Essential

A theme for personal websites
Ghent,

I created a theme for Hugo, the static site generator. It’s called Essential and is designed with multilingual personal websites in mind. You are seeing an example of the theme on this page.

The story behind it

A few weeks ago, I was having lunch with my colleagues and someone mentioned my website. A few of them took out their smartphones and checked it out. While I got some compliments for blogging, the main sentiment was that they were not impressed by the looks.

I defended myself with the usual backend developer excuse. I’m not good at making pretty websites. On purposed, I had stripped the site from any styling and only left the content with the traditional fonts and colors that browsers provide out of the box.

This interaction made me realize that a lack of design, is a design, and a bad one since it can make it unattractive and/or unpleasant for the read. For this reason, I decided to improve the design of my page.

At first, I thought I’d do the simple thing and pick an existing theme and modify it to my needs. My base requirements were that the theme needed to look minimalistic and make little or no use of JavaScript. I was able to find a couple of good candidates on themes.gohugo.io. I tried them quickly and picked bodhi.

In the process of changing the style and functionality to fit my content, I decided to remove also what I didn’t need, like Google analytics and discus comments and re-designing a few things. I believe the changes are significant enough to be a theme of its own and I’m sharing the changes back with the community.

Design

The looks are inspired by the works of Charles and Ray Eames. Their designs are minimalistic while fully functional. Just like their chairs, which I find gorgeous, I also hope that you enjoy this new design.

I carefully made sure that all the changes didn’t made the page too heave, so it can be delivered quickly, even on slow internet connections.

The new design is also multilingual. On an average day I speak English and Spanish alike but most of the time in different context. Essential embraces this duality of language without forcing me to translate every single page but instead letting me choose one, the other or both as I please.

Use Essential on Your on Website

The source code is available under the MIT license which allows you to use and modify as you please.


The contents for this page are licensed CC-BY-SA.