Saga WordPress Theme

As a kid, I admired my father. He is a talented carpenter, handyman, gardener, cook, musician, and songwriter. He’s passionate about the things that he loves. His songwriting talent is one of the first things I admired about him. From an early age, I was writing my own songs. I have copies of songs I wrote way back in 1992. At the time, I was only emulating my dad. However, as I grew older, I started finding my own voice. I was writing for myself. I eventually started writing short stories, poetry, and essays.

One of the major reasons I started using WordPress is because I wanted a home on the Web. I wanted a place where I could share my voice with the world. As most of you know, I started to write more code than words, which is the reason Theme Hybrid exists today.

I’ve always had this idea in my mind that I’d build the perfect theme for writers like myself. This is something I’ve attempted to do with Saga. I can’t say that it’s perfect, but I like it and hope you enjoy the theme.

Why “Saga”?

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Mostly, I wanted the theme name to be related to “story” or “storyteller” in some way. After a tedious search and a few different trials, “Saga” just stuck.

As an English major in college, I was also introduced to the term “saga,” which are stories about the Viking voyages, battles, and so on. I’m a bit of a literature nerd with these types of things.

Saga theme

saga-full

The goal with Saga was not to fit in everything imaginable. I actually stripped down the theme to just about the bare necessities needed for running a blog on WordPress. Because the focus is on the written word, I didn’t want anything getting in the way of that.

I took the time to make sure the typography really shined with this theme. How your words are presented makes a huge difference between retaining readers and folks that move on after a quick glance.

Writing for the Web is different from writing on a notepad, however. You often need an image to showcase your work. Saga makes it so that the featured image stands out but steps back out of the way when actually needing to read the story.

The theme integrates with several of my own plugins like Custom Background Extended and Custom Header Extended for per-post headers and backgrounds. You can also use the Grid Columns plugin for columnized content.

One plugin I wanted to make the most use of was Philip Author Moore’s Subtitles plugin, which is hands-down the best subtitles plugin I’ve ever seen built for WordPress. I personally checked each line of code in this plugin to make sure my users were getting the best experience possible.

I also have another upcoming plugin (work-in-progress) that this theme will integrate with. It’s currently powering the writing section on my personal blog. So, that’s something to look forward to when I finish polishing the code on that.

Who was the theme built for?

saga-korean

Primarily, the theme was built for storytellers and other writers. However, it can make a good theme for others as well.

This theme makes it extremely simple to build child themes. Within the next week or so, you should see some neat child themes from other members of the Theme Hybrid community, which will bring unique designs to Saga and give you more stuff to play around with.

Some uses of Saga other than storytelling:

  • Folks to run a minimalist blog that looks good.
  • People who need to translate the theme into their own language.
  • Right-to-left language users.
  • Those who like unique designs for each post format.
  • Users who like to share media.

Get the theme

Designing and building Saga has been about a three-month process. There were times where I nearly threw in the towel and moved on, but I was passionate about this project and needed to see it through. Now, I’m happy I did.

The theme should be available on the WordPress.org theme repository at some point in the future. It has been submitted for review, so it’ll have to go through that process before it’s available via that site.

13 Comments


  1. Once again master have done it. It’s also super easy to build child themes for Saga.


    1. As evidenced by your awesome child theme. 🙂

  2. Harish Chouhan

    This theme feels so polished from design down to the code itself. This and your last theme are just perfect examples Justin of how WordPress themes should be made.


    1. Thanks. I’m starting to get a good feel for creating themes this way now. With any luck, I’ll have another theme out in the next couple of months that builds upon these same principles. The PSD design is already finished. I just got to get to work on building the theme.


  3. Simple theme with great typography Justin. Been long enough not visiting ThemeHybrid and looks like this community getting bigger a lot. Good job.


    1. You should check in more often. 🙂 We’ve built up a great community of folks over the past few years.


  4. I want to start writing a blog but I just couldn’t find the right theme to start with. With this awesome theme I can’t use that excuse anymore… And I really dig the name!

    You might see a child theme from me in the near future!


    1. Thanks for the compliments. I’d love to see your site if you use the theme.

  5. bee

    I just wanted to say I really like this theme, nice job 🙂


  6. Adding my voice to thank you for this awesome theme. I wanted to “modernize” my blog with a new theme and found very few options taking such great care of my words, and just that. It gets back to the essence of writing & reading, and I love the attention you brought to the various post formats to make the most of our words, in any context.
    A demonstration that great web design may be achieved without photography skills, awesome visuals and a sleek image slider on the front page! There’s now a theme for writers to make a stand with just words.

    With that being said, it is somewhat frustrating that the “gallery” post format doesn’t seem compatible with the Jetpack functions and the WP short codes for tiled galleries and slideshows… I guess one can’t have it all 😉

    Thanks again for making these great themes accessible to casual bloggers like me!

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