Sometimes it seems like Tumblr is the most often overlooked blogging platform out there. People are never quite sure what to make of it.
It’s not quite like a “regular” blog platform (like WordPress or Blogger) and it’s not microblogging either. It’s tumblogging, but a lot of people don’t know what thadet means.
And it can be a little daunting for designers who are trying to figure out how to develop Tumblr themes considering there are seven post types (or eight if you count photo slideshow posts as separate from regular photo posts).
One thing that Tumblr definitely has going in its favor is the number of themes that are now available. Tons of free themes and a growing premium theme marketplace make it easy to find a theme you like, and most are easily customizable even if you don’t know tons of code.
Below are more than 70 awesome Tumblr themes, more than half of them free.
Imperial is a feminine theme with a patterned background and flag detailing. It’s a fairly narrow theme, with a lavender color scheme.
Ernest has an almost corporate look, with textured granite background and a conservative color scheme. The typography is much more readable than many themes.
Miss Sourpuss has a linen background, rounded corners, and accents in shades or orange. It’s a subtle, understated theme with great typography.
Boxes is very well-suited for image-heavy tumblogs, though it also works for those with more text posts. Shadow details make it unique, while the grid-based layout adds structure.
Unsurprisingly, Lines has a ton of line details. The design is minimalist, with good typography and a muted color scheme.
Solstice has a muted striped background, handwritten script typography, and a gray and white color scheme. It’s a very understated theme.
Stacky Pro has a stacked grid layout, with columns that reposition themselves based on your browser width.
Sam’s Theme has a large photo background and understated typography. The muted colors of the background give it a retro feel.
This is a simple, minimalist theme with two content columns, a monospaced font, and a gray and white color palette.
Retro Candy has oversized typography, rounded corners, and a muted stripe background.
Serifs & Scribbles
Serifs & Scribbles has a pencil-drawing look to it, with custom icons for each post type. It even includes a hand-drawn search bar and RSS feed logo.
The Effector Theme comes in two color schemes (light and dark). The shadow details and thought put into each post type sets it apart from many other free themes.
Boston Polaroid is perfectly suited to showing off large images (which resize based on the browser viewport size). It has a muted gray color scheme and a subtle textured background.
Megapixels has a dark lavender pixelated background and transparency effects.
Lightweight is a minimalist, dark gray and white, one-column theme. It includes round icons for each post type and very readable typography.
Centennial is a simple black and white theme with a very formal, traditional look despite its minimalist aesthetic.
Legrand is a retro-modern theme with muted colors and 3D effects. The thin sans serif typeface used for everything but the header is quite stunning and gives the design a mid-century modern feel.
Yay, Hooray! is a very narrow, minimalist theme with rust-colored accents.
Descriptive is a minimalist theme with a light blue background and dashed line details.
fluidMod uses transparent post backgrounds over a large, multi-colored background image. It’s an understated theme that still packs a lot of visual punch.
Peach is a mostly-gray theme with pink and pastel orange accents and header image. It has a three-column grid layout.
Phobic Man has a blue color scheme with orange accents and rounded corners. Flag details and shadow effects set it apart from the competition.
Significance is a gray and white grid-based theme that’s perfect for portfolio or other image-heavy sites.
Pulp has a bold red background, and simple gray color scheme for everything else.
Punch of Intuition
Punch of Intuition has a large photo background, and simple gray and white color scheme otherwise. Line detailing on the posts and in the sidebar add an extra bit of polish.
The Stitch uses hand-drawn elements and an accordion slider for displaying posts. The basic gray color scheme is offset by brightly colored post type banners.
The Curator [Beta]
The Curator is best suited for photo and video posts, due to the typography being incredibly tiny for everything else. It’s a great minimalist theme, though, with a textured background.
go CRAZY!! uses web fonts and multi-colored accents against a gray background.
Surreal is a minimalist gray theme with a lightly textured background and shadow details behind each post.
Mellow Yellow is a bold, retro-styled theme with photo corner accents on each post and a textured background.
Hobo is a grid-based theme with content columns that shift depending on your browser width. The warm gray color scheme and round post type icons are unique.
Firsts is a multi-colored grid theme with two columns and a gray background.
Inkhorn is a modern theme perfectly suited for text posts. The two-column layout is a bit unexpected for the overall style.
Luxury Notes is a notepad-styled theme with a yellow lined paper content area background and a woodgrain main background.
Grunge Era is a grungy single-column theme with lots of textures and multi-colored accents.
Luminescence has a multi-colored bokeh background and a transparent sidebar. Letterpress effects for the post icons are a nice touch.
With Style has a multi-colored noise-filled background and hard shadows behind each post. The header includes a letterpress effect behind the text.
Impaler has a grungy look, with animated menus that become blood-soaked in their hover state.
The Elephant in the Room
The Elephant in the Room has a minimalist design with four elephants in the header.
Clean & Simple
Clean & Simple is an apt name for this theme. It has a minimalist design with bold sans-serif typography.
Revista is a grid-based theme with a gray color palette and excellent typography.
Nautical has an antique look, with bespoke textures and woodcut illustrations. It includes unique post illustrations and Disqus comments integration.
Vintage Scrapbook ($49)
Vintage Scrapbook includes distressed typefaces and a vintage look and feel. It also has a highly-customizable sidebar area.
Stockholm has a minimalist look and is designed to work well with blogs that are heavy on images. It includes subtle patterns and simply typography, and also has support for Disqus comments and Typekit integration.
Zurich was designed specifically for people who love Helvetica. It includes meta data that fades in and out as visitors scroll, as well as social media links.
High Res Theme ($19)
High Res is a very minimalist theme with automatically resizing images. It takes advantage of larger screen sizes and browser viewports, both for photos and video.
Etcetera is a hand-made premium theme that combines real and graphic elements in a scrapbook/collage style. It’s easily customizable and supports Disqus comments.
Leica is a gallery/portfolio theme with four columns of images. It’s perfect for photographers, illustrators and designers. It includes customizable link, title, and navigation colors, and a special layout for custom pages, among other features.
Antiquity has a muted color scheme and surprisingly modern look. It includes custom fields for Twitter and Flickr, as well as support for Disqus comments.
This blue and purple theme from Obox includes transparency effects and a modern design. It also has support for Disqus comments, Flickr stream integration, and custom page templates.
National Park ($19)
The National Park theme has a retro-inspired clean design, with a great header and typography.
Sunrise has a hand-made style but a simple design, with a mostly-pastel color scheme. It includes hand-drawn icons for each post type, as well as support for Disqus comments.
Wordographic is a theme specifically designed for text-heavy tumblogs. It has a focus on beautiful typography, as well as some interesting post formats (the Quote post is especially well thought-out).
Ascender comes in both dark and light varieties, and is built on a flexible grid. You can also customize the color scheme, add Typekit fonts, and choose between two different post sizes (250px or 400px).
Inspire Well ($49)
Inspire Well is a flexible grid-based theme with customizable colors, background image, and more than 30 other options. It also has three different post sizes (1, 2, or 3 columns wide) that are easy to activate with tags.
Solaris is a minimalist theme with lots of circular graphics. There’s also an optional dark color scheme.
Mars has a large background image and three layout modes (default, wide, and columns). Mars is also Typekit ready, includes social features, and has many other customization options.
Savory has a slightly grungy feel, with textures and stitching detail. It’s Typekit ready, and includes color customizations and a customizable background image.
Paris Nights ($49)
Paris nights has a beautiful collage style layout, complete with lighting effects in the header.
Rank & File ($49)
Rank & File is a clean, modern theme with a more traditional blog layout than many Tumblr blogs. It includes a number of theme customization options, including color options and a customizable header image.
Pixelated is a simple theme with a graphic, pixelated background. All post types are supported, and CSS3 features are also integrated (including web fonts).
Meteoro 2028 ($15)
Meteoro 2028 is a robust, minimalist portfolio theme that has support for both images and video (YouTube and Vimeo at the moment). The color scheme can be fully customized, and it includes a custom slideshow for photosets.
Gallera is an elegant gallery theme with a subtle, grungy textured background. It’s great for designer, artists, and photographers who want to use Tumblr for their portfolio.
Boxxed has a modern, colorful style and includes Twitter and Flickr integration in the sidebar. It has a transparent background for easy color changes, as well as support for all post types.
Desire is a dark, minimalist theme with support for all of Tumblr’s newest features. It also includes an array of jQuery effects and custom typography.
Polaroid is an easily-customizable theme with a clean and modern look. The background image, link colors, sidebar and other features can all be changed to suit the look you want.
Gothic Dream ($12)
Gothic Dream is a dark theme with gothic styling. The background can be customized (image or color), as can the fonts, and colors of links and other elements.
Cherry is a very girly theme, well-suited to personal Tumblogs. The color scheme is made up mostly of pastels, with simple icons for each post type and a patterned background.
Fanfarron is a very elegant theme, with an understated background. It includes a number of customization options, Disqus comments, and a Flickr widget.
Vintage Sky ($20)
Vintage Sky has a muted color scheme and a pretty Fail Whale illustration in the header (with cloud animations). You can customize the background image, header image, and many other aspects of the theme.
Scribble is a hand-drawn theme with a crumpled paper background texture. Unlike many hand-drawn designs, though, it has a very structured look, as if a straight-edge had been used in the drawing process (unlike the organic lines of most designs of this style).
Nova has a clean grunge look, with paper-like accents and three color schemes. It includes nearly 50 appearance options, two layout modes (standard two-column and wide one-column), and customizable colors and background and header images.
Compiled exclusively for WDD by Cameron Chapman.
Do you use or design themes for Tumblr? What’s your favorite Tumblr theme? Let us know in the comments!