In this post, I review a premium multifunction WordPress theme by ThemeTrust called “Create.” It is billed as the company's “most powerful and flexible theme yet” and it is built on the open source Page Builder plugin by SiteOrigin. So let's put this theme to the test and see if it lives up to the claims.
Background to ThemeTrust
ThemeTrust was established in August 2010 and has released 26 themes to date. The two main types of theme that characterise their work are portfolio and personal blog themes. “Create” is a hybrid of these two styles and part of the ever popular trend in multifunction WordPress Themes.
ThemeTrust is a design company that I always keep an eye on.
Why? One word: consistency.
Looking around today's premium theme markets, I feel there's a tendency with some creators to get sucked into the numbers game and sacrifice quality for quantity.
That being said, if WordPress themes were my main source of income, I suppose I would be focused on sales figures too. But I look at this from the perspective of a buyer / user and what I value most in a premium theme is clean code, professional design, ease of use, decent support and fair pricing.
In this sense, ThemeTrust has always struck me as a bit of a different “player” in the premium theme field. They take their time with new theme releases (on average 4 themes per year). A lot of work goes into detail such as font treatment, layout balance, effective use of whitespace, true responsive design and so on.
A quick glance at their portfolio reveals a commitment to simple and clean WordPress themes. This is echoed in their company slogan:
BEAUTY + FUNCTION
Premium WordPress Themes that are beautiful and easy to use!
The one thing I still find a little mysterious though is that it's difficult to know who is actually behind ThemeTrust. There is no “about” page on their website and no introductory post on their blog. Even their Twitter and Facebook accounts don't get into any personal detail. Not that you have to put your whole life story online, but it would be nice to get a sense of who's behind the design work and general running of the company.
So if someone from ThemeTrust happens to read this review and feels compelled to drop me a line with a short bio blurb, then I'll be happy to update this post…
Create Theme Core Features
Let's get started with a quick look at the core features of this theme. Here are some of the essentials at a glance:
|Homepage||6 different layouts, including: Agency, Professional, One Page, Shop, Fullscreen Slider, Portfolio.|
|Backgrounds||Add parallax image backgrounds to sections of the theme; video and image backgrounds.|
|Page Templates||5 different templates, including: Contact Us, About Us, Testimonials, and Pricing.|
|Portfolio Layouts||5 different layouts, including: two,three and five column layouts, as well as masonry style layouts.|
|Blog Layouts||4 different layouts, including: standard, standard full width, masonry and masonry full width.|
|Shop layouts||3 different layouts, including: full width, with sidebar adn custom.|
|Miscellaneous||Includes popular Slider Revolution image carousel; Google Fonts; Mega menus; boxed or wide layouts; unlimited widget areas; multiple headers; 1000s of icons…|
On the one hand you could quite happily use Create as a simple blog or portfolio theme, or to run a small online shop, because each core function works very well on its own. On the other hand, you can combine these functions using the 6 homepage templates and make use of the theme's multifunction capacity.
The modular nature of these templates (thanks to the excellent Page Builder plugin) makes it easy to integrate a range of elements from sliders to portfolio and blog entries, about and contact information and widgetized areas too.
Once you have installed the theme and its included plugins you will be able to work with page builder in the default WordPress page composition screen. The plugin operates on a drag and drop basis, separating the various options out into sections. Check out the screenshots of the core page builder options below.
While page builder allows you to control the basic layout components of a home page template, it gives you control over the look and feel of each component. You can modify colours, layout sizes and other options via this plugin.
The inclusion of the Slider Revolution WordPress plugin plugin is a big plus too. It would usually cost around $20 to buy it as a standalone plugin. It allows you to create dynamic slider content with multiple actions. You can see the slider at work on the front page of the main Create demo site or in the animated gif below.
The Slider Revolution plugin comes with its own admin section that you can access via your WordPress dashboard. It will take new users a while to learn the functions of the slider, though help and tutorials are at hand within the slider admin panel. Here are some screen grabs of the admin in action:
So all in all, the Create Theme's feature set is well thought through and comprehensive. ThemeTrust have made the admin side of the theme as pain free as possible using drag and drop interfaces where possible and tried and tested plugins too. As with any multifunction theme today, new users must be prepared to put in some work in order to learn the fundamentals of theme management.
The main Design features
On first glance of the default Create demo, the impression I get is of an elegant, spacious and professional looking multifunctional theme. Nothing is rushed, nothing is brash or out of character, there is an overall sense of balance to this theme which is very pleasing to look at.
I was particularly impressed with the font work on this theme. The font faces, the work on font shadows, line spacing and font size make text a joy to read.
For example, take a look at the bold font work on the intro section of the theme. It is ultra clean and easy to read. The rounded Helvetica font face creates a friendly welcome feel.
I also like the font and layout work on the different core pages of the theme, including the blog, shop and portfolio pages. Each of these is designed with a strong use of whitespace. Let's look at the blog page for example.
The subtle mix of greys and blacks on the text, coupled with the airy use of whitespace, put the blog content front and center. Photos really stand out and catch the eye.
On the shop page, you get a real sense of the overall attention to detail and balance with this theme.
The portfolio single posts are beautifully rendered too.
There's very little there. Just the fundamentals. Image, title and text. It's simple but effective web design at its best.
You might have gathered by now that I am a big fan of minimal design. I think the overall appeal of the Create multifunction WordPress theme is its simplicity – at least on the front end. ThemeTrust have put a lot of effort into making each key part of the theme as effective as possible. They didn't cut corners. What you get is a theme capable of powering a blog, portfolio, shop or professional website with elegance and style.
The only negative point I can find with this theme is the learning curve involved in setting up the home page templates and designing dynamic slides for the Slider Revolution. But this is counterbalanced by the fact that ThemeTrust offers excellent tutorial and documentation material. Users who are not versed in WordPress can also benefit from well staffed support forums.
All in all, I think this is a home run. Great job ThemeTrust!
As with all the theme reviews on this blog, my interest lies in that tiny group of themes that extend WordPress functionality through design innovation. In short, I'm looking for game changers. If you would like to recommend a theme for review, please get in touch via the contact form and I'll be happy to consider your work.