Today we are looking at a popular theme from the ThemeForest marketplace, Salient is a great looking theme aimed at creative websites with a range of different homepage options which will let you create a business site, a portfolio, an eCommerce shop, a one page landing site and more. It has sold a staggering 35,000 copies so far so is one of the most popular themes on the site, appearing on their popular page.

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It includes page building functionality with a customized version of the Visual Composer, their own options panel and a copy of the Nectar slider. If you wish to build an eCommerce site with it, it works along side WooCommerce with some extra features such as an Ajax shopping cart.

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Just looking through the theme demos, this is a really beautiful theme so let’s take a look behind the scenes and see how it functions.

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Theme Features

This theme has a lot of options which should let you create highly customized websites, here is a run down of all the main features:

  • Ultra Responsive Design
  • Retina Ready Design
  • Exclusive Nectar Slider
  • AJAX Page Transitions (optional)
  • AJAX Search (optional)
  • Multi Layer Mouse Based Parallax
  • Infinite Scroll option for Blog & Portfolio
  • Multiple Single Post Layouts
  • Graphically Intuitive Shortcode Generator
  • Extensive Theme Options
  • HD Video Tutorial Series
  • Support Ticket System
  • Extensively Written User Guide
  • Unlimited Color Options
  • WooCommerce Support
  • SEO Optimized
  • Sortable Portfolio
  • Advanced Typography – 600+ fonts
  • Built-in “love” system
  • Custom social sharing buttons
  • 550+ Retina ready icons
  • 2 Header Layouts + unlimited colors
  • Footer Column Options
  • 4 Stylish Blog Layouts
  • Custom Widgets
  • Demo Files Included ( XML )
  • Translation-Ready .po/.mo files included
  • Child Theme Ready

Getting Started With Salient

Inside the main Salient zip file you will find a copy of the theme + a child theme to use to make modifications if needed, 6 folders with dummy data for the different types of demo sites and a PDF documentation file. Once you activate the theme, it makes some plugin recommendations for you to install the Salient Visual Composer, WooCommerce and Contact Form 7.

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After activating the theme, you should create two new pages, one for the homepage and one for the blog page – you can name these anything relevant and publish them. You should then go to Settings > Reading and set them as static pages.

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If you wish to use one of the demo sites as a starting point you can now import the demo content. There are two things you need to do – visit the theme options import / export system and paste in the contents from the text file like so :

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Then you should use the WordPress importer plugin to add the other XML file which will create the posts and pages. Depending on which theme demo you choose to import, it will have added some new homepage and blog options which you can choose under Settings > Reading. Unfortunately the demo data does not include the images so you will need to add your own as the images are all blank placeholders.

Customizing to fit Your Needs

At this point you can now begin to customize the theme to fit your needs better so you should head over to the Salient menu item which contains their theme options panel where you can set sitewide options. The “General” settings is where you can choose a theme skin,  favicon upload, back to top button, turn on or off responsiveness and so on.

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You can choose some accent colors globally for your site and some extra color options for things like buttons and icons:

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There is a very comprehensive Typography section where you can enable Google fonts and set font options for all the site elements, including size, line heights, spacing and so on.

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Under the Header setting you can choose from 3 different header layouts, set a text or image logo, set a retina logo and many other options for size, color and fonts.

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You also have layout options for the footer, portfolio and blog so you can tweak the layout and many other options for each.

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Using The Page Builder

If you load up one of the pages created by the importer, you will see the Visual Composer in action – you can add, delete or edit the existing sections which are in place or drag them around to rearrange the order. You can click to edit an individual element and change the settings for it.

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If you click the “+” button at the top of the Visual Composer it will open a box with a lot of elements you can choose to add to your page. Things included are a slider, portfolio section, Google Map, Team Member, Single Image, Milestones, Social Media buttons and so on. You can also use this to add New rows, dividers, text blocks etc so you can tailor the page to create any layout you like.

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Underneath the Visual Composer area, each page has their own custom settings you can use to tailor the page even further to your requirements. You can change things like the page header image, header height, page title and sub title, text alignment, background color and header font color. This should give you an idea of just how much you can customize pages, really powerful feature.

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Setting Up Sliders

You have two slider options with this theme, a homepage slider and the Nectar slider which you can place on any page or post. With each slide you can choose a background image, caption and button text / link. You can also upload videos to use as a background in MP4 or OGV format.There is also space to enter code for an embedded video from YouTube or Vimeo

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Demo Sites

There are 6 demo sites included which you can import, here is what they look like :

Blog Creative:

blog

eCommerce:

ecommerce

One Page:

onepage

Ascend:

ascend

Clean All Purpose:

clean

Modern Creative:

modern

Pricing

Salient costs $58 for a regular license and is released under a split-GPL license meaning that :

This theme or plugin is comprised of two parts.
(1) the PHP code and integrated HTML are licensed under the General Public
License (GPL). You will find a copy of the GPL in the same directory as this
text file.
(2) All other parts, but not limited to the CSS code, images, and design are
licensed according to the license purchased from Envato.

Final Thoughts

This is a very polished theme – I love the design of it, it’s very modern and should let you create some beautiful looking websites as you can see from the demo sites above. The backend is well put together, the options panel contains a huge amount of settings so you can tweak most aspects of the site that you shouldn’t need to modify much, if anything, by hand using custom CSS code.

The import / export system is well needed as it relies on the Visual Composer to create the page layouts which would be a pain to set them all up by hand as this plugin relies on shortcodes. Unfortunately because of this fact, you are going to experience theme “lock-in” which means if you change to another theme, all your custom pages will be lost.

Documentation is good, with a well put together PDF and also a series of video tutorials also available should you need them.

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Author:

Oliver Dale is the founder of Kooc Media, An Internet Company based in Manchester, UK. I founded WPLift and ThemeFurnace, find out more on my Personal Blog. Thanks!

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