The Morning After is one of the most recently added wp.com themes. Distinguishing feature: its homepage template – plus lots of options.
The header area
Upper section: title, tagline, search, header links
The special header links (green icon plus text) can be any of these five: Home, About, Archives, Subscribe, Contact. Each one is enabled in Appearance > Theme Options > Header Links, if you paste the appropriate URL in the respective field, or disabled, if you leave the field blank. Design-wise, you’d better have some of them on (the search field has been placed higher than the blog title, and won’t move lower if you disable all five links).
Middle section: the top nav menu
As in all themes with a top nav menu, the default menu displays links to all your parent pages, and it can be replaced by a custom menu (Appearance > Menus; can display links to any static pages, posts, post categories, post tags, external webpages).
The default menu can have dropdowns if you create child pages (see Support doc on page attributes); a custom menu can also have dropdowns (see Support doc on custom menus).
Minor defect: dropdown tabs not very clearly legible.
The home tab (left, part of the default menu only) and the RSS feed link (right, in red) can be disabled in Appearance > Theme Options > General.
You can remove the whole top nav section if you create a blank custom menu and select that menu in the Theme Locations pulldown.
Lower section: header image and template heading
Misleading at first glance, the template heading is not a link, it’s a heading that changes depending on the type of page you are viewing: homepage (default: “home”), single post (default: “you’re reading…”), static page (becomes page title), index pages (default: “index”), archive pages (default: “archives”), author archives (default: “author archive”), search results (default: “here you go”), 404 page (default: “uh oh!”). It can have a prefix symbol (default: // ). All except the static page headings are customizable (Appearance > Theme Options > Template Headings), including no heading and/or no symbol if you delete the content of the respective field.
Note: the prefix can be a symbol you don’t have in your keyboard if you paste the right html entity (see post on symbols and html entities).
The header image is optional. The theme has three pre-loaded black&white ones. You can upload your own (must be 960×70 pixels). In contrast to all other themes that support a header image, the theme saves all the header images you upload. You can display one permanently, or you can set it to random (any one of the three pre-loaded ones, or any of the ones you have uploaded). All these in Appearance > Header.
In most wp.com themes the blog front displays either your latest posts or a static page (option set in Settings > Reading). In Duster, you can display a complex blog front by selecting a static page as your front and selecting the special Showcase template for that page (see post on Duster). The Morning After is unique in that you get such a complex page by default (and somewhat unreasonably) if your blog front is set to display your latest posts.
Upper section: latest post.
Middle section: “featured” posts (enclosed in a grey background).
Lower section: “asides” (no title, no date, no comments, no categories, no line or paragraph breaks).
Featured posts are any number of posts you decide to showcase by marking them as stickies.
The latest post and the featured posts can show up in full* or as an excerpt; option set in Appearance > Theme Options > General. The excerpt can be auto (beginning of post, text only), or custom, if you add content to the Excerpt field of the post editor.
* Including up to the point you choose, instead of literally full, if you use the read-more tag.
If you set a featured image to your posts, the latest post will display that image above the post title (maximum width 470 pixels, downsized if larger); the featured posts will include that image as a square thumbnail (cropped, if the original isn’t square; default size 65×65, can be changed in Appearance > Theme Options > Homepage).
If you want images on the homepage but don’t like where and how the featured images are displayed, you can use regularly inserted ones instead, if you choose to display full posts, or include the image HTML in the Excerpt field, if you choose to display excerpts.
Asides are optional;* set by selecting “Aside” in the Format module of the post editor. They can display text and links but no images or other embedded objects. Their number is not limited by the number of posts per page you set in Settings > Reading, so they are designed for short notices that will be deleted once no longer relevant. You can use the read-more tag in them if they’re not very short.
* Featured posts are also optional, but it doesn’t make much sense not to use the option (except maybe if your posts are long and you choose to display the latest one in full).
The heading of the featured posts section (default: “Featured Posts”) and the heading of the asides section (default: “Updates”) can be changed in Appearance > Theme Options > Homepage – including no heading at all if you leave the field blank.
“Secondary” and “Primary” sidebars, plus (optional) wide “Homepage Feature Widget Area” above them.
You must give some thought to what widgets you’ll add to which sidebar, as index pages, static pages and single posts display the primary sidebar only. Normally the primary sidebar must include the Recent Posts widget and the Categories widget, since the blog front doesn’t really display your latest posts (unless you mark all your latest posts as stickies then unmark them when newer ones are added).
Other options and details
Posts on category and other archive pages can show in full or as excerpts: option selected in Appearance > Theme Options > General.
Any static page can be set as a full-width page with no sidebar (page editor > Page Attributes module > Template pulldown).
In Appearance > Background you can set a background color or a background image; it will affect the outer area only (outside the main column and the sidebar column).
If you go to My Account > Edit My Profile (or Users > My Profile) and enter some information in the “About you” field, the single-post view will include that information along with your avatar (between the post and the comments). If you don’t like this, make sure the “About you” field is blank.
For other details, check my theme surveys.