Since my original review on WooThemes' Canvas premium Wordpress theme, much has changed on this very versatile template.
First of all, some of bugs and quirks that existed in the first version of Canvas have been ironed out, which is a testament to the Woo team as they do actually stand behind and continue to improve their product offering. Even their WooThemes back end dashboard, known as Woo Framework, continues to improve and allow for easy customization.
As the name implies, the Canvas theme is really like starting from scratch. It provides you the basic architecture and flexibility to choose roughly how you want your Wordpress website to look, and leaves you to color in the details. To begin with, Canvas offers several basic layout options: Tumblog, a pretty straightforward rolling blog format; Magazine, basically a spiffy front page with feature slider and two column post headers below; and Business, which offers a completely non-blog looking front page great for showing off your business services in a professional way, while maintaining the functionality of a Wordpress blog.
From there Canvas allows you to choose some other key options, mainly how many columns your site layout will be, and in what order they appear. You can also select the width of the site, which they have added a 1200 pixel width option to. This is great in this era of iPads, iPhones, and high-res screens. It also makes the 3 column option less crowded and more useable, increasing your screen real estate by 20-30%. Also new to Canvas is the ability to embed iFrame video from within your post rather than using an iFrame for Wordpress plugin. If you don't know about this, don't worry, it's just an added bonus.
Other features of Canvas include the ability to use Google Fonts in your layout, and to specify and customize typography settings in the different areas of your site. While I've chosen to leave my site fairly plain, this is the perfect theme for those looking to showcase their graphic abilities. There are a ton of widgetized areas making this a very easy site to customize and create a unique look without stressing too much about the content.
I've tried many different themes, but really like the simplicity and ease-of use that Canvas gives. An added bonus is that Woo makes a matching BBpress (Buddy Press) forum theme as an add-on, which makes it great for building a community site. While it's not as ritzy as some of the other WooThemes it relies on you to bring the flavour if you know what I mean.
Check out other websites that have been created using Canvas as the backbone.
Chris Stenberg is a creative director, photographer, filmmaker, and traveller. In his spare time you can find him biking and boarding in the mountains of British Columbia.