ModernThemes is a new WordPress theme site dedicated to giving away free themes. The themes were designed and developed by Robbie Grabowski and Mike Driscoll, the folks behind a group of agencies that specialize in custom WordPress work. The duo created the site in order to make modern themes and give back to the web community.
Currently, ModernThemes offers a dozen free themes in multiple categories, including video, resume, e-commerce, business, and portfolio. They plan to add new themes every month, and the next one on deck is a blogging theme for posting and sharing recipes.
All of the themes are based on Underscores and the Simple Grid. Many of the themes offer support for WooCommerce, WordPress SEO, Advanced Custom Fields, and other various plugins. The team behind ModernThemes strives to keep theme and plugin functionality separate as much as possible. They aim to be plugin-friendly, as opposed to plugin-heavy.
While the free themes offered on the site have beautiful, appealing designs, they would not be able to pass WordPress’ theme review guidelines. A cursory sweep with the Theme Check plugin reveals a number of errors that would preclude ModernThemes’ products from being listed in the WordPress.org Themes Directory.
On the plus side, the themes utilize the native customizer exclusively, which will help them to keep pace with advancements in WordPress over time. When you install a theme from ModernThemes, you’ll find dozens of options available in the customizer for personalizing your site.
Demo content for the themes is available in the zip file, but documentation seems rather sparse. Getting your site to look similar to the demo will require a bit of time spent in the customizer, tweaking various sections. ModernThemes offers a basic video tutorial on using the customizer to set up the themes.
Free theme projects like this one tend to be influential in raising the bar for commercial theme developers. It will be interesting to see how long the ModernThemes team can sustain a free themes shop without any direct monetization. The project has plenty of potential and we’ll be watching to see how the site evolves in the coming year.