Our Favorite Minimalist Tumblr Themes
Design isn’t always knowing what to add… sometimes it’s knowing what’s best to take away. Keen designers know that the focus of a website should be the content, particularly when it comes to platforms like Tumblr. Tumblr is a unique collection of blogs that can take a myriad of different forms. Unlike many other social media websites, Tumblr can be used in a vast variety of ways. Some Tumblr blogs are mostly text, while others are more like an Instagram feed or may simply be collections of funny gifs.
One thing’s for sure, though: It’s important to keep the focus on the content of your Tumblr, whether you’re writing novels or posting photos. This is where a minimalist Tumblr theme comes in handy: Keeping it as simple and as clean as possible ensures that a visitor will not get distracted or frustrated by your layout when perusing your content. Minimalist themes also tend to be very mobile-friendly, which is paramount considering the large number of web surfers on mobile devices.
Given the popularity of Tumblr and the popularity of minimalist appearance (have you noticed that most logos have gone from a 3D look to a flat one over the past few years?), we’ve collected 10 of the top Tumblr themes minimal design for your use.
How We Chose Our Ratings
In our research we considered minimalist Tumblr themes from several angles. First, we’ve gone over general customer experiences with the theme. Second, we’ve considered the amount of options and customization that you can independently apply to the theme without the help of designers. Third, we consider the amount of support that is offered by the creators of the theme. Finally, of course, we have an eye toward pleasing design. Just because it’s minimalist doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be attractive.
Of course, since Tumblr is a very versatile platform, what might be a perfect theme for a novelist may be far less perfect for a photographer. Thus, we have also broken down our ratings into categories so you can see what Tumblr themes work best in the categories that best fit your needs.
The Top 10 Best Minimalist Tumblr Themes
Best All-Around Free Theme:
Ultrazen by Ultralinx Themes
Ultrazen is a beautiful and versatile minimalist Tumblr theme that offers a lot of “wow” in a slim package. There is a wide-view option for this theme, as well as infinite scroll and a reasonable amount of color options. The price is definitely reasonable: It’s free. The main drawback to Ultrazen is that there is no support offered for the theme, so any questions you have will go unanswered. However, if you’re working on a razor-thin (or non-existent) budget and are looking for a sleek appearance, this is a great one to choose.
Best Free Theme for Blogging:
Feather by erichu
It doesn’t get much more minimalist than Feather by erichu. This theme is specifically crafted for a blog that focuses on the written word. With a white background and black text, there’s no question that the focus will be on your content. Like Ultrazen, this is also a free theme option, so it’s good for those with no budget for a theme. Support seems to be minimalistic, though erichu does run an FAQ; it seems as though you could attempt to contact them with questions.
Best Free Theme for Long-Form Writing:
Minuta Theme by gfrancescoa
If you’re the type who uses Tumblr for, well, typing, then Minuta Theme should be right up your alley. This minimalist theme not only is great for displaying long texts, it also has the appearance of an old-time book produced on a printing press, without looking overdone or forced. It also looks sleek on mobile. If you are searching for a no-muss, no-fuss minimal layout that’s great for writing, this is a wonderful one to pick.
Best Paid Theme for Long Form Writing:
Write by neverblandthemes
For those who want a few more options and a more modern feel than the Minuta Theme, the Write theme by neverblandthemes has what you’re looking for. This is a great theme for integrating both pictures and text seamlessly, though the focus always remains on the text. It also comes with a very comprehensive support system, with full usage documentation and also a highly responsive tech support email. There is also a large amount of customization you can add to this theme, provided that you are comfortable with basic coding.
This is a paid theme, but it’s one of the less expensive ones at $19. For those who don’t mind a little bit of DIY but would prefer to have the heavy lifting done for them, this could be a great building block for the writer who wants a theme that looks great and can be easily customized, but who doesn’t feel like recreating the world from scratch.
Best Free Theme for Multiple Media: Royal by pixelrevel
Pixelrevel usually offers paid themes, and Royal was their first free offering. As such, it’s got a high level of customization and quality for a free theme and we’ve found it a little less bare-bones than many other free themes out there on the market. Royal is fully responsive and has been tested on Android, iOS, and Windows Phone for compatibility.
Where Royal really shines, however, is how it displays multiple kinds of media so well. A lot of free themes are “one trick ponies” in that they tend to focus more on excelling at one particular type of display, which is great… unless you tend to display multiple sorts of media. Royal is a great solution for those who want their videos to be displayed as well as their haikus.
We weren’t able to find a lot of customer reviews regarding the support, but pixelrevel tends to do very well with support in its paid themes. We wouldn’t expect as much with a free theme, but it’s worth a shot.
Best All-Around Paid Theme:
Stellar by psql
If you want something minimalist but other than stark black and white, you may want to consider checking out Stellar by psql. This theme comes with a good number of color options: 10 of them, to be exact. You can choose between a single and a double-column layout. There are also a huge amount of options that you can easily turn on and off, depending on exactly how minimalistic you want your Tumblr to be. These include endless scrolling, return to top, notecount, shadows on photos, and more. There is also a custom CSS option.
The one negative is the price: It comes in at a not-inconsiderable $49. However, purchasers report that the support from psql is immediate, so, especially if you are not very tech-savvy and looking for something that is plug-and-play, you may be getting what you pay for with this one.
Best Paid Photography Theme:
Phase by stjn
This theme is a great choice for the photographer who wishes to have a minimal theme. What makes Phase extra lovely is the fact that it is specifically designed to be responsive, so it will work equally as well on a small smartphone as it will on a gigantic wall-sized display. The number of columns that appear on the screen is not dictated by the code itself but rather the size of the display that the Tumblr is viewed on. So while you’ll never know exactly how your content will be displayed with this theme, you’ll know it will always look good. This theme also comes with a reasonable amount of customization options, including color scheme, infinite scrolling, and integration with Google Analytics.
This theme isn’t free — it’s $9 — but that’s on the lower end for a paid Tumblr theme. Plus, customers report that the support from stjn is high-quality.
Best Free Photography Theme:
Basic Side by Sidethemes
This is a very photogenic and responsive theme that’s comparable to stjn’s Phase, but has a much more attractive price tag at “free.” Basic Side isn’t responsive in the same way that Phase is: The amount of content on the page will stay the same no matter how big the display is, but it will adjust accordingly and appear seamless. The features are a little more skeletal, however, and your main choices are between a limited palette of colors. But if you have no budget to work with, then you’ll find that Basic Side will make your photos look good for little effort and an even lower price.
Best Versatile Paid Single Column Theme:
Top Dog by precrafted
If you love that single-column look and are looking for something with all the bells and whistles attached, then you’re looking for Top Dog by precrafted. This theme lends itself to a whole variety of different Tumblr uses, whether you’re a writer or a company, a musician or a gif-collector. Their motto is, “If you can see it, you can customize it!” and this comes across very true, as you can customize the colors, buttons, links, titles, pictures, and fonts with no coding required. You can also easily integrate your other social media accounts into Top Dog, like Twitter or Instagram. It is also easy to integrate with Google Analytics and works perfectly well with group blogs.
This is another expensive Tumblr theme: It will set you back $49. However, not only is the support top-notch (the maker says that no email goes unanswered and they typically get back with a response within the day), you also have the option to request tweaks to the code at your request for a low price if you need something even more custom.
Best Free Sandbox Theme:
Krellium by snapfus
If you want a theme that brags about itself by being self-deprecating, then you’re looking for Krellium by snapfus. As it says on the tin, it’s good at nothing and excels at nothing. However, it can deliver anything.
This is a surprisingly powerful free theme, as it offers EXIF data for your photos, and any information can be easily found by hovering. This is a very simple sandbox theme that can be easily customized, provided that you have a little bit of experience with coding. Especially considering that Krellium is free, you get a lot of bang for your buck with this one.
As you may have gathered from the wide array of concerns discussed in our “best of” section, there are a lot of things to consider when it comes to purchasing (or finding) a Tumblr theme. If there’s one thing that Tumblr is not, it’s a “one-size-fits-all” situation.
Much depends on your personal use of Tumblr. Somebody who is a “pixel pusher” is going to have a different set of concerns as compared to somebody who mainly uses the platform for text-based content. Overall, we were able to find many more free themes that would work well for word-based Tumblrs as compared to image-based ones. This makes sense, as while it’s important for a writing-based blog to be responsive (you definitely do not want your text running over itself, rendering your writing illegible), it’s more difficult to code a theme for responsive pictures as compared to responsive text. Again, you may be able to get away with a free theme more easily with a text-based Tumblr.
Of course, while most of us would like to get something for nothing, depending on what you use your Tumblr for and how important it is for your Tumblr to appear professional, you may want to consider paying for a premium theme. Many of these themes have hundreds of hours of development put into them and you very likely get what you pay for. Particularly if you are working with a lot of embedded visual media or you want your theme to play nicely with Google Analytics and/or various other social media outlets, the convenience of a paid theme may well pay for itself.
Another thing to consider is your own experience with code. Knowing a little bit of CSS can go a long way on the Tumblr platform, and also translates to being able to customize other social media themes and websites. The more code you know, the more coding you can do yourself. This can save you money, but remember to balance the difference between your money and your time.