With 90 million blogs and 41 billion posts so far, Tumblr has positioned itself as an extremely popular micro-blogging platform. While the site has come under scrutiny in the past for reliability, Tumblr continues to impress us with its flexibility and ease of use. The simplicity and customization options have made it a clear choice for professionals looking to expand their online presence.
Thanks to a flexible API, designers and developers have been able to do some amazing things with Tumblr and have released high quality themes to get you up and running quickly. Here are just a few excellent choices if you are looking to house your online presence with Tumblr.
Developed by Pixel Union, one look at Vanity and you’ll be surprised you’re looking at a blog. Designed to be a reimagination of the business card, Pixel Union’s theme combines full screen images, unlimited scrolling and customizable panels to create a clean online business card.
Vanity supports various social feeds and displays tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram photos — along with blog posts and RSS feeds. The theme is high-definition for Retina displays, offers easy color and design customizations, and supports all of Tumblr’s custom post types.
Swell is a Tumblr theme that displays content in vertical and horizontal boards to encourage discovery. In addition to infinite scrolling, selecting any post will bring up a lightbox with more information and the ability to advance with your keyboard arrows.
Swell could be a great theme for photographers or companies looking to highlight a wide variety of images or products. Swell is already being used by Kate Spade to highlight new products and anyone who has used Pinterest will feel right at home using this theme.
For companies looking for something more traditional, Timeline puts a fun spin on the single column blog layout. Designed to provide users with a visual timeline experience, each post fans off a single line.
The theme was inspired by Facebook’s timeline as well as visual elements from the social application Path. With social sharing built right in to a fully responsive layout, Timeline could be a unique way to display content to customers or fans.
When it comes to high-resolution content, there might be no better option that Maximalist. Described by its designers as a balance of customizability, functionality and jaw-dropping simplicity, Maximalist is a full-screen theme designed to showcase your content one post at a time — in all its glory.
Taking full advantage of a larger content area, the theme can display your photos at full resolution using your browser’s full screen mode. For an added touch, Maximalist includes “Parallax” mode which creates a depth illusion by delaying scrolling speed on certain page elements. Scrolling is smooth and continuous and Maximalist adds an immersive experience to any content you post.
Tumblr’s unique community is all about showing off your work. Simplefolio is a “dead simple portfolio theme for studios, design shops and just about everyone else.” With support for all of Tumblr’s custom post types, writers, artists, designers, photographers, musicians and videographers will all find a way to use Simplefolio to showcase their work. If you want to give potential clients a quick look at your abilities, you can easily fill your front page with a mix of videos, photos and text posts and swap out featured work quickly and easily with custom tagging.
As the Tumblr community continues to grow, designers are finding new ways to adapt Tumblr’s post types to any number of uses. Gone are the traditional blog layouts. Instead, the most popular themes now sport responsive designs that are visually stimulating and fun to browse. While we’ve highlighted just a few, there are hundreds of other themes that can take your Tumblr from a simple blog to a hub for your social shares, or even a fully functioning storefront or portfolio.
Have a favorite Tumblr theme that’s not on our list? Let us know in the comments!
John Burke: John is a technology and social media enthusiast (as well as a self-proclaimed Apple fanboy). Before joining the Sprout team, he wrote for TUAW, DownloadSquad and AppStorm. John has been working in social media strategy for a number of years and manages accounts for higher education, organizations and non-profits. A graduate of Syracuse University, John currently lives in New York City where he is pursuing a career in aviation. You can follow him on Twitter or add him on Google+.