ve opted to add a custom header instead of a logo, so their online journal can mimic a printed masthead. Rather than posts and portfolios, the home page features the journal’s mission statement, and a sidebar makes it easy for visitors to access past issues or look for content by contributor.
As the bloggers at All Cats Have and 850 Calories were, BRICKrhetoric’s editors were also drawn to Sketch‘s typography. Here, the clean lines of the type have a modern feel just right for the journal’s contemporary urban focus.
Looking for more inspiration? These sites and blogs also caught our eye:
- The Argentinian fashion blogger at RBLD nixes portolfios and sidebars for a full-width template that makes it impossible to ignore his photographs.
- Writer Ericka Clay uses it for Tipsy Lit, the writing community she organizes. She ups the font sizes a bit, creating a version of Sketch that suits the group’s brash style.
- Pati Montero depends on Sketch’s simplicity to keep her jam-packed site — web design, print design, and personal blogging, all available in Spanish, French, and English — from feeling overwhelming.
- Unsurprisingly, Sketch makes a great portfolio site for photographers — we particularly like Michelle Dorman and Lymath Images.
Sketch is a free theme — learn more about it in the Theme Showcase.
I saw Sketch when it came out, but I dismissed it because I thought it was a grid arrangement only.
After seeing the featured site at _Brick Rhetoric_ I saw how easy it was to arrange with a ‘normal’ sidebar, so I have adopted it.
Nice large font and easy on the eye.
The only slight downside is the comparatively narrow width allowed for the menu items. I am sure WP could squeeze a bit more space in, couldn’t they?
It is truly inspiring to see how people play with a theme to make it look so different, even unique. I particularly love the gigantic photos on RBLD’s portfolio.
Sketch is very nice indeed and ridiculously friendly. I’m loving it!
Thanks so much for mentioning my blog. I’m thrilled!
I might have to try this theme out, because I want my blog to be more of a portfolio site. Any helpful suggestions??
Really liked Sketch the first time I saw it. The grid layout along with the featured sliders is perfect for my site. Thank you WP Theme team :)