So Simple : Minimal WordPress

So Simple is a minimal WordPress theme from Jason Schuller, the creator of Press75 WordPress themes. From the theme’s page:

In a flooded marketplace of overly complex WordPress themes, the So Simple theme has been created for those looking for something different. By eliminating all of the unnecessary elements found in typical WordPress themes, So Simple allows you to focus on beautiful words and nothing more. So Simple is minimalism at its best, providing a distraction-free writing and reading experience for less than a cup of coffee.

Of late, Jason is pursuing a venture called Leeflets that aims to provide a beautifully simple website creation solution. So Simple is almost his WordPress version for the Leeflets vision. If you follow his recent tweets and blog posts, you can find that he has become a strong supporter of minimalism.

In this context, I wouldn’t call So Simple a minimal WordPress theme. It is actually a brutally stripped down version of WordPress interface. So Simple aims to highlight text in a beautiful way and removes unrelated elements from both the theme and WordPress dashboard. Once he is clear about his intention he implements the philosophy Decisions not Options.No media library, no upload image options, no links, no comments, no widgets, no menus for navigation, no header images, no theme options, no submenus for posts and pages.

WordPress interface simplified after installing So Simple theme
WordPress interface simplified after installing So Simple theme

Yet, So Simple is so beautiful, intuitive and unique. Pages can be shown randomly at the top with nice background colors. You can also add background images to make your posts picture perfect. The theme is responsive and looks gorgeous when viewed from a smart phone. Only then can we understand the focus on text. I liked the way 404 errors redirecting you to the home page and clicking anywhere to go the single post view. Getting auto updates for the theme is perfect.

Background image with adapted text color option in So Simple theme
Background image with adapted text color option in So Simple theme

Not only the theme but the whole theme selling process has been reworked. The theme landing page itself is the theme demo. No complicated check out with confusing options. The price is a no-brainer.

One thing that could be improved is to integrate the Advanced custom fields plugin into the theme. This is a required plugin for the theme to function. On activating or live previewing the theme, it throws an error which could be a bad first impression. At least it could be highlighted somewhere that this plugin should be installed before trying this theme. I hope that the theme will act well with popular plugins. At the same time, if someone is choosing this theme we can expect him to not install so many plugins 🙂

For a regular WP user, this can be a bit confusing at first. But, I have seen clients who are daunted with the countless options in the WordPress interface. If you are clear about your need, you are good to go with this theme.