Envato on The State of WordPress Blogging Themes

Envato has a nice article covering the current state of WordPress blogging themes. The article does a nice job highlighting not only the styles over the years but the inspiration behind them as well. The design traits profiled include:

  • Modern Single-Column Layout
  • Traditional Two-Column Layout
  • The Journal Layout
  • The Masonry/Grid Layout

My favorite style is a toss-up between the journal and single-column layout. That’s why I’m psyched to see the Twenty Fifteen default theme go with a clean, two-column layout. I think a lot of sites will use it compared to Twenty Fourteen which was more of a magazine style. Here’s a look at the various styles used by default themes in WordPress over the years starting with Twenty Ten.

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Which style is your favorite and are you happy to see the Twenty Fifteen default theme go back to a more traditional two-column layout? What do you think the next WordPress theme design trend will be?


16 responses to “Envato on The State of WordPress Blogging Themes”

  1. I’ve always felt like Twenty Thirteen and Twenty Fourteen (particularly the latter) were too idiosyncratic to be good default themes. The prior ones were functional but a bit dull.

    Twenty Fifteen feels like the first one I’d want to use on a live site. Pretty!

    • I don’t like the color choice and single column use of Twenty Thirteen. Although I fell in love with Twenty Fourteen, it turned out to be too much of a hassle to modify for my own needs without destroying its look. Twenty Fifteen looks like the type of theme I’d love to start with and make minor additions to.

  2. I prefer the hidden sidebar concept, as an off-canvas panel. It doesn’t matter if it’s push or overly, but I like the overlay better and that’s why I use the Decode WordPress Theme. Sidebars tend to be distracting, so having them hidden from the start makes the content stand out. Also, the off-canvas method doesn’t require mobile phone users to scroll way down to see the sidebar(s).

  3. My current favorite blog design pattern is the infinitely scrolling modern single column style. Something like Ryu, by Takashi Irie. My dream theme is something like an updated Skeptical by WooThemes with it’s faux third column made up of post meta but without footer widgets so it’s scrolling infinitely. I never see any great examples of themes like that though. Guess I’ll have to design something someday. :)

  4. Twenty Twelve was the best by far.

    It tried to impose the least design on people, and who really wants to use the default theme as is anyway?

    What they really need to do IMO is get rid of default themes and create a great starter theme and/or framework (that doesn’t have to be a parent theme), one that is designed to be extensible and allow designers to easily “skin” it than offer yet another boring default theme.


      • Yeah, I’ve started with _s several times, but always end up stripping out everything that _s provides and having a completely custom theme.

        And I’m suggesting a blank canvas, though, but instead a theme that by architecture is easy to augment with the types of changes that are commonly needed, such as logos, colors, fonts, etc.. A “framework light” if you will, one that wouldn’t be WordPress core but could be semi-standardized because it would be included in a core plugin, maybe.

        What do I mean specifically? A bunch of functions like comments_template() that create a structure around comments so that not everything has to be rolled from scratch.

        For example, why isn’t there a common function to generate the HTML header? Or how about a content_page() function?

        BTW, I’d love to see WordPress add static methods a WP_Theme class for this, something like:



  5. I wish that Envato was as good at customer service as they seem to be in their analysis of historical theme trends.

    I bought a WP plugin from them last week that does not work and all I’ve received from them are emails saying they will get to my case in a week or so.

    I wish I had bought using my AMEX card and not PayPal. With AMEX I could make one phone call and they would be on my side and I would not be out the money. Instead I bought with PayPal and the money is gone. It’s a heck of a lot harder getting it back after they already have it!

    If you buy something from Envato, make sure you use a credit card and not a debit card so that you have some leverage if what you get is as bad as what I got and they decide to stonewall you like they have with me.

    As the old saying goes, and it seems especially true with Envato… “Caveat emptor”

    (/ˌkæviːɑːt ˈɛmptɔr/ is Latin for “Let the buyer beware” )


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