Avant-Garde Is an Experimental Block Theme With Well-Designed Patterns – WP Tavern

Block themes proceed to trickle into the WordPress theme listing. Basic design submissions nonetheless outpace them by margins that make it appear like blocks usually are not even within the race but. Nevertheless, some designers search to pioneer this still-foreign house.

Brian Gardner will not be new to this. His newest theme, Avant-Garde, performs on the block system’s strengths with out forcing it into one thing it isn’t able to but. It additionally doesn’t harm that Gardner leans into minimalism together with his designs. The simplicity of the block system performs again into his strengths, too.

Homepage screenshot of WordPress theme with a logo, title, and menu in the header.  It has a large intro section with the words "Chicago, Innovative WordPress Design."

Studying by means of the code and searching Avant-Garde’s design parts virtually looks like taking a master-class in block theme growth. Apart from a typo the place “Main” is misspelled within the shade palette (fastened in model 1.0.2), it appears to be doing every part proper. It’s vying for my coveted favourite theme of 2022 award, however we nonetheless have almost a full 10 months left earlier than the 12 months is out. Quite a bit can occur in that point. Nevertheless, Avant-Garde raises the bar for those who observe.

There may be one factor I’m not keen on, so allow us to get this out of the way in which. The content material space of single posts and pages is break up into two columns. The title and meta are aligned left with the content material to the fitting.

Single blog post.  The title, author, and date are on the left.  An image and text content on the right.
Single publish view.

I just like the willingness to interrupt from the mould — it’s titled Avant-Garde, in any case. Nevertheless, I by no means felt comfy with the right-aligned content material, even after tinkering with the theme for per week. Heart or left-aligned is extra pure.

I do know I’ll sound like a damaged file, however for this reason I get pleasure from utilizing the positioning editor. If I discover a theme that covers 80% of what I need, I can customise it. At the same time as a designer and developer, this was typically extra bother than it was price with basic themes. Each theme developer had their in-house design system to determine. Blocks all the time observe the identical commonplace. Shifting a column right here or placing the publish title over there merely induces fewer complications.

So, I made a few minor modifications to single posts. No large deal. I erased my single dislike concerning the theme in mere moments through the positioning editor, and all was proper with the world.

WordPress site editor opened to a two-column single post template.
Customizing the format of the one publish template.

The place Avant-Garde will get issues proper is its patterns. It bundles 14 in whole, and one is of the homepage design from the demo. Customers shouldn’t have to piece it collectively; simply insert and customise. That is the first motive I’ve referred to as for a separate full-page pattern feature previously.

My favourite block sample within the theme is for making a portfolio:

Three-by-three grid of square images in a portfolio-style layout.
Portfolio sample.

It’s merely a Heading, Paragraph, and a three-by-three grid of Picture blocks. It looks like one thing anybody needs to be able to constructing, however the easy magnificence mixed with on-point spacing is typically extra complicated than it seems to be.

I’m additionally warming as much as the list-style Question sample as somebody who enjoys writing once in a while and doesn’t wish to fear about discovering the right featured picture:

List of blog posts.  Each post is broken into three columns with the date on the left, the title and excerpt in the center, and tags on the right.
Listing-style Question sample.

Avant-Garde consists of a few various Question patterns for a grid and a one-column publish checklist for many who choose one thing completely different.

I not often get to level to footer design as a optimistic attribute of themes. Far too typically, this part is tacked on as if it had no proper being there within the first place. Nevertheless, Avant-Garde has not one however two footers that say, “Hey, do I’ve your consideration?”

The primary is the default, which incorporates the textual content “Design with braveness.” in giant lettering:

Black footer with white text.  Large spacing at the top.  On the left, text reads "Design with courage."  On the right, there are links.
Default footer design.

The choice is a business-friendly, full-width lead-in for guests to contact the positioning proprietor:

Hero-style, full-width black footer with white text.  It has a button to contact the site owner.
Contact-style footer.

Avant-Garde has a brief sample for displaying copyright textual content and hyperlinks for many who choose a footer that seeks much less consideration.

The theme doesn’t embrace many customized block kinds. A couple of fill-type and description Button choices might be changed when core helps borders on the block. A “no margin” type for Paragraphs handles a lacking WordPress characteristic.

Its extra distinctive choices embrace shadow and full-height kinds for the Group block. It additionally provides framed pictures, that are showcased within the portfolio sample.

General, I wish to see extra themes like Avant-Garde land within the listing. The design doesn’t push in opposition to each boundary — although it does experiment a lot. What makes it a strong selection is the eye to element. The little issues matter, resembling choosing the fitting images for the demo and never leaving the footer design as an afterthought.

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