We spent most of last year building the structure of the new home for our theme shop and, of course, we always keep polishing and adding requested functionality to our themes. But during the last months we also put a lot of time away to craft a new theme.
Today we’re very happy to announce we have officially added a new member to our themes’ family. We called it Pepper, and it’s a free modular WordPress theme.
You can download it here now, or keep reading to get the whole story behind it.
The rational behind releasing a free WordPress theme
There are thousands of free themes on the wordpress.org themes repository. So we are clearly not early arrivers to the free theme sphere. Nevertheless, we felt it was the right time to do it, for many reasons.
Contributing to the WordPress community
We’ve been co-organizers of the WordPress meetups group in Buenos Aires for years now. We help develop nurturing spaces for WordPress newcomers and experts and we co-organized the last local WordCamp (with another one on the way, yay!).
That said, we are theme creators. And, while we love growing communities, we feel like we have a tremendous potential of helping WordPress users create beautiful and functional sites with our themes. Why not try to give back in that area too?
Set the case for a modular way of content creation
Our themes work in a different ways than most of the premium themes out there. While you’ll find lots of themes that let you structure page layouts more freely (usually through various implementations of page builder plugins), we think there’s a place for a different way to craft your content.
The modular way our themes are conceived lets you focus on building a rounded web experience without having to invest time on “pixel decisions”. Now, that’s not diminishing of the graphic design in the web. Not at all. We just say “let me handle that for you”.
So we prefer to set useful options so you can control how each module looks and use clear code behind the scenes so that whoever wants to customize beyond that can do it easily too.
What we thrive for: whenever you add a section to a page, it should look nice from the get go. You put the content, we put the design. And then you make it yours.
Looking for new and better options for content creation on WordPress is definitely not exclusive to us. Matt stated on WCUS 16 that this year’s going to bring a new focus to the editor experience. And great work is already being done on that regard for us to be excited about.
WordPress is still a teenager and I’m sure we’ll see new wonders on this area. And even if we know the modular way won’t be the default for everybody, we know for a fact it has already helped a huge community of users launch gorgeous WordPress sites.
Get our work in front of more users
This one is pretty self explanatory, yes. But for a long time we wanted to have something we could gift, for free, that would still add a ton of value to whomever could get it.
Having a free theme to offer new users seemed like a perfect plan for that. 🙂
What will you find inside Pepper
Now that the presentations are over, let me take your coat, and follow me to this other side of things.
Create pages in a modular way
Pepper is a modular theme. As with all our themes, you can build pages with it by combining different kind of modules, where each module offers different content design opportunities.
The goal while designing with modules is to enable you to create powerful layouts without having to touch a line of code. Some key options are available on each module so you can customize its looks and make it part of a whole inside your own branding and visual message.
And you’ll find many hooks all along the theme if you happen to need to get into the code too.
Six available modules
We’ve picked 6 out of the many modules we normally ship with our themes. These 6 modules will let you build amazing stuff with ease:
The blog module lets you insert a blog feed everywhere you want. You have 3 amazing layouts to choose: Classic, Headlines and Masonry.
This one is a free editor module. You can use it to write normal text, HTML, insert images, shortcodes, etc.
With the Gallery module you can insert a group of images and show them by choosing from many layouts and numbers of columns: masonry, mosaic or perfect grid. You can even use it with just one image to make a bold visual section.
A neat headline section to introduce your site to your visitors. With many options to play with and a cool button for calls to action, this one serves as a hero line, a flexible title, a message, you name it.
Lets you group as many modules as you want inside multiple column layouts. So, for instance, you can have a Slogan next to a gallery, or put your preferred shortcode embed on a Canvas next to some neat copy on another Canvas.
Lets you group as many modules as you want inside the same big module and place them next to a sidebar.
Keep creating the WordPress way
What if all this functionality was designed in the same way WordPress works today? Well, you got it.
To create a modular page, you just create a page while selecting for it the Modular template. Then from your WP menu you go to Modules » Add New, and select the type of module you want to create, to add it to that page later on.
If you’re used to creating posts on WordPress, then you’ll find that adding sections works quite the same. The UI is simple and clear, and I hope, you’ll feel as if you know where to go inside it.
Useful Theme Options
Yes, we know. Decisions, not options.
But still, we do want to offer you the possibility to modify certain things. So we’ve chosen the ones that we know you can make good use of.
Like typography, for instance (you can pick your own headings and body fonts from Google Fonts right within the theme), or the ability to add your logo image, or some cool header options for color and layout, or picking the main color for your site, and managing the widgetized footer, or the multiple advertisement locations across the theme.
Start from a ready made site
We’re also including 2 ready made sites you can import with a click. You can start your website off one of them, replace the content with your own and have your site rocking in no time. True story.
Did I mention it is free?
So there you go. We hope you enjoy this new theme as much as we do. 🙂
Go ahead and download it right away »
Looking forward to giving this theme a test run! I appreciate the stance you’re taking on this, too.
Good design is hard. By giving users a limited number of building blocks (modules) you’re protecting them from themselves.
Compare this to the complexity of Divi, the freedom of Beaver Builder, or the customize-it-all options of GeneratePress. There’s nothing wrong with those approaches – but not everyone needs (or, TBH, should have) total liberty in controlling the look n’ feel.
So thanks for adding something new to the mix. 🙂
One point of contention: With the shift to front-end editing, seen both in what’s happening with Core and the rising popularity of page builders, maybe “the WordPress way” isn’t going to remain “the WordPress way” much longer?
Just a thought. Thanks again for the new release.
Hey Andy! Thanks for stopping by!
I appreciate your stance on this too. The magnitude of what you can achieve today with some builders is astonishing, but also tremendously overwhelming.
I spend days on days reminding people thy can still have a WordPress site, because they’ve become so afraid of trying to build a site this way.
So yes, we’re trying to give power to all our users so you can spend the time thinking and building on the macro level too. 🙂
I completely agree with you on the “WordPress way” thing, by the way. But here’s where I still find the catch to that: if we could unify the way things work, no matter how far we move them, I believe it’ll make everybody’s lives easier. For sure, I think the future will bring exciting new things to see, right?
Thanks, Fred! Glad you like it 🙂
Hello, does this theme include a shop module ? It seems it doesn’t but I just wanted to be sure 🙂
Hey there! Good question!
The theme doesn’t include a shop module per sé. You can use any of WooCommerce’s shortcodes inside a Canvas module to implement that on any modular page (that’s what you’ll see done on the shop pages of the paid version of the theme).
It’s worth mentioning though that even though WooCommerce will work super fine with Pepper, it won’t bring any special styles to the plugin on the free version of the theme (or the shopping cart in the header, for instance).
Hi! Is is possible to create a portfolio with this theme?
Hey Rebeca! You can certainly create a portfolio website with Pepper. Not in the same way that Pepper+ would let you do it, but there are ways to do it anyway.
We just replied to your email on this 🙂
I love this theme since I first found it. Recently I had to re-install WordPress and start at 0 and tried to recreate. The FAQ still mentions pre-built sites like in Demos, but the option is gone. Why are they gone now and is there a way to recreate them?
Hi Debbie! Thanks for the kind words 🙂
The option is still there, you’ll find it now under Theme Options » Tools » Artisan Sites Import.