The Automattic team released an elegant free blogging theme for WordPress entitled Esquire. Apparently inspired by the art direction of Esquire magazine, the design supports post formats, making it a good choice for a personal blog or Tumblr style blog.
The left column remains fixed. Strangely, it doesn’t contain a sidebar so you can’t add widgets to this area. Instead, it keeps things simple by showing your website name, description and a small icon for your RSS feed and another which drops down a search box. I appreciate that space is at a premium when a column is fixed though I would have at liked at least one widget area here though thankfully this area has WordPress menu support so you can easily add your page links or categories links here.
Esquire may have a simple design though it looks great with it’s big elegant fonts. Quotes, links and other post formats really stand out too due to the custom styling for each format.
Posts show how many days ago they were posted however when a user hovers over the link the text changes to show the exact date the post was published. There is a footer area at the bottom of every page. This is the only widget ready area within the design.
I was a little disappointed when I tested the theme to find out that the footer widget area was designed with only one column. I would have much preferred widgets to be placed over 2 or 3 columns. This isn’t an issue with something like the tags widget but when placing things like page, category and archive links it forces the user to scroll further down the page than is really necessary.
Esquire is a very basic theme. It lacks and option page, doesn’t have a sidebar and if you want to make any changes to the design you’re going to have to do it yourself via the templates. This simplicity is one of the reasons why I liked the theme too. The design wasn’t made for large blogs or online magazines but for personal blogs it’s elegant fonts and support for WordPress post formats makes it a great choice.