WordPress Theme Forecast


ThemeShaper has published an article titled, The Future Of WordPress themes which highlights comments from a number of movers and shakers that exist within the WordPress theming community. A number of individuals contributed to the article such as myself, Brian Gardner, Justin Tadlock, Cal Coleman and more. The basis of the article was to try and get a glimpse as to what the future of WordPress themes might be. What better way to find out than to ask those that set the tone for WordPress themes in their current state.

I enjoyed reading a number of the responses and it was interesting to see the differences amongst the crew as to where we see themes in general heading. I hope that ThemeShaper does the same article a year from now to see if any of us actually gave a correct prediction.

Now the question is asked of you. What and where do you think the future of WordPress themes is headed?




  1. Andrew (31 comments.) says:

    Well done, you didn’t mention Shifter once :-) It may well be the future.

    I think though that a lot of people are placing too much emphasis on widgets and sidebars. They are great, but I think someone will come up with a much more intuitive interface for laying out content and widgets will remain small content pieces.

    I also think that the fremium themes will catch up with the premium themes and the margins will begin to disapear. I suspect that premium themes may morph into basic platforms and the developers will be paid to customise them instead of the blog owner paying for the theme and customizing it themselves. A halfway house between premium and custom.

  2. Andrea (40 comments.) says:

    See, I think widgets and options pages are going to be more available, because I see more WPMU-based site owners looking for themes that their users can easily modify.

  3. Jenny (28 comments.) says:

    i think everyone is gonna end up having to pay for premades (for those who cant design for themselves). since all the big theme maker names are doing it already.

  4. Nathan Bowers (2 comments.) says:

    I can tell you where the future isn’t: sites like that don’t have print CSS (if you must know I wanted to read the article in the can).

    But seriously, I almost never see print.css in themes and it would nice if theme designers started doing that. I customized the Cutline theme for my own site and had to make my own print.css. If anyone out there uses Cutline feel free to grab my print.css for free.

  5. Mark Fulton (1 comments.) says:

    I think the future of WordPress themes will be innovative and have much more functionality and be very easy to customize colors and layout.

    The new WordPress Market Theme is a prime example of what is to come. Taking a very minimalistic layout and including built in functional storefront.

    Also, things like your other article on making WP into a membership directory.

    Exciting times for web developers indeed. :)

  6. skarld (2 comments.) says:

    Premium designers are already running scared. Design and layout will not be enough. Functionality with reign. Built-ins will replace plugins. First to build a shopping cart theme that accepts major credit cards will have something worth paying for.

  7. W-Shadow (3 comments.) says:

    Built-ins will replace plugins.

    Not going to happen. Plugins are much more flexible.
    Personally, I’d like to see more widget/sidebar stuff, but I don’t see any trends leading to that.

  8. Jonathan (81 comments.) says:

    First to build a shopping cart theme that accepts major credit cards will have something worth paying for.

    Perhaps they’ll make it into a plugin?

  9. Andreas (19 comments.) says:

    I’ve noticed a big interest from the tiny group that knows about my take on the “premium theme” view. I have been planning to do something that nobody has done before and probably not even seen as an option (it is a bit out of the box), that would bring some fresh ideas into the theme world. I don’t want to reveal the entire concept yet since I’m a slow worker and need some more time before everything works as I want it to, but some of the features are very likely being developed by others as well – although separately or as a part of other larger concepts. Some of those less dramatic features are:

    – Automatic theme updates.

    – Theme addons (like shopping cart, contact form, expanded plugin support etc. pre-styled for the theme – a useful addition to regular widgets and plugins)

    – Layout widgets (haven’t seen anyone do this yet, but I am sure that this will common in the future since it is incredibly useful. See below…)

    – Multi-design themes. I have built a theme based on an old modular CSS template I made years ago which has 9 different general layouts, 4 different color schemes and 17 internal style blocks that can be freely combined to create hundreds of different designs from one single theme (or website template – it can probably be ported for other systems than WP as well). Uses layout widgets, which unfortunately makes the theme quite slow – but I’m working on that as well…

    Those are some of the ideas. More will be presented once I manage to get it all pieced together! I am not really interested in being one of the “movers” or “shakers” in the theme world, I am just looking for different ways of helping people improving the quality of their blogs and websites. But sometimes it is fun to do something special. :)

  10. Roberto says:

    Interesting article I was looking for something like this. thanks Jeff


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