This is part 2 of my project to experiment with switching themes in WordPress, which I originally planned to finish in October until sicknesses hit and I was swept up in playing Elden Ring way too much. Never mind though; let’s continue shall we?
See part 1 if you missed the overview but long-story-short I’m planning to try a couple of different themes on this site (switching from Twenty Twenty-Two): Wei by Richard Tabor and Björk by Anders Noren.
I’ve now activated Wei. What do you think? Here is what I found after tinkering for a couple days. 👀
The initial impression is that the site is minimalist (nice) and…blue. Really blue. I guess this should be expected as the theme shows up as being blue on the homepage but all the different styles outlined on the theme’s homepage made me expect more variety right out of the gate. Overall I like the simple one-column layout for a blog like mine.
My page layout that I was using on the homepage doesn’t really work any more with the new theme’s styles, so that was one thing I needed to address right away.
Finally, I love the way the featured image looks on the posts! The theme styles each featured image using duotone colors that match the style you choose, which is an unusual and cool feature. I’m going to experiment more with that…
Styles and patterns
As I mentioned, the blue style of the site isn’t quite working for me so I want to experiment with the other variants and combinations of page-specific styles that come with the theme.
I’m into lighter colors at the moment so am going to stick with the light blue Clouds vibe initially.
As you can see in the video above, there seemed to be a bit of an issue with the styles being applied right away on the site. Maybe some caching thing? 🤔 Worked fine eventually. Ah well…
The base fonts and headings are a bit large so I’m going to see if I can do a little tweaking over the next day or so to adjust things.
Also, I noticed that images (at least stand-alone images displayed using an image block) all have a rounded bezel effect but that you can also remove it using the block options (i.e. by setting the Radius to 0). Nice.
Headers, footers, and templates
There are very few templates that come with the theme and zero patterns, so again, this theme is minimal and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
However, after activating the theme, my header and footer templates that I had made on my previous theme were totally gone. My site’s menu was gone as was my logo. That the header and footer changes is to be expected, but losing the menu feels like either it’s assumed you want to keep things REALLY simple or something is broken.
I tried using some of the built-in header and footer patterns but they weren’t quite what I wanted so I decided to go back and re-activate my previous theme to copy the header and footers and then reactivate Wei again to copy them back.
The nice thing about WordPress is that I can copy the markup from the previous template and paste it into the new theme’s templates.
However, I really wish you could still access all your saved Templates and Template Parts no matter which theme you are using! As a best practice I will copy the markup of my templates prior to switching themes so that I can have those easily accessible if I need them.
Another thing I noticed is that the social sharing section of the post template (the template called Single in this case) required the installation of an additional plugin in order to work. I didn’t want that additional clutter so I just had to delete that block reference from the template.
Pages and posts
As I mentioned, the homepage layout I was using wasn’t really working after the switch so I decided to simplify things and just have a homepage that displays my posts for now.
I like the more simple approach now but I might look to make the featured images a little more visible and add a short excerpt as well.
The Wei theme default style is more constrained that my previous theme and some of my previous posts need to be adjusted as the way blocks were nested and things like wide/full width don’t work quite the same. Going back to change/reformat your previous posts when switching themes and/or as WordPress is updated is one of those chores you have to do, but I’m still hoping to keep it to a minimum.
It’s been a fun experiment to start my theme experimentation by switching to Wei, and I really appreciate the elegance of the theme. I like the accent color option on posts and the featured image treatment, and I love the simpler homepage and footer I made as a result of having the more minimal style, but the color variations are a bit limited and the default font styles don’t feel like a match for me personally. Some of the things with the header and footer going away and needing to adjust the templates are just “WordPress things” that I think I’ll need to do with any theme change. I think Wei is going to be a great fit for many folks who want a clean blogging theme that still has some personality, but for me, the lack of block patterns, constrained layout, and the large fonts make me think this theme might not be the one I end up on long term.