Many WordPress themes come out every week. So many, in fact, that few could hope to sort through all of them for any stretch of time. At the same time, not every WordPress theme released is worth much time. There are a lot of copycats out there, and a lot of folks pumping out quick work to try and turn an easy dollar.
Instead of sorting through hundreds of WordPress themes every week or so, trust The Short List to offer up the themes that are actually worth your time to look over.
I tend to gravitate toward themes that are a bit original, and the more reputable the better. My favorites are always those designs with fewer options that are created for a specific purpose. You won’t find many of the super flexible themes on my lists. I like WordPress themes with a very clear identity.
Gallery, by upThemes
I like the work done by folks at upThemes, and while Gallery sort of screams Pinterest, it looks subdued enough to be its own theme.
Photocrati isn’t a brand new theme by any means, but in the last two months it has seen updates to bring it to version 4.5.1. If you haven’t given it a look before, now’s a good time.
Panels, by Sarah Kettle
Every now and then something interesting pops up for free on WordPress.org. Panels is a neat, simple blog theme that I could see someone enjoying. The only part I don’t like, at first glance, is the way the menu is in its own block, rather than with the header above.
Petit, by WPZoom
WPZoom’s Petit theme is designed specifically to support recipes. It has a pretty look about it, and makes me wonder how it would work with something like the ReciPress plugin.
Appply, by WooThemes
I always pay attention when WooThemes releases something new. With Appply, their latest business theme, at first glance it seems to be bringing a lot of what you’d expect from a theme like this. I’m curious to see how Appply really defers from their other business theme offerings.
Fusion, by Elegant Themes
I’ll admit to being at times frustrated by Elegant Themes’ products. That said, the style behind the themes always stands out — so much so that I think I would recognize one of their themes by their distinctive style alone. Fusion carries just that feel.
Response, by Organic Themes
Organic Themes has always had a nice style about their work. Response looks no different.
Inovado, by Minti Themes
Inovado has seen a good bit of popularity in its first week on ThemeForest. I’m curious as to whether it brings anything unique to the often-tread field of business themes.
Velo, by The Open Dept.
Velo, sold on ThemeForest by The Open Dept., really stands out for its bold use of color. It’s also, at first glance, a theme I would classify as minimal in a positive way.
VibeCom, by VibeThemes
VibeCom caught my eye for being a semi-popular theme right out of the gate as well as touting a page builder. This could be scary, but it all depends how it’s pulled off once you dig in.
Reader, by WPMinima TF/wpminima
I’ll be the first to admit that oftentimes, so-called “minimal” themes are just an excuse to not spend much time styling a theme. That’s why themes like Reader catch my eye — they are fully designed and thought out. The good side of minimal, I would say.
InCare, by Themes Kingdom
InCare is specifically designed for non-profit and environmental sites. I really like the color scheme here.
Paws, by brandexponents
Paws caught my eye right away — there aren’t many themes that look like this, that’s for sure. I can’t speak to its utility without digging in further, but on appearance alone this one’s worth a look.
Lost World, by ThemeForest user designthemes
Lost World is a theme designed for a travel blog or travel agency website. That alone makes this theme stand out in my mind.
Funky Skeleton, by ThemeForest user dekciw
Funky Skeleton might be too simple of a theme, but it won me over with its distinct style.
Hitched, by ThemeForest user Studio164a
Who doesn’t love a solid wedding theme? Hitched is a very charming theme.
Gameday, by MVPThemes
You don’t see too many sports themes quite this detailed. It packs quite a bit under the hood, too, which always makes me a bit nervous about themes. Still, if sports blogs and sites are your thing (or even if not!) Gameday is worth a glance.
Aura, by Designova
Aura is another unique theme, in this case because the design itself is split down the center. It wouldn’t be right for most sites, but has a look all its own.
Mission, by ThemeForest user Dany Duchaine
I love themes that are designed for a very specific purpose. Mission is certainly that, as it’s designed for charities, and it’s very pretty to boot.
Flow, by ThemeForest user GOZAWI
Flow is a solid blogging theme, which is always something that catches my eye. I could see myself using, or even recommending this theme to a friend looking for a simple blog theme.
Brick, by ThemeForest user jessengatai
For whatever reason, this particular portfolio theme stood out to me. It’s so easy to overdo a very bold design, but Brick just sort of works, I think.
Kingdom College, by ThemeForest user Chimp Studio
There aren’t many college/school focused WordPress themes. At least, very few come to mind. And since there are many frustrating school sites out there as there, there’s plenty of space for Kingdom College in the theme ecosystem.
Flowfolio, by ThemeForest user bwsm
Okay, so Flowfolio will only be useful if you have giant photos you want to use in the background. Or, I guess, if you’re okay with big faces of strangers looking at you from behind your site. To each their own, really.
Luminaria, by ThemeForest user Matt Adams
I’ll always have a soft spot for humble blog themes. Luminaria seems just that, but is understated enough that a number of different blogging styles could fit within it. On looks alone, I’m a fan.
Pulse, by Mojo Themes user MegaTheme
Pulse, given the right set of photos or portfolio items, would be a neat way to display them. I also like that the designer didn’t skimp on the single portfolio view either; it looks good too.
Cooker, by ThemeForest user Design_Mania
Cooker is, most definitely, only fitting for just the right kind of restaurant or cooking site. And you know, I think that’s pretty cool. It’s not perfect, but I’d rather see hundreds of very unique, specifically designed themes like this than more of the same. Wouldn’t you?
EPROM, by ThemeForest user rascals
EPROM is a slick music theme, which looks like it’s best for either a single artist or, perhaps moreso, a label with a number of artists represented.
Any other worthwhile themes?
There you have it, my picks so far this month. Have any other themes really jumped out at you so far in 2013?