Looking back on the theme landscape of 2014, a clear design trend emerged that highlights WordPress’ roots as a blogging platform. Minimalist, content-centric themes took center stage in the official WordPress Themes Directory, outpacing their more visually-bloated commercial counterparts.
This past year saw a major renaissance in themes for the personal blogger, particularly designs that showcase large, featured images. Many theme designers opted to hide navigation menus and sidebars behind a slideout menu, which also works well for mobile displays.
WordPress’ newest default theme, Twenty Fifteen, is the culmination of this trend towards simplicity. The vast majority of our top picks from 2014 were designed for personal blogs. For years, technology experts have been eager to declare that the blog medium is dead, but the steady growth of economic activity surrounding themes continues to grow in tandem with WordPress’ marketshare.
The spirit of independent publishing is growing stronger, and free WordPress themes are a crucial entry point for writers, photographers, and other creatives who are new to self-publishing. All of the outstanding selections featured here are available in the official WordPress Themes Directory.