Designing the Perfect Blog with Mallow for Tumblr
Mallow, Business Bullpen’s most customizable Tumblr theme to date, is now available in the premium theme garden. We took a slightly different approach with Mallow by providing more design options than our previous themes. I am going to get into more detail about those options in a bit, but it’s important to note that Mallow also contains all of the following features that our other Tumblr themes offer:
- The Sticky Post - exclusive to our Tumblr themes, you can stick a post to the top of your blog
- Featured Posts - exclusive to our Tumblr themes, you can feature several posts in your blog’s sidebar
- Instagram - display your latest Instagram photos
- Flickr - display your latest Flickr photos
- Twitter - display your most recent tweets
- Likes - display your most recent liked posts from Tumblr
- Comments - display Tumblr notes and Disqus comments
- Blogroll - display the blogs that you follow on Tumblr
- Audio player - provide visitors the ability to listen to all of your audio posts via exfm
- Sharing - Like, Tweet, Pin It, and +1 buttons can be included with every post
- Analytics - Mallow supports Google Analytics and Clicky Analytics
Now on to designing your blog with Mallow. All of the changes listed below are performed in the customize section of the theme. I have italicized the specific field names to help you with the customizations.
Let’s start with the header. It’s skinny, but powerful. You can change the background color by changing the primary color. You can change the text color by changing the secondary color. You can display the title of your blog by checking Show Title in Header. You can even upload a logo using the Header Logo option. I recommend the height be less than or equal to 35 pixels. If you upload a header logo, your blog title (text version) will not be displayed. If you decide to show your title in the header, it will be left-aligned and the main navigation will be right-aligned. If not, the main navigation will be left-aligned.
The main navigation can contain links to the home page, archive, RSS feed, pages, ask form, submission form, and a random post. If you need help with Tumblr pages, I recommend reading Tumblr’s help docs.
Last, but not least, the header sticks to the top of the browser window so it is always in view and accessible to your audience.
We have given you the option to design a minimalist looking blog or a very busy one based on our numerous background options. The theme background, which can be a color or an image, covers the entire site except for the header and footer. You can repeat the background horizontally and/or vertically using the Repeat Theme Background Y and Repeat Theme Background X options. You can position the background using the Theme Background Position option. You can also affix the theme background to the top.
The Accent background image lets you place another background image on top of the theme background color or image. You can repeat and affix the accent background image.
Finally, the background color of your posts are controlled by the Secondary color option.
Mallow has a two-column layout that lets you position the sidebar on the left or right.
Once you decide on your layout, you then can determine the content that displays in the sidebar. You have the option to display the blog title and also configure the size using the Title Size option. If you would rather upload a logo, you can do so using the Sidebar Logo option. If you upload a sidebar logo, the text version of your title will not appear. You can also display your blog’s portrait and description that you set up in Tumblr.
There are two font stacks you can define: Body Font Stack and Accent Font Stack. Like our other themes, Mallow supports Google Fonts and Typekit. You can define the colors of the primary text, secondary text, link, and link hover. You can also set the default font size.
By the way, if you want to display a title for a photo post, video post, or audio post, use a <h2> in the post description.
Last, but not least is the footer. The footer starts out as a simple horizontal and center-aligned navigation menu with the option to display a search box.
You can easily expand the footer by adding your latest Instagram and Flickr photos, recent tweets, blogs you follow, and a list of your blog’s contributors if you have a group blog. The footer is designed to nicely lay out all, some, or none of these features.
But you have even more flexibility with the features I listed in the last paragraph. All or some of that content can be moved to the sidebar in case you don’t want it in the footer. You also can define the amount of content you want to display per feature.
Give us your feedback
We are very excited to see examples of Mallow now that it’s live. If you are using Mallow and want to show it off to us, tweet us the link @BusinessBullpen. If you have any questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be on the look out for more updates to our Tumblr themes in the future.
Another excellent design by BussinessBullpen.