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I receive e-mails all the time with compliments on Theme Lab‘s design. People frequently ask if they could get a copy of the theme I use here, but I’ve always politely declined.
I feel that this design is part of the “brand” here at Theme Lab, and I wouldn’t want to dilute that brand by giving away my theme.
To any of you who don’t know, this design was custom designed, specifically tailored for my site. I’ve had it up for a little over 4 months.
It recently came to my attention that an uncreative individual has released a theme that has an eerily similar resemblance (to say the least) of Theme Lab. At first I thought I wasn’t going to post about this. I mean, why would I want to give a theme like this free publicity? I figured giving it a completely “honest” review would be a better option.
What It Looks Like
Take a close look at the “tag cloud” in the footer. Look familiar?
What’s this theme called anyway?
In the release post, the author uses 2 different names: NorthBules and NorthBlues. I’m not sure if the author can’t spell or couldn’t decide on what to call it. For the rest of this review, I’ll just assume it’s called NorthBlues.
Setting It Up
The theme setup is relatively straight forward. Following the directions on my how to install a WordPress theme post should be enough. Besides uploading and activating the theme, you can also install the WP-PageNavi plugin for added effect. This plugin is included in the theme download.
As you can see on the demo site as well as the screenshot, you’ll notice three sidebars by default. On your widgets menu, you’ll notice that there is only one widgetized sidebar available to add widgets to. When adding widgets, you’ll see the three sidebars transform into a single sidebar.
I would consider this theme’s sidebar 33% widget-ready. I guess they didn’t read my tutorial on how to make a theme widget-ready, specifically the part about multiple widget-ready areas.
What I Would Do Differently
Playing off of the lack of widgetized sidebar area, I would also consider adding widgetized areas to the footer as well. This way in case someone wanted to customize the theme’s footer a little more, they could do that without going into the footer.php file and editing code manually.
Another thing I noticed, is that for some reason the Kubrick header customization code is still in functions.php. This is unnecessary code, and I would remove it.
They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery, or something like that. Should I be flattered that someone ripped off my theme?
I know I said in the first paragraph in this post that I’ve always decided against giving away Theme Lab’s theme. Now that the flood gates have opened, however, I may consider releasing an “authentic” version of the Theme Lab theme. Of course, it would be stripped of all identifiable Theme Lab graphics (such as the “chemistry-feel” images), leaving you with a nice looking 125×125 ad-ready theme. Is this something you would be interested in?