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Design Tools: Choosing a Theme Type

Tell us if you've heard this one: great design starts from the ground up.

Any of the available themes offered by Typepad can be the starting point for a great design. There are several different theme types on top of which you can build your vision for your blog. Let's cover what those types are and how to apply them to your blog.

Theme Types

First, we have the Classic theme. It comes pre-designed, with varying layout and color options. The themes tend to be set to a fixed width and do not have adaptable style tools. You can use Custom CSS to make adjustments to tweak it to fit your needs. 

Classic theme - Loft
Classic theme - Loft

Second, we have the Classic Custom theme. It's similar to the classic theme, but offers a customization option like uploading your own banner. You can use Custom CSS with this theme type as well. An example of this theme type is our Mosaic theme.

Third, we have the Styleless theme. It's presented to users completely stripped of any CSS, but you have full access to all layout options. Without CSS, it provides you with a blank template to put your design stamp on, via Custom CSS. A true "from the ground up" option.

Fourth, we have the Theme Builder theme. It comes with a base design, with all layout options. If you're a Beta team member, then you'll also have a responsive option. The Theme Builder is a precursor to the Nimble Design Lab, and allows users to select some basic design features and upload a custom banner. Think of it as being half-classic, half-lab. It's a good choice if having too many options is overwhelming for you when you're first starting. You can learn more about the Theme Builder in the Knowledge Base.

Fifth, we have the Responsive theme. It comes pre-designed, with varying layout and color options, but with responsive widths for mobile-friendly viewing. You can use Custom CSS with responsive themes as well. An example of this theme type is our Gourmet theme.

Responsive theme - Gourmet
Responsive theme - Gourmet

Finally, we have the Nimble Design Lab theme. It comes pre-designed, with varying layout, style, and color options, and is fully responsive. Where it differs, however, is that you can customize it without needing to know any CSS. The lab portion of the tool allows you to set styles for the entire blog. You can, of course, use Custom CSS to make any additional tweaks that aren't yet available in the Lab. The Nimble Design Lab is currently in Beta, and you can learn more in our Knowledge Base.

Nimble Design Lab - Pre-Designed 'Marsala Arabesque'
Nimble Design Lab - Pre-Designed 'Marsala Arabesque'

* note: Custom CSS is available to Pro Unlimited plans and above.
Plus users will need to upgrade if they wish to use the feature.

Apply a Theme

To apply any of these theme types, you must first visit the Design tab for the blog in your account. Once there, click the Choose a Theme button to be taken to the selection menu. You will find a few different options available to you.

  • Customizable
    • This is where you will locate the Styleless, Theme Builder, and Nimble Design Lab starting points
  • Nimble Design Lab
    • You can jump right to this section to see pre-designed themes to use as-is or use as the starting point for your design.
  • Personal; Professional; Simple
    • These options will lead to classic and classic custom themes.

Building a great design doesn't need to be difficult, nor does choosing a theme type. You're not locked into your decision once you've selected a theme or type, so we recommend testing your options out on a test blog before making a choice for the design you'll launch on your blog.


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