A guide to styling and making Dispatch your own

Dispatch is a Magazine style blog for your new website. Each of its features have been designed and built using GeneratePress and WP Show Posts. As expected of a Flint Skin Site it uses Custom CSS. At over 350 lines it is recommended, but not necessary, to move the Additional CSS to a Child Theme style sheet. So lets get onto making it your own.

WP Show Posts

Without WP Show Posts plugin, this Site wouldn’t exist. Another awesome product from Tom Usborne, WP Show Posts does exactly what the title says. Anywhere and everywhere in the case of Dispatch. So much so there is a dedicated page to explain its uses here.


Social Icons – Desktop

The Lightweight Social Icons widget has been added to the Header Widget. It only displays on Desktop as the Widget has the hide-on-mobile and hide-on-tablet-classes.

Social Icons – Tablet and Mobile

They are also displayed in the Slideout Navigation. Using the Slideout Widget.

Social Icon Colors

Colors are changed within the widget.


Pagebuilders

Can I use a page builder with Dispatch?

Yes, you can if you wish. The only rule is that you need to use the Default Template for your Pages and Posts. To create a full width blank canvas template then follow these steps:

  1. Appearance > Elements > New Layout
  2. Disable Content Title
  3. Set Page Builder Container to Contained or Full Width
  4. Set Display Rules to the Pages you need a Blank canvas on.

How do I change colors?

The majority of Volumes colors are controlled by the Customizer. There are some Elements that are part of Volumes features that require CSS. This article covers where to make those changes:

How to change the Custom Colors


Logo and Site Identity

Dispatch does not have a logo, just the Site Title.
You can change the Site Branding or add a logo via the Customizer > Site Identity


Page Layout – Container Margin

Dispatch uses the Customizer > Layout > Container > Separate Containers option.
To maintain horizontal alignment the left and right padding has been removed on the desktop.

The following CSS adds left and right margin to offset the padding.


@media (min-width: 769px) {
    body {
        margin: 0 30px;
    }
}

Navigation

Dispatch uses the Primary Navigation for the main menu and Secondary Navigation displays post categories.The majority of their layout and styling is controlled by the Customizer. With these exceptions:

Menu underline on hover

The animated underline is set using this CSS. Changing the color of the bar is covered here:

How to change the Custom Colors

Secondary Navigation Location

The Secondary Nav is placed using a Hook Element as opposed to the Customizer, which is set to No Navigation. This is so the secondary navigation is dynamically placed. You will notice it doesn’t appear on the posts. It also appears below the Header Element on the front page.

More information be found on that here:

Hooks – Custom Theme Elements

I want to use the Customizer to control the navigation

Simply delete ( or Quick Edit > Set to Draft and Save ) the Magazine Grid header element to revert to the normal customizer controls.


Blog

The majority of the Blog settings are controlled within the Customizer > Layout > Blog. Of course it wouldn’t be a Flint Skin site if some custom customization wasn’t done. These comprise of re-ordering the post meta layout and fixing the height of the featured image.

To maintain a consistent style the Blog posts have been styled to match the WP Show Posts Plugin. You can read more here:

https://gpsites.co/dispatch/wp-show-posts/


Single Post – Sidebar and No Sidebar

The default setting ( in the Customizer ) for the single post includes the right hand sidebar. If the sidebar is removed, like it is on this post, then the content container is narrowed for easier reading.

Single posts container without sidebar are resized by this CSS:


body.no-sidebar .site-content {
    max-width: 720px; /* Adjust the size to suit */
    margin-left: auto;
    margin-right: auto;
}

Options to remove the Sidebar on a post by post basis can be done using either the disable elements module or the layout module:

Layout Metabox Overview

Layout Element Overview


Page Heros – Header Elements

The Hero Headers are built using the Elements module. Volumes Hero Headers are covered here:

Page and Post Heroes

Magazine Grid – Front Page

A custom WP Show Posts Grid displaying 5 posts.
More details on creating your own list for this grid and the ones used in content are covered here …… WWWW ……

The Header Element contains just the WP Show Posts Shortcode. And requires these two Element Classes: wpsp-grid wpsp-card

Single Post

The single post uses a Block Element Page Hero to dynamically add the Featured Image Background, Post Title and Post Meta ( Author , Date and Category Terms ). All styling is applied to the GenerateBlocks Container and Headline Blocks.

Archives Header

This simple header places the archive title above the secondary navigation.

Using WP Show Posts

Adding post lists and grids to your Site couldn’t be easier than with the WP Show Posts plugin. Dispatch uses the Free version to display posts on the Front page and in the Sidebars. Of course with a little Flint Skin CSS treatment.

Head off to Dashboard > WP Show Posts > All Lists. Within are six lists:

  • Align
  • Standard
  • Sidebar
  • Header
  • Simple
  • Simple Sidebar

Each of them have very particular settings required to match the demo content you see here. Changing those settings may affect the way the post is displayed, and not necessarily for the better. So please work on a duplicate or make a note before changing.

Note: the name of the List has no relevance to the different styles displayed.

General ( and important ) information

Before we go into the detail let’s cover some basic and very important information.

Advanced Settings

For the purpose of the demo content a couple of the Lists are using Advanced Settings. First off the Standard List is using Ascending Order (Default: Descending).  Secondly the Simple List is using Offset, so it omits the first 4 posts. You may want to put these back to default if you’re not intending to replace them.

Duplicating WP Show Posts List

So we have four lists, and we want to make a new Standard list with a different category. The easiest way is to use one of the Duplicate Post plugins in the WordPress repository. Simple hey. And it works for all post types including GP Elements. Awesome. Note: When making a duplicate you are generally given two options. Clone and New Draft. I advise using the New Draft as some people have reported issues when using Clone.

 

List: Standard

This is the standard WP Show Post list that has the same custom styling applied to the GP Blog:

Style Guide

Heading One H1 Heading Two H2 Heading Three H3 Heading Four H4 Heading Five H5 Heading Six H6 Font: Playfair Playfair is a transitional design….

This is how the list is displayed within the Content area just by adding the WP Show Post Shortcode. Here follows the basic styling changes that have been made.

Content Wrap (WPSP Only)

Using a custom Hook Element the Post article content is now wrapped within a DIV container. This container carries a class of wpsp-content-wrap for styling. This wrap is present on all WP Show Posts that are output inside Dispatch.

Featured Image

The featured image has a fixed height to match the layout. This is achieved using this CSS:


.generate-columns-container article .inside-article img,  .wp-show-posts-image img {
    height: 180px;
    width: 100%;
    -o-object-fit: cover !important;
    object-fit: cover !important;
}

You can edit the height property to suit, or remove the CSS it entirely if you want to use your own sizes.

Meta above title

This is achieved using a flex box on the Entry Header. Again this applied to the GP Blog:


.generate-columns-container article .entry-header, .wp-show-posts-entry-header {
    display: -webkit-box;
    display: -ms-flexbox;
    display: flex;
    -webkit-box-orient: vertical;
    -webkit-box-direction: reverse;
    -ms-flex-direction: column-reverse;
    flex-direction: column-reverse;
}

Entry Title forced to 2 lines

The entry title always displays a minimum and maximum of 2 lines. This mantains the across row alignment. Again this is applied to GP Blog. The ex unit is used to define the number of lines visible. The lines are set by defining the line-height and setting the height to as many mutiples as you require lines. e.g up the height to 7.5ex will create three lines.


.generate-columns-container article .entry-header .entry-title, .wp-show-posts article .wp-show-posts-entry-title {
    line-height: 2.5ex;
    height: 5ex;
    overflow: hidden;
    text-overflow: ellipsis;
}

 

List: Align

Designed for a single column list this displays the content the image to the left and content to the right. This is subtly different to just resizing the image in the WP Show Posts list settings and aligning it left. Thanks to the Content Wrap we added (above) the content will never wrap around the image. On mobile it just stacks.

To add one of these your posts requires a little markup. And is done like so:

<div class="wpsp-align">shortcode_goes_here</div>

A guide to styling and making Dispatch your own

Dispatch is a Magazine style blog for your new website. Each of its features have been designed and built using GeneratePress and WP Show Posts. As expected of a Flint Skin Site it uses Custom CSS. At over 350 lines it is recommended, but not necessary, to move the Additional CSS to a Child Theme…

Using WP Show Posts

Adding post lists and grids to your Site couldn’t be easier than with the WP Show Posts plugin. Dispatch uses the Free version to display posts on the Front page and in the Sidebars. Of course with a little Flint Skin CSS treatment. Head off to Dashboard > WP Show Posts > All Lists. Within…

 

Lists: Sidebar

In the right had sidebar you can see the Sidebar list. This List is set to 1 column and only displays the Featured Image, Title and Category. This is designed for Widgets, a narrow column or as part of a grid (like in our next List).

To add this style the Widget requires a CSS Class of:

wpsp-card

Dispatch comes with Widget Classes Plugin installed. This provides this function.

 

List: Header

The Header list as seen on the Front Page requires a list containing only 5 posts. And can accomodate most of the content elements. Which are only displayed on the large leader post.

To add this style the Header Element requires the following element classes:

wpsp-grid wpsp-card

List: Simple

This is output using the wpsp-card inserted into a containing DIV like so:

<div class="wpsp-card">shortcode goes here</dib>

 

List: Simple Sidebar

Nothing fancy here,  just a list being output using the a Widget in the sidebar.

 

 

Hooks – Custom Theme Elements

Dispatch uses a few Hook Elements and Block Elements to create some Custom Elements in the site.
All of them provide dynamic output and should not require any changes to their content.

For more info on the Hook Element read here:

Hooks Element Overview

Secondary Navigation

This hook calls the Secondary Navigation and displays below the header / header element. It also uses Display Rules so it is excluded from All Posts.
Please note: the Secondary Navigation Location in the Customizer is set to No Navigation.

WPSP Open Wrapper & WPSP Close Wrapper

These two hooks create a Div wrap around the Enter Header, Summary and Entry Footer of the WP Show Posts. This is used to create the custom styling you see here.

Post Navigation Block

For more information see this document:

Page and Post Heroes

Page Heroes are those big bold images and headlines you find at the top of your posts and pages. They sit just below the Site Header and added using the Header Element module, when activated provides the Elements menu in Dashboard > Appearance > Elements

Dispatch has two Header Elements in place. But you can add as many as you need.

Magazine Grid – Home Page

Combined with the WP Show Posts plugin this header creates a 5 post card grid. Very few settings are required. These are the main points:

Hero Content: WP Show Posts Short code
Element Classes: wpsp-grid wpsp-card
This creates the grid and styles the cards
Padding: Zero padding
Makes the grid fill the hero
Display Rules: Front Page

The shortcode required is found in the WP Show Posts list you created. More detail on creating these special lists can be found here.

Single Post

Method: Block Element – Page Hero
Background Image: Dynamic Featured Background Image on Container Block
Content: Headline Blocks displaying dynamic Post Title, Post Author, Post Data and Category Terms
Display Rules: All Posts

Creating new Block Elements

Creating a new Block Element is as easy as creating a new post. This article explains how to:

Block Element Overview

Display Rules

Display Rules are used to determine where a Block Element is displayed. Here are some pointers:

Front Page

When you select a blog or a static page in Dashboard > Settings > Reading as your Front Page. You must specifically apply that as a Display Rule for it to display.

Display the Dispatch Header Elements on other pages

Simply edit the Header Element and add additional Display Rules.

Copy an existing Block Element

So you think these Block Elements are awesome. But you want to add your own versions to some other posts, and there is not duplicate feature. Well just add one of the Duplicate Post plugins found on wordpress.org and your in business.

How to change the Custom Colors

Changing Colors in Dispatch are mainly done via the Theme Customizer. Certain elements such as Page Heros are controlled within the Header Element and are covered in that article. There are a few colors that are controlled by CSS. The rules for them are found in the Customizer > Additional CSS:

Primary Navigation

Hairline Border above desktop navigation

.main-navigation .inside-navigation {
    border-top: 0.5px solid #d4d7d8;
}

Menu item underline on hover

.main-navigation ul li:after {
    background-color: #000;
}

Navigation Search

.navigation-search.nav-search-active {
    background-color: rgba(255,255,255,0.95);
    top: 100%;
}

Buttons

All of the colors are controlled via the customizer. However the button border inherits the color of the font. This is set by this CSS:

button, html input[type="button"], input[type="reset"], input[type="submit"], a.button, a.button:visited, a.wp-block-button__link:not(.has-background) {
    pointer-events: initial !important;
    border-color: inherit;
    border: 1px solid;
}

WP Show Posts – Card Style

Entry Title, Summary and Meta text color

.wpsp-card, .wpsp-card a, .wpsp-card .wp-show-posts-meta a, .wpsp-card .wp-show-posts-meta a:visited {
    color: #fff;
}

Gradient overlay

To improve contrast of text a subtle gradient overlay is applied to the cards content wrapper.

.wpsp-card .wpsp-content-wrap {
    position: absolute;
    bottom: 0;
    left: 0;
    right: 0;
    padding: 5% 8%;
    -webkit-box-sizing: border-box;
    box-sizing: border-box;
    background-color: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.35);
    background: -webkit-gradient(linear, left bottom, left top, color-stop(80%, rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.6)), to(rgba(0, 0, 0, 0)));
    background: linear-gradient(0deg, rgba(80, 50, 50, 0.5) 30%, rgba(0, 0, 0, 0) 100%);
    pointer-events: none;
}

Custom Featured Image Post Navigation Next/Previous

.post-nav {
    padding: 6px 12px;
    border-radius: 3px;
    font-size: 0.7em;
    text-transform: uppercase;
    background-color: #ff1956;
    color: #fff !important;
}

Style Guide

Heading One H1

Heading Two H2

Heading Three H3

Heading Four H4

Heading Five H5
Heading Six H6

Font: Playfair

Playfair is a transitional design. In the European Enlightenment in the late 18th century, broad nib quills were replaced by pointed steel pens as the popular writing tool of the day. Together with developments in printing technology, ink, and paper making, it became to print letterforms of high contrast and delicate hairlines that were increasingly detached from the written letterforms.

This design lends itself to this period, and while it is not a revival of any particular design, it takes influence from the designs of John Baskerville and from ‘Scotch Roman’ designs. Being a Display (large size) design in the transitional genre, functionally and stylistically it can accompany Georgia for body text.

volume button

Color Plan

#ff1956
#fbfbfb
#f4f6f7
#3a3a3c

 

volume button

Aside for Widgets

Sidebar Widgets are a main feature of any Magazine Blogging site. To aid with that Dispatch uses a nifty little plugin and a couple of custom CSS classes to make styling your sidebar a breeze.

Widget CSS Classes

Using the namesake plugin you can now add CSS Classes to Widgets. Simple.

Dispatch Widget Classes

CSS Class: zero-padding
Removes the padding from the widget. Perfect for adding those banner ads for maximum space.

CSS Class: no-background
Removes the widget color background that is set in the Customizer.

CSS Class: wpsp-card
Used exclusively with the WP Show Posts Widget and with zero-padding and no-background.
Read more here

Adding your own classes

Want different color background for your widgets. Heres how to. Add you Custom Class Name to your widget. In this example we’ll go for a red color and name our class red-background. Now thats added lets add some CSS.


.widget.red-background {
    background-color: #ff0000;
}

A Sample Post with Comments

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa a link to know where qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. a link to know where

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, style sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Great typography and bold imagery speak volumes about quintessential topics

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia a link to know where deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. a link to know where

Great typography and bold imagery speak volumes about quintessential topics

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.