Vanilla Milkshake: a minimalist Wordpress theme for personal blogs

in My Projects

Screenshot of Vanilla Milkshake theme

TL;DR: I made an open source, minimalist, responsive blog theme for Wordpress. Check it out.

Vanilla Milkshake is:

  1. A minimalist Wordpress theme for traditional weblogs – I use it myself on 88 Bar and on MBA Mondays Illustrated.
  2. A Wordress starter theme* for a blog, magazine or news site.

* A base theme that theme developers use to extend and build upon.

Why I made it

Over the past two years, I've noticed the internet go through what I call "Medium flight" – that is, people abandoning their personal blogs to write instead on Medium. Now Medium deserves credit for making an incredible content management system that's good for both readers and writers. But it has been a little bit sad to see the wide range and diversity of personal blogs, warts and all, funnel down into a single system/design. (There is, of course, also some concern that Medium is nothing more than a "billionaire's typewriter.")

Even before that, personal blogs had been in decline. On one hand, many people had migrated to Tumblr, which, although I adore, never struck me as an easy place for blogging. (Reblogs and image posts tend to capture much more attention; not to mention its poor search and archive capabilities.) On the other hand, blogs that hadn't migrated were often in a state of disrepair on Wordpress or Blogger: no mobile support and/or a visual design from the early 2000s.

So I set out to build a new, modern, and responsive Wordpress theme for personal blogs. The default look and feel is elegant and unobtrusive, and is designed for those of us who want our content to speak for itself. (I'm hoping that's the majority of us out there!) And if you want more, it's cleanly coded and incredibly easy to extend.


  • Responsive design
  • Customizable colors
  • Best-of-class typography defaults
  • Treats text and images equally (the latter doesn't dominate)
  • Media-rich excerpts
  • Short loading times
  • No external font or Javascript dependencies (works behind the Great Firewall)
  • Accessibility enhanced
  • Translation ready
  • Easy to extend and build upon


Sites that use Vanilla Milkshake

Email me to add your site to this list.


By Jason Li

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