Gillian was originally designed with academic libraries in mind, but would work well for other institutions, organizations, or individuals who are interested in organizing and presenting large amounts of content in a logical, useful, and visually appealing manner.
The core features for Gillian include:
- Responsive design
- Accessibility ready
- Default header image included in theme
- Upload your own custom header image
- Upload your own custom background image
- Featured images (posts and pages)
- Default right sidebar layout
- Three-column template (left and right sidebars)
- Full-width template (no sidebars)
- Optional secondary menu
- Social media menu with Font Awesome icons
- Widgetized sidebars and footer
- Customizer color options
- Editor styling
Behind the Design
The design plan for Gillian really began during an Independent Study I did while finishing up my Master’s in Library and Information Science. Gillian addresses the second needs analysis for a WordPress theme that I would have liked to have created during that Study, but ultimately didn’t have enough time to do so.
Intended Use: Storing lots of information about a collection, organizing links and guides for patrons interested on a particular subject
Unlike my first theme, which primarily focuses on blog-style community updates, my second theme will focus on organizing and presenting a lot of information. For an academic library that may be info about a large collection (or collections), but I think other information institutions could make use of a theme like this, too. There will also be a focus on generally making it easy to organize links and guides for the eventual users of the website.
I began planning the visual design of Gillian with a quick look at how the layout would work at different screen sizes.
I knew from the needs analysis that I wanted Gillian to have room for multiple menus, a search bar in the header, and at least one sidebar. Although the above designs are very simple, they helped me begin to conceptualize the main content areas I would be including in the theme.
I then moved on to draft up some more detailed mockups. The following were put together in Adobe Illustrator. Click to view fullsize.
The finished product diverges from these mockups some, as I had the freedom to continue building upon my design throughout the coding process. For the most part I kept with the overall look-and-feel and color scheme. I did end up working on two additional templates to the one here: a full-width page version, and a three column version that includes a sidebar on the left as well as the right. I also created a custom header image that is provided by default with the theme, and can of course be removed or replaced.
Updates on Gillian
The queue for new themes in the WordPress theme directory is rather long. I’m also happy to have been able to include the accessibility ready tag for this theme, which will require a separate accessibility review, so time will have to be allowed for that as well. Keep an eye on this blog for more info about when Gillian is reviewed/made available for public download!