Essenza WordPress Theme Review

Review of: Essenza WP Theme

Reviewed by:
On November 6, 2013
Last modified:November 6, 2013



Essenza is a grid-based portfolio theme, available from ThemeForest. It is described on the site as having “premium options,” which did make the cynical side of us wonder exactly what the “premium” options were and what they might cost!

Unsurprisingly for a portfolio design, this is a theme that’s all about showcasing visual content, so would be suited to creative professionals and design agencies. Although at the time of our review the theme had been purchased fewer than 300 times, we noted that it had been released just a month previously, so it is certainly enjoying some early popularity.

Esenza is a responsive theme and is also “retina ready,” so its guaranteed to look good across a range of devices, including high-resolution tablets.


Resident Designer’s Opinion

“Essenza is a portfolio theme in the purest sense, and best suited to certain niche industries. The grid layout is clean and attractive, and minimalist in nature.

Like several portfolio themes, Essenza does bring to mind Microsoft’s Metro interface for Windows 8, but it looks more sophisticated. All in all Essenza feels classy and “high-end,” and although it is best when used for its portfolio purpose, its blog page layouts are good enough for firms who wish to operate a basic blog alongside their portfolio.”



The key part of Essenza is its grid portfolio layout, complete with reactive tiles that change when a reader hovers over them.



There is also a “minimal” layout option, which make use of a fullscreen slider interface. This is ideal for businesses wishing to show off a single product (or limited range) in a bold way.



Essenza includes well-designed typography options for things like drop-caps and quotes, all of which are very much in keeping with the bold and minimal feel.



Although the main gallery layout is obviously Essenza’s clear focus, there are blog layouts included. Below is the regular blog layout:



There is also a “mosaic” blog layout, which is a little more in keeping with the grid theme (and more than just a little like Windows 8 when shown with the designer’s chosen demo colours!)



All of the colours and fonts are fully customisable. (So the Windows 8 look is far from mandatory!)


There are a host of shortcodes included with Essenza, covering everything from textboxes to functional message boxes:




Here is ThemeForest’s full features list for the Essenza theme:

  • iOS7 compatible
  • WordPress 3.7 tested and approved
  • Minimal and versatile design perfect for every portfolio
  • Perfectly responsive
  • Retina ready (crisp images on any resolution)
  • Insane custom fullscreen slider
  • Light and dark versiondemo data import
  • Massive admin with template customizer, pagebuilder, custom visual slider builder and unlimited possibilities
  • Built with HTML5 and CSS3
  • Smooth scrolling enabled
  • Sticky header with integrated search
  • Dynamic image loading, the right size for the right resolution
  • Thorough social integration (Vimeo, Youtube, DailyMotion, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, SoundCloud, Instagram, Flickr, Dribbble, Behance, etc.)
  • SEO optimised and easy Google analytics integration
  • Dynamic AJAX pages loading
  • Multilingual, super easy language translation
  • Drag&drop sortable portfolio and galleries
  • Custom Essenza icons and a huge set of FontAwesome icons
  • 600+ Google fonts
  • 3 different blog layouts with 8 different post types
  • Visual shortcode generator with many useful shortcodes
  • Unlimited colors
  • Unique backgrounds and sidebars possible on every page
  • Facebook login for blog comments
  • Developed with WP_DEBUG enabled
  • Supports child themes
  • Thorough documentation
  • Free lifetime updates and support
  • Just check out the preview!


  • Extensive template customizer with many general theme settings
  • Visual page builder with many shortcodes
  • Visual sidebar builder to create unique sidebars for each page
  • Unlimited colors
  • 600+ Google fonts
  • Over 500 FontAwesome and custom icons
  • Beautiful custom visual slider builder
  • Create unlimited portfolio, blog and gallery pages


  • Responsive, categorized and sortable grid
  • Create multiple portfolios on one website
  • Support for images, Vimeo, Youtube and DailyMotion
  • Set each item to fullscreen, fit or normal
  • Make portfolio items direct links to external projects
  • Optionable Ken Burns effect for each item
  • Slideshow on/off


  • Responsive, categorized and sortable grid
  • Dynamic width enabling a different amount of columns
  • 4 different types of possible items (Image, Video, Audio or Links)


  • 3 completely custom blog layouts (Regular, Masonry and Mosaic)!
  • Mosaic is a unique blog layout on ThemeForest!
  • Switch between custom blog layout with one click!
  • 8 different post formats (Text, Slider, Image, Image gallery, Video (Vimeo, Youtube, DailyMotion), Audio (Self-hosted, SoundCloud), Quote, Tweet)

Custom Slider:

  • Unique responsiveness control enabling proper viewing on desktop as well as mobile phone!
  • Great slider builder that makes creating your slider easy and fun
  • Ken Burns effect enabled



Essenza costs $45 on ThemeForest. This is the “regular” license cost for a single site or client. $45 is good value, but it’s important to note that the theme doesn’t include any shop functionality. There is also an extended license available that allows you to use the theme for an end-user chargeable site, which costs $2250.

We were pleased that we didn’t find any chargeable extras for this theme, which dispelled our earlier cynicism regarding “premium options!”



Essenza is clearly aimed at a niche market, and it serves that niche very well. However, this is a theme with some limitations. While the mosaic blog layout is in keeping with the rest of the theme, the standard blog options make you feel a little as if you’ve moved on to a different site.

This needn’t be a problem, but everything depends on the content you wish to display using the theme. If you stick to the kind of visual content the theme is designed for, all will be well, but if you want a website that does everything, you may be better to opt for a layout that’s just a little more traditional.

2013 Blogrid