Minimalist Drupal Themes

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Don't get me wrong; I like Garland. It's sleek, it has an easy-to-configure color scheme, it works well out of the box. And it's identifiably Drupal, which, though sometimes thought to be a criticism, is not a bad label for the blog of a Drupal developer, such as the blog you're reading.

At the same time, I'm interested in spending some time creating a unique theme for my blog. I develop eight-plus hours a day, and it's time I eat my own dog-food. Granted, I haven't actually done any design work in over three years, but I do have some background with that.

So I've been looking at some of my favorite blogs to get some ideas. And discovering an interesting trend.

drupal4u screenshot

Chx's Drupal4hu is simple, with little clutter on the screen, but very identifiably Drupal oriented. screenshot

Jame's Walker's features his most recent blog post, with a listing of the next few post titles beneath, and again, little clutter.

Delocalized Ham screenshot

Then there's Neil Drumm's Delocalized Ham, which evokes a manuscript on paper. His design is a testament to his recent study of Typography, which will also figure into my future directions.

So I'm not entirely sure what I'll do for a design quite yet. But I believe that these simple blog designs highlight the most important element of a blog, the written word.

tn-screenshot-drupal4u.png40.69 KB
tn-screenshot-walkah.png40.64 KB
tn-screenshot-delocalizedham.png37.08 KB


metin2 yang's picture


very nice

Wim Mostrey's picture

urlgreyhot redesign

I just noticed that Michael Angeles, a user experience designer, redesigned his site: You'll probably like it :)

Anonymous's picture

A Block theme

I am currently using the A Block theme. So simple that it does not even have sidebars. Brilliant.

aaron's picture

One Column Layout

Here's a screenshot to that site, that definitely qualifies as minimalist, being only a single column:

The Raggedy Edge (screenshot)

Anonymous's picture


I know some people hate it structurally cause of it's use of tables but I've started to become a pretty big fan of Pixture and have started applying it in several different places. Paired with something like Taxonomy Menu module you can create a really basic UI for searching through posts:

Cut out my clutter (as it was said earlier) like the badge, Flir and the top links and it's pretty streamlined / simplistic.

aaron's picture

Hate's a strong word, though

Hate's a strong word, though I prefer CSS. But that site is another great example, thanks for the link!

e-Learning Institute (screenshot)

FunkMonkey's picture

CSS version of Pixture

jmburnz and others are working on a CSS conversion of the Pixture theme. Here's the project page:

Rob Loach's picture

Garland FTW!

You don't need a custom Drupal theme for your site, Garland FTW!

aaron's picture

As I've made the other

As I've made the other screenshots, might as well include Rob's. (Not as an oversight, I read his blog as well. Just that I had left out Garland until these comments.) Garland FTW!

Rob Loach (screenshot)

Wim Mostrey's picture

Not only about the theme

A minimalist site is not only about a minimalist Drupal theme, it's also about leaving out all the clutter. Most Drupal sites tend to have a tagcloud, a twitter block, a flickr block, popular posts, recent posts, recent comments, Drupal Planet aggregation, favorite sites and possible one or two Drupal Association badges. Even with the most minimalist theme all that information will result in a clutered site.

I do feel that Garland is a viable choice for this purpose though, especially in a one-column fixed width (Minnelli) layout. At least that's something I try to do with Sure, Chameleon and Marvin are trimmed from all baby fat, but are they still cute?

aaron's picture

Back to the Drupal Roots

Thanks Wim, a good reminder of yet another reason I chose Drupal over Mambo/Joomla all those years ago: Drupal is minimalist at heart, so we can adopt a procedure of adding on rather than stripping down.

Wim Mostrey Screenshot

Tim Millwood's picture

Not just self promotion

I have just updated the theme and layout of my site to a sleek, minimal design. I took a few ideas from Walkah and some from my own head.

aaron's picture

Good contrast

Thanks, that deserves another screenshot!

Millwood Online screenshot

I like how this site makes good use of contrast: I read once that the best colors to use for readability are black, white, and red.

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