Retro Blog is a free WordPress theme creatively designed by WPInterface. This amazing theme is, as said by name, oriented to the retro style which has been trendy and popular in fashion, lifestyle, or even WordPress theme design. Focusing on creativity and unique styling, the Retro blog can attractively highlight your content and express your creative personalities. Thus, I believe that an art-loving blogger will truly fancy this free theme.
My first impression when viewing this theme is the strong, bold, and spacious design that is evocative of the '80s. The author meticulously encapsulated this antique style in every element such as typography, colors, layouts, graphics, ... Hence, when I scroll down this theme, it's interesting as though I was reading an old-style newspaper. Besides, a lot of airy space added in Retro Blog completely free my mind and help me focus on the important contents.
Besides, this theme brings a harmonious uniformity in design that demonstrates through the decoration, meticulously in the pretty items like the font (1) and bound lines (2), (3), (4). This type of decoration is one of the most typical designs in the retro styles and it becomes the highlight point of this theme.
Typography and Color
The use of fonts is very delicate and suitable for the general retro appearance of this theme. When learning about the typical fonts used in retro style, I found that there are several favorite types. One of them is the striped shadow vintage typeface that the author pre-built for your site title (1). The combination of black and dark orange in the stripes is so perfect to give a flashy sensation for the retro style. Also, each letter is designed with shadow to create a strong and bold look that can attract almost visitors.
Another favorite type is hand-lettering fonts of the tagline and posts' titles (2). This font type is designed in a flexible and graceful manner to make your site more creative and tasteful.
With the text content, the author uses a simple and legible font so that visitors can easily catch your content.
The whole theme uses the neutral color of the black, white, and grey palette, which is harmonious with the generally clean style. Besides, to make some highlights, the author adds color to elements like the hyperlinks (1), and the tags (2). The chosen color is burnt orange only, which is so eye-catching and can clearly express the retro style.
Note that these font and color types are the only custom option provided, so you can't change into other favorite fonts or colors.
Keeping only necessary elements, this header is so simple, spacious, and airy that you can easily highlight your site title and its creative design here. Also, there is one and only layout for the header so that you don't need to wonder among header layout options.
Similarly, the style of the site title is unchangeable. It's always big block capital letters, regardless of your site title length. When I reviewed this section by typing our Free WordPress Themes Reviews' tittle, it displayed such sizeable texts like that. Thus, this notable typography may become disadvantageous to a website with a long title like ours.
Right below the header is a notable post slider with a distinct way of display. Different from a normal post slider with the excerpt placed on the slider, this theme place the excerpt on a layer that overlaps and considerably deviated downwards from the slider as below. Additionally, the excerpt layer is creatively styled with a slight stripe boundary, which is, again, a typical design of retro style. That's a beautiful slider but personally, I wish this boundary is more colorful to be more impressive.
Scrolling to the footer, I was impressed one more time with the footer design that closely reflects retro and vintage style through the tags (1) and pattern lines (2). The most striking design is the red tags above each widget, which are created as handmade tags that recall the decoration of crafted presents in the 80s'. Besides, the drawing of some pattern lines can beautifully embellish this footer. That's really a fantastic design of this free theme.
This style of the footer is also fixed. You cannot change this black background, the three-column layout, or the line/tag decorations of this footer. That may be another limit in footer design.
The archive post pages have the clean and airy layouts following the general design of the Retro Blog theme. There are three columns to arrange posts with a special column style that is decorated with a gorgeous call-to-action. Also, adding eye-catching hover effects is a plus point that can gain more attraction to your blog.
You can also add a right/left sidebar to these archive pages. This sidebar is designed in a simple and extensive way that accompanies the whole theme style with the creative hand-writing title.
However, adding the sidebar break the whole balanced layout of these archive pages. Also, this changes the size of featured images and stretch the posts of the first column. Thus, I highly recommend you choose the full-width layout instead of the sidebar one.
Note that this theme has no other choices of the archive page layout for different tastes.
Single Post Pages
The single post pages display text content in an easy-to-follow way with legible texts and reasonable line spacing. Notably, the featured image is nicely displayed in a full-width size that is super stunning.
Other Minor Elements
This free theme added an adorable preloaded effect when loading sites like this. It's lively and interesting, however, not really match the retro style of the theme. You should carefully consider enabling it.
Here is good news for you: this theme is already designed responsively that helps your site nicely display on all devices of any sizes. You can also use some tools on the Internet to check the responsive as below by yourself.
After install and activate this theme, you will have a website that is nearly similar to the demo without the slider and footer widgets. Then, you just need some simple steps to customize this free blog theme. However, there are some errors here that I will discuss in the Customization part.
- Comment section
- Related posts
- Featured post slider
- Standard post format
- Gutenberg editor
This free theme just provides common features for a blog like Related Posts, Standard Post Format, ... and recommend no plugins to add additional features.
The customization options in Customizer are well-arranged and easy-to-follow. Apart from the standard, all the additional customization are grouped in one option: Retro Blog Options. With this organization, you can easy to find the element you want to modify.
However, the configuration of this free theme has some limits when I review it.
The first thing is the limited custom option. As I have mentioned when reviewing the design, there are many elements that are unchangeable like fonts, header and footer style, page layouts, ... Therefore, whether you love this default option or not, you have no choice but to familiarize yourself with them.
Second, the way of naming options in this theme may cause confusion. It writes that you can modify the background color options in the panel, however, it is not a color background. This color just displays as a preload effect when you navigate to another page.
Similarly to the image background, it's actually a preloaded background.
The final one, also the most serious one, is inaccurate customization. Here I want to add a slider below the header as in the demo. However, after I click Enable Front Page Slider, nothing appears. I have tried many times, but I just got the same results.
The same results happen when I click the Enable Featured Category option. I can't find any featured category display in the front-end.
To sum up, apart from some disadvantages I have mentioned, the customization of this theme is quite easy and simple, even for a beginner.
This theme supports all standard post formats for you to create all day-to-day blogs. They look nice and get along well with the whole design.
Here is my review of the gallery. All the images are well displayed and well-organized.
The blockquote is wrapped on a grey block that highlights from the normal texts.
The display of video is fine but its alignment isn't accurate. Even when I set the center alignment, it is still skewed like this:
After using some tools on the Internet to check SEO, I found that the Retro Blog theme is already optimized for SEO. Thus, you can write the best content on your site and improve its ranking on SERPs.
About this free theme's speed, it just has a medium one. You can check by Google PageSpeed as below. Here you can see that your site will work a little bit better on computers than on mobiles.
Their documentation is very sketchy and ineffective, therefore it quite difficult for a beginner to get used to this theme. There are no customization tutorials, so users have to try one by one option on their own.
They said that users can visit their support forum to find answers, however, this forum's hyperlink is unavailable now. Then, I had to create a support ticket via their support center. However, I haven't received any support and respond after 1 week.
This Retro Blog theme owns a distinct design that reflected the style of the previous century, so if you are a big fan of the retro style, you may fall in with this free theme. Another plus point is that this theme is easy-to-setup and use, even for a beginner.
However, Retro Blog is quite limited and not supportive of a newbie blogger in features, customization options, documentation, or support. Therefore, you should consider before choosing this theme for your blog site.