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We’ve seriously caught the blogging bug and although still relatively new to it we can see it becoming a bit of a passion, and so are thinking we’d like a nice new custom theme to really kick it off properly…

So rather than just go and pay for one like everyone does, we thought we’d give all you seriously talented, but as yet undiscovered WordPress theme designers the chance to really get your design noticed.

If your design is chosen, not only will it be used to make our blog beautiful (and include a link back to your website), but we’ll also whisk you off for a fabulous weekend away for two at one of Mr & Mrs Smith’s hand-picked boutique hotels.

How to enter

Head on over to the Smithblog wordpress theme competition page on our site, read the very few rules, take a good look around the site to get a feel for our style, and then get creating..

you can ask questions in the comments here and we’ll respond as quickly as we can.

Good luck to all.

Tamara Heber Percy

Online Director

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  • Competition rules.

    Please read the following rules and guidelines before submitting your entry:

    1. Although not compulsory, we would prefer designs to be created for the Sandbox theme, version 0.9.x

    2. All designs will be limited to style sheets (CSS) and images (no theme PHP mods)

    3. Designs must be wholly original, sole works of the submitting designer(s)

    4. Designs must be released with GNU General Public License or compatible license

    5. Designs will not be included for judging if deemed offensive or inappropriate

    6. Submissions must be submitted by 12:00 AM (GMT), Sunday, June 30, 2008

    7. All submissions are final, ie, you may not later resubmit a revised version

    8. Designs may only be released publicly after submissions close

    9. Results will be announced at 12:00 AM (GMT), Monday, July 7, 2008

    10. Judgments shall be considered final

    11. Winners shall receive notification of their weekend away within 48 hours of the winner being annouced.

    Failure to comply with these guidelines and the Official Contest Rules and Submission Agreement may result in disqualification from the competition.
    Submission procedures

    Submissions must be emailed separately to
    The submission attachment must be a ZIP archive with the following file structure:


    In other words, each design submission will contain a minimum of:

    * a folder titled [title], where [title] is the name of the design, containing a
    o style.css, which may include relative links to any images or secondary CSS files
    o readme.txt, which must include at least contact and license information
    o screenshot.png, which must be exactly 400px by 300px

    A few important points before submitting your design:

    * Submissions containing a screenshot in a format other than PNG will be ignored.
    * Submissions containing a screenshot not 400px (w) by 300px (h) will be ignored.
    * Submissions in archive formats other than ZIP will be ignored.
    * Submissions lacking an explicit GNU General Public License license (or compatible) will be ignored.

  • Question by email

    “I have a couple of questions I would like to ask before I consider jumping aboard this contest.

    who retains the initial copyright to the theme design? I ask because if we’re all sending you our themes released under the GNU public license, there is nothing stopping you from using any one of the themes submitted, regardless if it is the winning theme or not?”

    Thanks for your email.

    regarding choosing a non-winning design – I can’t see why we would want to use a design that we felt was not the best, however in the interests of putting your mind at rest, I have added a clause to the rules stating that we will use the winning design for a minimum of 6 months. check it on

    We would have to retain copyright.


  • Rico

    nice, I can see a few late nights in store working on this one..

  • that girl again

    We would have to retain copyright.

    OK, so: you want people to produce original code and artwork and hand the copyright over to you. And you want said code and artwork to be GPL, which would allow you to redistribute it without any mention of the original creator (including any copyright notices in the stylesheet, because the copyright is yours, right?).

    My guess is that your questioner wasn’t worried about you using the rejected themes on this blog, he/she was concerned that you would package them up for download with a nice link back to your site in the footer. I’m not saying you would do this, I’m saying that you could. The majority of WP ‘theme contests’ have been for linkbuilding purposes, and people are consequently fairly cynical about new ones.

    Yes, it’s normal for the employer to retain copyright over works produced in the course of employment, but employment generally involves getting paid and you are only planning to compensate the winner. I’m afraid I’m not willing to spend the next two weeks making a skin you may not even use, and which I then won’t be able to use myself, let alone offer to anyone else, because I gave up my copyright.

  • Ntuat

    I entirely understand your concerns – let me try to put your mind at rest:

    1. We will only retain copywright of the winning design. All others will be deleted when the winner is chosen, leaving their designers free to do with them what they wish. I have included this clause in the terms and conditions, here.

    2. We’re not link-building – we just really need a new skin, and the competition seemed to be the best way to get one. I hope you’ll consider entering.

    3. If you still have concerns, please let me know and I shall ensure that they’re addressed.