Make is a theme created by The Theme Foundry designed to let you create custom layouts using a drag and drop builder combined with the Customizer for styling. The theme is available to download for free from the official directory here, it's currently sitting at a 4.5 out of 5 rating with over 20,000 active installations and is among some of the popular themes on there.
While theme basic theme is free, you can upgrade to Make Plus, which is a plugin which will add even more functionality to the theme, check below for what is included. Make Plus costs $99 and comes with a 14 day trial so you can test it out.
In this review I will be taking a look at how the theme functions and how easy it is to create a custom layout and configure the styling for the theme.
Here are the features of the Make Theme:
- Powerful core theme
- Make Layout Engine™
- Flexible style controls
- Comprehensive help guides
- Developer friendly
- Full-Width Banners
- Google Fonts
- Custom Backgrounds
Here are the additional features if you upgrade to Make Plus:
- Additional builder sections
- Full eCommerce support
- Complete style controls
- Expert support & video guides
- Advanced layout options
- Remove Theme Credit from Footer in Customizer
- Style Kits - Predefined Styles
- TypeKit Support
Setting Up The Theme
The first thing you should do is download and install the Make theme, available here from the directory. You can then add Make Plus which is the optional plugin which provides additional features. To get started creating a page for your theme, visit "Pages" > "Add New". In this example I will create a homepage layout, at the top you will see the Page Builder and some sections you can add:
- Posts List
If you add a Banner section, this allows you to upload some images which will be used in a slider.
You can add as many images as you like, you can also add some text to go with the slides if required by clicking the "Edit Content" button once the image has been added.
You can choose to add columns to your page and then fill each column with content - you can add images, text and other content using the post editor.
You can also style each section by clicking the "Configure Section" button, here you can add a background image with a parallax effect and choose to darken the image. You can also set a background color if you dont wish to use an image.
This is how the section displays on the front end :
To show your recent posts, you can insert the "Posts List" module which will then let you pick from a large list of display options - how many columns to use, which info to include - post title, date, author. You can choose a category to display and you choose the excerpt length and whether to show the featured image.
The post list displays like so :
Once you have created your page sections, you are free to drag and drop the order of them and in the right hand panel there are also some layout settings you can choose for the specific page.
Customizing The Theme
All site-wide options are handled by the native WordPress Customizer, if you head over to that the top option you will see is the "Style Kits" section which lets you pick from 7 different pre-defined styles :
You simply pick your chosen and style and click the "Load Kit" button which will update your preview to the chosen style.
The "General" tab is where you can configure most of your site-wide options, things like uploading a logo, entering your social profile URLS, Email and RSS URLS, set a static page and white label the site which means hiding the site credit in the footer.
The "Typography" section is where you can change any fonts used throughout the site, the section is broken up into different parts for :
- Text Headers
- Site Title and Tagline
- Main Menu
- Header Bar
- Google Font Subsets
Entering a section you will see you have full control over your font family, style, weights, size and spacings etc.
The Google Font Subset lets you pick a different character subset for different languages.
The Typekit section allows you to enter your Typekit ID if you have one and load any fonts from your account which can then be used alongside the Google fonts which are included.
Another section you should take note of is the "Layout" section which will let you customize sitewide layout options.
The "Global" tab lets you pick a boxed or full-width layout. "Header" lets you choose some options such as centering the header, flipping the layout and entering text.
You have control over how blog posts display with options to hide elements, change the featured image position, post date format, post meta and post author info.
Finally there is a section dedicated to background images, you can set images for different areas of the site :
- Whole Site
- Main Column
You can upload an image for each section and then set display options for it - size, position, repeat etc.
To gain access to the full feature-set of Make you will need to upgrade to a paid plan which starts at $99 for Make Plus and includes full support. For $299 you can also get access to Plus Profession which is aimed at people who carry out client-work and includes all the features of Make Plus, access to their Slavk channel, partner discounts, VIP help center badge and early release beta access.
This is a very polished example of a WordPress theme which ships with it's own page builder. I have looked at many examples of this type of theme as they are among the most popular at the moment and this one stands up very well - I much prefer Make's approach to custom page building over using a plugin which litters your content with shortcodes. It doesn't pack in a million options and different elements, what it does is allow you to build page layouts that would not be possible using just WordPress and a regular theme - using a simple layout technique of columns, and banners and allowing you to place widgets into those areas, you can still get the functionality you require by adding a third-party plugin and placing it within the layout but you are not tied into using shortcodes and this prevents content lock-in.
The provided styles were nice and should provide a good starting point for building an attractive site design - being able to customize background images and colors for most of the main page elements was a nice touch, as was the extensive customization option for each section of the site.
If you are looking for a well designed and exceptionally well coded theme to use as a base for creating your next site, then I recommend you take a look at Make - it's great example of a theme in this niche catering to people who want more control over their WordPress theme layout.