Early Theme Adopters: Tonal

In our Early Theme Adopters series, we focus on bloggers creating great-looking sites with the most recent additions to our Theme Showcase. Today, let’s visit some of the sites that are already using Tonal, a versatile, minimalist theme.

Tonal‘s crisp, elegant minimalism focuses your readers’ attention on the images and words you’re publishing. It offers a whole slew of great features — from a custom menu and widget areas tucked into a hidden panel in the header, to splashy featured images to set each post’s tone. But its generous spacing, smooth typography, and other subtle design touches keep your readers’ eyes on your content.

Here are three sites where bloggers have tweaked this spare theme to suit their individual tastes and needs.

Hope State Style

hope state style

Artist and photographer Caroline Goddard has transformed Tonal into a modern, pristine canvas for her lifestyle blog Hope State Style. Her images shine against the site’s white backdrop, while her font selection — using the Custom Design upgrade — adds a distinct flavor to her commentary (we love the typewriter-like Anonymous Pro font she’s using in the body of her posts).

The Hip Alley

the hip alley

Katarzyna, the photographer-blogger behind The Hip Alley, has taken Tonal in a different direction. With very few changes to the theme’s out-of-the-box look, she relies on stunning, extra-wide featured images to personalize her blog (we dare anyone not to drool over those madeleines in the image above). A small, well-chosen selection of widgets (in the hidden menu panel) makes navigating her site a breeze.


the drowned and the saved
Demonstrating that Tonal can also work for text-centric bloggers, British writer Dan Taylor has chosen the theme for THE DROWNED AND THE SAVED, where he shares his posts on philosophy, politics, and other topics. While Dan still uses thematic featured images to introduce his posts, he usually opts for smaller ones, keeping his audience focused on his words.

Stay tuned for more examples of sites using recently-added themes — and if there are any particular themes you’d like to see featured, feel free to leave us a comment.

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  1. Shane Francescut

    Wow, what a gorgeous blog layout. I’m really loving this series because it can be so daunting to scroll the hundreds of themes and pick one that you think will represent your personality and identity. It’s almost too much pressure to choose one, but this series definitely makes that selection a little easier.

    Thanks again Ben!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. David Bennett

    I have a test site with h1, h2, blockquote, etc. markup and Tonal is the latest theme I have tried.

    I like it a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. sharletd

    As a brand new blogger, I recently started using Tonal. Still playing with the features & colors, but I appreciate the minimalist design. It allows focus on the photos and text which are the heart of what I’m communicating.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. burlywoods

    Like @sharletd, I selected Tonal for my blog and while I’m still experimenting with the features, I love the theme as a whole.

    My rationale was that I want my writing to be front and center in a minimalistic environment. My blog will be focused around written content, not photographs, and a great number of the themes available seem to be geared more towards porfolios or media in general.

    I hope more themes like this will be available in the future. Thanks so much for this post series!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. kbt101

    Finally a reason to switch from Twenty Ten!

    Liked by 1 person

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