I’ve created quite a few themes for websites that I’ve built. And I’m now considering developing a theme for submission to the official Ghost theme marketplace.
As Ghost users, what new Ghost themes would you like to see?
I think that the theme marketplace and the Ghost community or ecosystem in general would greatly benefit from a wider variety of different themes.
The only criticism that I have, whatsoever, of the Ghost platform is that many of the available themes are very similar to each other. Whereas Wordpress has thousands of available themes. Most of them are very cheap compared to the (paid) Ghost themes, as well.
Please note, this is not a criticism of the fantastic Ghost dev team or any of the third party theme devs. I think that the economics of selling themes just incentivizes devs to create themes that will appeal to a wide audience. This, unfortunately, leads to more generic, conventional and less differentiated themes.
Essentially, I think the economic incentives deter theme developers from expending their time and expertise in creating themes that would likely be less popular, but could really appeal to and serve a more niche audience, purpose or application.
I’m interested in hearing from other Ghost users about what their niche, purpose or application is, if it isn’t currently being met by any of the available themes.
I see clients really wanting landing pages that are user editable, and don’t require opening up the theme files. I think there’s going to be good demand for a theme that accomplishes that, especially if it points out that it accomplishes this!
I would vote for a theme which has built-in all of the most recently requested features (i.e. drop-down nav, TOC, and a wide variety of post templates, page templates, and home page options, in addition to repurposing (i.e. as the Wave theme does) the Facebook and/or other built-in fields for extending functionality.
In essence, a “tricked out” theme with a robust variety of popular features that can be enabled and utilized from within the admin area.
Bit of a tangent, but a thought for the Ghost team:
It’d be nice to have an open source example that replaces most of the portal functionality with editable membership pages. Some themes do a little bit of this, but I’d love to have an example that really did it well, and of course I won’t steal code from a paid theme to do it.
Themes may be specialised by function (blog, podcast, magazine, …). But don’t tend to be specialised by ‘style’/‘mood’/‘brand’. The best way to explain what I mean is to invoke Erik Kennedy’s brand categorization:
Clean/simple – modern, minimalist
Classy – luxurious, erudite, classic
Friendly – casual, informal
Quirky – design-forward, creative
Techie – futuristic, geeky.
A clean masonry style seems to dominate Ghost themes, with some elaboration around the margins. Indeed, ‘minimalist’ seems to be a favored term in theme descriptions. Of course, one can differentiate with use of fonts, or colors, or images … and achieve some of this. And I know that this is a generalisation, and one could come up with counterexamples. But, what would it be like to design a theme which conveyed quirkiness or techiness or … to design with that goal in mind. One could still allow for font/color/image/etc variation, and have some format choice. Of course, I understand that the risk is that you are immediately narrowing the potential user base in what is already probably quite a small pool.
Add: I am talking from the point of view of somebody whose knowledge is too limited to do a lot of work adapting the theme themselves.
I’d love to see a good Blog theme that lends itself to organizing a lot of content. Perhaps something similar to the Bootstrap example found here (Blog Template · Bootstrap v5.3). Where you can archive old articles by date and a little more flexibility on feature articles. I’m finding the current blog themes end with just dumping you into paging through articles with no archive.
I’m a researcher and so would love to see a theme where I can showcase my research portfolio, services (in addition to blogging of course!). None of the official themes have any option to customise the homepage, for instance, input a welcome message to tell people who I am and what I do.
You are right in that WP has a lot of different themes that cater to a wide variety of needs. It would be great to see Ghost have official themes that cater to individuals with portfolio + blogging needs.
And finally, I would love to see some features made available for all the Official themes. For instance, one can have full image header on Headline theme but not on Casper or Dawn. I like the minimalism of Dawn homepage but the full image header of Headline. Also, Table of Contents ought to be included in all official themes.