Introducing the Gojoseon WordPress Theme for Key To Korean

02.16-gojoseon-theme

I’ve been planning/considering a redesign of Key To Korean since last summer. I’d planned to do it over the winter and unveil everything on New Year’s Day 2015. But, that day came and went and I’d been too busy working full + part-time to put in any solid effort on the redesign. However, I’m pleased to announce that I think we’re FINALLY ready to get this website overhauled and improved for the next few years!~ (Happy LUNAR New Year’s Day, everybody!)

Announcing: GOJOSEON

In my off time, I develop WordPress themes and plugins. Gojoseon will be my third foray into theme development and the first one I’ll release publicly on WordPress.org (I will be submitting it for review before the Seollal holiday). It’s also the first theme I’ve developed that is FULLY responsive (i.e. it adjusts itself to fit properly on every screen size – so it looks good on your 27″ iMac, or you 4″ Android phone).

A Theme inspired by Mugwort and Garlic

This is the tagline for this theme. Anyone who’s studied a bit about Korean history can probably guess the reference:

In ancient times, Hwanung (son of Hwanin, “Lord of Heaven”) came down to earth with 3,000 followers. A bear and a tiger prayed to Hwanung that they might become human, so he handed them 20 cloves of garlic and a bundle of mugwort and sent them into a cave together for the next 100 days. They were to eat ONLY the garlic and mugwort and stay out of the sunlight for the entire period. The tiger, unfortunately, gave up after only 20 days, but the bear stuck with it and at the end of the 100 days, became a beautiful woman. Eventually, Hwanung took her as his wife and she gave birth to a son: Dangun, who founded Korea as an empire in 2333 B.C.

The legend of Dangun, paraphrased

The Design

  • Colors:
    • Green (mugwort): #169A70
    • Gold (garlic): #CD7F32
  • Fonts:
    • Titles: Roboto Slab (serif)
    • Body: Roboto (sans-serif)

One of the special features here is that you also have the option to choose your own Google Font from a list of about 20. I’ve also included a list of 8 NEW Korean fonts on Google’s “Early Access” list.

Special Features

There are a total of 5 menus and two sidebars:

  • Menus:
    • Quick menu (in the black bar on the left)
    • Primary menu (the grey sidebar on the left)
    • Social menu (at the bottom of the black bar on the left)
    • Header menu (upper-right corner – over the sidebar)
    • Footer menu (after all the content)
  • Sidebars:
    • Primary sidebar – position can be changed to ‘right’, ‘left’, or ‘none’
    • Footer sidebar/widgets

About the Quick Menu:

The main reason for the Quick Menu design is that I found last year as I was preparing for my TOPIK test that I really wanted a quick and easy way to access ANY grammar point from ANY place on our website. The Quick Menu was the solution I came up with.

I will build out individual menus containing EACH grammar point for ALL of the Korean Grammar In Use books. If you click on the appropriate level button, you will be able to see a pop-up menu with lists of the grammar points. This should make it much easier and faster to navigate the grammar points in our site (it’ll also give me more motivation to continually update those). Any grammar points that do not have a post yet will be dimmed and not linked until I create the pages for them and link them.

About the Primary Menu:

The Primary Menu scrolls with the page until it comes to the end and then “sticks” to the bottom of the page. This is a unique design practice that I found included in the WordPress TwentyFifteen theme’s sidebar and I wanted to include here. Also, at screen sizes smaller than 640px, the Primary Menu becomes a hidden “off-canvas” menu to give you more screen space for reading the posts.

About the Social Menu:

The social menu is a unique way for you to add links to your social networking sites. It was pioneered by a WordPress developer named Justin Tadlock, and since then, many developers have begun including it in their themes. The basic idea is this, you enter links to your social networking services in the Menu, and the underlying computer code detects the links you’ve entered and replaces the text with icon font logos for the appropriate social services.

“Top” Button: 

After scrolling a certain ways down the page, a “Top” button appears underneath the Social Menu that, when clicked, will quickly transport the reader back to the top of the page.

Featured Posts are “Stickies”

As you can see in the main image for this post, I’ve included a slider for any posts marked as “stickies.” This makes it easy to create and bring focus to any number of Featured posts.


While there are a number of other features and cool little things I’ve included in this theme (namely options in the Theme Customizer), I think this is a good introduction to it (especially for people who might not be familiar with nor care too much about the theme’s development).

Anyway, please take a look at the design and let me know what you think. I was inspired to this design by GavickPro’s Magazine theme initially, though this one is much different.

Also, over the next few days/weeks, I’ll be uploading this theme TO Keytokorean.com and making adjustments to it on the back end so that at launch, everything should transition SMOOTHLY.

Gojoseon Launch Date: March 2, 2015

I’ll also be rolling out a rebrand of our logo as well as some other things like my wife’s new business cards and possibly some PDFs at that time.

*Whew* I put in 35 days of coding on this theme. It’s far from perfect but please let me know what you think in the comments below. And definitely let me know how it functions after it goes live on March 2. I’ll make THIS post a “Featured Post” at that time.

Oh, and one final note:

This theme will EVENTUALLY be free to download and use on your own sites after getting approval from WordPress.org to host it in their directory. I’ll let you know at that time. AND, I’ll make this theme the default theme for any of our PREMIUM members who wish to create their own blog on our site at http://yourname.keytokorean.com (upcoming feature). You can always change the theme if you choose, but this will be the default theme.

Track/Pingbacks

  1. A Little Bit of a Mix Up with the Comments - Key to Korean

Leave a Reply