DIY Design: Presswork Theme Review

| December 3, 2012 | 3 Comments

Until last spring, I used a designer for my websites who would interpret my vague descriptions of what I wanted for my site. She was really good at taking the bare specifics that I offered and translating them into a design. However, she’s not really designing anymore, and my work has changed substantially. I’ve been doing some very basic design work for a few years — designing pages and formatting articles. And I understand how things work on the back end.

So when I went to design Sarah by the Sea, I decided to do things differently. Instead of a web designer, a good friend who is an artist and a graphic designer designed the logo. And for the format, I decided to try doing it myself. But since this is my first attempt at customizing a site like this, I decided to go with a free theme with lots of room for personalization. Though there are many user-friendly paid themes and frameworks out there, I wasn’t ready for the commitment of a paid theme. So after lots of researching and digging through free themes, I found Presswork.

Presswork is available through WordPress’s built-in theme download interface so it’s a cinch to find, install and try.

The Pros: Though Presswork is a free theme, it has a lot of opportunities for personalization. You can choose one, two or three columns. You can change the column sizes. The colors throughout the design can be changed at will. There are several font options for both titles and text and you can control the text size. The page elements can be moved around within the framework of the design (there’s a drag and drop interface to do so!). And the header/logo banner can be easily changed.

On the whole, this is pretty user friendly. With a little hands-on learning, you can figure out how to tweak this design to fit your site’s needs and make it fit your desired color scheme.

The Cons: There are limits, as is to be expected. Though you can move the parts around, you can’t really customize where they sit on the page. I would love to inch my header up more and to push the navigation bars closer to it. I’d also love to have more font choices (particularly from the standards — like Helvetica). Also, I found the customization to be a little buggy when I was attempting to switch between headers, which was somewhat annoying but resolvable with some refreshing.

Cost: Free

The Bottom Line: If you want to dip  your toes into the concept of designing your own site without incurring the cost, try Presswork. With it’s a user-friendly interface and good amount of customizing options (for a free theme), it’s a great introduction to the wonderful world of DIY WordPress themes. However, overall Presswork is still pretty basic and will likely result in the seeking out of more powerful (and not free) themes and frameworks.


Disclosure: I am not being compensated for this post or for talking about Presswork. All opinions are my own.


Category: Blogging, Writing

About the Author ()

Sarah W. Caron is a freelance writer, editor and recipe developer. She lives in Maine with her two kids. And she loves the beach, writing and good books ...

Comments (3)

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  1. This seems like a useful tool – thanks for sharing!

  2. JW says:

    Hi Sarah:

    Thought maybe you are “by the sea” out here near Monterey, California or the likes. I guess the Atlantic can pass for a sea. I was near your Ocean City, Maryland till 9 years old. So yea, the Atlantic is cool. Just way too many jelly fish for me (& those creepy look’N horse-shoe crabs).

    I notice your article is just over a year old now. I just up-loaded (into my pewter) the 4.2 version. Hopefully, those items you mentioned above have been rectified via the creator.

    This is also my way first attempt @ the website creation. Searched around & I too came to the conclusion of free (WordPress) will be the best way to go for my initial site creations.
    Also looked into the Montezuma and the Twenty-Twelve. What has me sold with the PressWork theme is the stat graph showing that beginning August of 2012 up into March of 2013, the uploads of PressWork stayed @ a consistant good rate. Then somewhere in the middle of March, 2013, the uploads of PressWork shot up through the roof and has remained there-abouts since. The other two themes came down in uploads much more abruptly and with a much shorter duration high upload history. So if what I just typed out makes sence, this is why I am going (initially) with the PressWork.

    Thanks for your intel, Sarah.
    Once I get up and run’N, perhaps I’ll come by again and snoop dog about your site here.
    Bee good.
    P.S. No hurricanes out here. Yet the ground DOES shake a little.

  3. JW says:

    Make that just UNDER a year old.
    C U

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