Comment on WordPress Comment Form Title by SEO Dave.
If you’ve used the default TwentyEleven theme it includes a large image header area that if you set a 1000 by 288 px wide featured image it’s used in the header, that’s part of Stallion 6.1.
There’s an image based navigation menu where currently 5 menu items can be added which will use the featured image when set to 300px by 200px.
The Stallion 6.0.1 thumbnail will use the featured image as a thumbnail if the featured image was the last image added to a post.
I do like the idea of a featured image widget, not tried it so not familiar with the code needed, but would assume if added the widget without having a heading it should be blank on pages lacking a featured image. I’m playing around with featured image support now, so if I find anything useful will probably add it to Stallion.
Regarding page types for static Pages it’s easy to build a new template page which it sounds like what you’ve used (Pages not Posts). I’m currently adding support for the new Post Formats for Posts. WordPress currently has support for a number of post formats including:
aside, gallery, link, image, quote, status, video, audio, chat
Basically you add a new template file for each of these that can have it’s own formatting. I’ve just started playing around with the code so not sure what I’m doing with them yet, but Status for example could be a post format lacking comments and doesn’t add a link to the Status post, so it just shows a small amount of text on archive pages. A bit like a Twitter update. You could use one of the formats you don’t plan to use for your own needs. I’m thinking about using one of them for a main content ad free format.
I don’t think you can add your own post formats which is a real shame as you could then have the same sort of template system you have with static Pages building your own.