themes-for Would you like me to cover a specific type of WordPress theme in my next roundup? If so, feel free to contact me and I’ll get on it asap.

20 Horizontal WordPress themes for photography, art, and design portfolios in 2018

This collection of sideways sliding WordPress themes is for anyone looking to create a portfolio website to showcase art or design work.

Horizontal WordPress themes are a niche category in the WordPress theme market. That being said, the sideways form factor has a lot to offer in terms of user experience – particularly when it comes to visual content. The horizontal layout works well on swipe-screen devices such as smartphones or tablets.

Intrigued by this unusual form, I decided to curate a list of 20 free and premium horizontal WordPress themes to showcase some of the potential this form has to offer. What many of the entries in this list have in common is the ability to immerse the visitor in the content. So it will come as no surprise that the majority of these themes are geared towards photographers or graphic artists.

Another common feature among these themes is the simplicity of design. Horizontal themes tend not to work well with large scale content sites. They are at their best when showcasing a collection of photos.

This list is by no means exhaustive and I will add more to it as I discover new themes. I would particularly like to add more free themes to even out the balance. So if you know of any horizontal WordPress themes that are not on my list, feel free to let me know in the comment section below and I’ll add your suggestion.


Free Themes


1. Exposito Theme

Exposito free WordPress theme

The Exposito theme, as its name suggests, is geared towards photography or artwork-based portfolio websites. The theme tries to emulate the experience of a white cube gallery with its ultra minimal design and ample use of white space. The theme is responsive and looks good across a range of form factors, small to large. What I like most about this theme is its simplicity.

DEMO / DOWNLOAD


2. Screen Theme

The Screen theme is a free horizontal sliding WordPress portfolio theme. The theme’s front page features a full-screen image carousel which creates a strong visual impact for first time visitors to your site. The portfolio template is grid based and the blog template is a single vertical stream of posts. This is a welcome addition to the free WordPress theme list.

DEMO / DOWNLOAD


3. Scroll Me Theme

Scroll Me is a free horizontal WordPress business theme. It is one of the only single-page portfolio themes with sideways sliding action that I have seen. This is the free version of a paid theme. The free version comes with 7 different sections, including a “Home” section with image carousel; an “About Us” and “Services” sections which allow you to give relevant info on your company’s activities; a “Project” section showcasing recent work; a “Client” section for testimonials; and a blog section for news items. All in all, this is a very well made theme and one of the most advanced horizontal themes I’ve seen.

DEMO / DOWNLOAD


4. Portra Theme

This may be an old theme (launched in 2014), but it has stood the test of time thanks to a solid code base and a simple and elegant design. The theme is responsive and would be suitable for a solo visual artist looking to promote their work. The horizontal sliding home page works particularly well on mobile and tablet devices.

DEMO / DOWNLOAD


5. Boardwalk Theme

Developed by Automattic, the people behind WordPress, Boardwalk is a responsive horizontal sliding theme suitable for bloggers. The horizontal aspect of the theme is limited to the homepage. All single posts have vertical layouts. This is an easy to use, minimal approach to the sideways idea.

DEMO / DOWNLOAD


6. Sider Theme

Sider is a photo-oriented horizontal scrolling portfolio theme. Right off the bat, I love the way content is framed in “polaroid” style, giving each image on the front page a space and look of its own. This theme is really focused on its presentation of images and I could see this working well for artists and designers. The theme supports the Google font library which means you can select from over 40 different font faces and change the look and readability of the theme. Another neat feature is the gallery template, which allows you to present multiple images in a single post. The layout of images and text blends well together. Finally, I also appreciated the double layer of navigation for laptop or desktop computer users.

DEMO / DOWNLOAD


Premium Themes


7. COLr Theme

The COLr theme is an ultra minimal horizontal sliding WordPress theme dedicated to photography. The theme can support text alongside the images, but works best with photos only. It comes with several variations such as white and black versions. You can also run a single page slide show or set up a simple gallery. A vertical page template is also included and the theme is fully responsive. This is definitely a contender if you’re looking to set up a photography portfolio.

DEMO / DOWNLOAD


8. Horizon Theme

Horizon is a portfolio theme designed for photographers and artists who want a simple but visually effective way of showcasing their work. The theme also has several interesting custom templates such as “services” and “testimonial” pages . You can also run a blog with this theme and choose from classic and masonry style post layouts. The theme developer has tried to keep functions as simple as possible thanks to a “1-click demo install” to help you learn how to use the theme. The theme also comes with adequate documentation and support. This is a simple yet sophisticated theme that does a great job of organizing and showcasing image-based work.

DEMO / DOWNLOAD


9. Core Theme

A lot of work has gone into making the user navigation experience slick and intuitive in the Core Theme. It’s a joy to use on tablets, more so than with a mouse on a desktop. Core not only makes photos stand out but its feature set, which includes a range of layouts, a contact form a blog section and a gallery page, makes it a viable option for a more content heavy site. It is also one of ThemeForest’s best selling themes.

DEMO / DOWNLOAD


10. Stuff Theme

Stuff is a horizontal scrolling tumblelog style theme. It supports text, photo, video and audio and it comes with 12 different color schemes. One of the main features of this theme is the unlimited Facebook-like content loading function, which provides your visitor with a clear stream of content. Unfortunately, the theme is not responsive, so you may want to think twice before buying it.

DEMO / DOWNLOAD


11. Magpie Theme

Magpie is a beautifully crafted, responsive and horizontal scrolling theme. One of its key features is the ability to add custom background images to blog posts and pages. The post content sits on top of the image over an opaque overlay. You can navigate from one post to the next via clearly defined scrolling arrows, which maintain the sideways momentum of the theme. The theme comes with 6 different colour schemes and a range of built-in templates including a blog, an archives page, a contact page and more.

DEMO / DOWNLOAD

12. Diablo Theme

The Diablo Theme uses a horizontal sliding masonry grid to great effect. It allows you to play with the way post entry thumbnail images appear, either using a rollover effect or displaying the post title and metadata directly. Single posts are also well laid out and easy to read in vertical style. The added left-right navigation buttons on single posts makes it simple to cycle through site content. The theme comes with several core colour schemes including light and dark variants and the blog has a range of different template styles from horizontal to metro style.

DEMO / DOWNLOAD


13. Camilla Theme

Camilla was designed with photographers, graphic designers and anyone who works with images in mind. The theme offers 3 different colour schemes (light, dark and red), a portfolio section, a bespoke resume template, a blog section and contact form. A lot of work has gone into the user experience of this theme. For example, new visitors are met with a small popup explanation of how to scroll and use the theme. Transitions between sections are smooth and easy to navigate. The portfolio, about, and blog pages work vertically to give users extra space to play with. All in all, this is a very professional looking theme with a solid feature set and good usability.

DEMO / DOWNLOAD


14. Fluxus Theme

Fluxus is a minimalist portfolio theme with vertical and horizontal layout options. The homepage presents visitors with an immersive fullscreen image slider. If you jump to the portfolio template, which is the core part of this theme, you can choose between a horizontal layout or a typical vertical grid layout. You have the best of both worlds in that sense. The blog template is also horizontal scrolling and the image sizes and layout are smaller than the portfolio template. This is key to differentiating between different types of site content. You can also choose between “light” and “dark” versions of the theme and the design is responsive and works well on all form factors.

DEMO / DOWNLOAD


15. Talent Theme

The Talent theme is aimed at photographers, though it could just as well be used by designers and artists or anyone looking to showcase visual material. What I like most about the theme is its atmosphere; from the home page slider to the portfolio carousel, the theme’s dark background helps give the photos a dramatic feel.

DEMO / DOWNLOAD


16. Regolith Theme

The Regolith theme is a business oriented portfolio theme. The demo content is setup as a real estate or travel agency type business. The front page layout brings the theme’s main elements together into a series of windows including an intro message, about sections, portfolio and blog entries. Single pages work in vertical fashion and are set against a grey background with a strong corporate visual motif. This theme would be a great option for a company website.

DEMO / DOWNLOAD


17. Side Folio Theme

I hesitated to add this theme to the list, since only the front page slider is horizontal scrolling, but since it’s such a dominant part of the theme’s overall design, it seemed worthy of a mention. Side Folio shows off your portfolio entries in its elegant front page slider, which serves as a springboard into the theme’s main content sections. The theme is clean and airy, perhaps with a little too much whitespace at times, particularly on the vertical scrolling pages between the main content and sidebar areas. That being said, I think the theme is simple to use and easy to navigate and is worth a look.

DEMO / DOWNLOAD


18. Photo Swipe Theme

The Photo Swipe Theme is designed around a sideways sliding image carousel. The carousel appears on both the front page and portfolio pages. The theme’s blog template is vertical. This is a bear bones, minimal theme that would suite a single artist portfolio. Each item in the carousel links to a vertical WordPress post. The theme is responsive and easy to set up.

DEMO / DOWNLOAD


19. Mantra Theme

The Photo Swipe Theme is designed around a sideways sliding image carousel. The carousel appears on both the front page and portfolio pages. The theme’s blog template is vertical. This is a bear bones, minimal theme that would suite a single artist portfolio. Each item in the carousel links to a vertical WordPress post. The theme is responsive and easy to set up.

DEMO / DOWNLOAD


20. Curator Theme

Curator is one of my favorite themes on this list. The designer has taken the basic horizontal scrolling template model and transformed it into a mock museum timeline that allows you to group content in chronological order. I particularly appreciate the professional feel and color palette used with this design. The theme’s key features include: full color control of text, background and accent colors; responsive layout; WordPress custom background support; control of the timeline by year, decade, century or millennium; a parallax background effect; widgets and custom logo support. All in all, this is a brilliant piece of WordPress coding.

DEMO / DOWNLOAD

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WordPress Themes for Indie Filmmakers

This selection of low to zero cost WordPress themes is for anyone looking to make a professional film website on a tight budget.

This is the second post in my ThemesFor series, in which I handpick the best free and premium WordPress themes for use in niche-specific contexts. This time I take a look at WordPress themes for Indie filmmakers. How do some of the world’s up and coming filmmakers display their work online and which WordPress themes can be used to promote small budget movies?

Exploring the niche

In order to get a sense of current practice in web design for indie filmmakers, I surveyed the websites of a range of entries in this year’s SXSW Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival and other sources for newly released movies.

Below are four films that are emblematic of design styles and feature sets for film websites. I have included some basic information on the directors, cast, film plot and website layout and components.

Case 1: Observance

observanceGenre: Suspense, thriller.
Website: www.observancemovie.com.
Director: Joseph Sims-Dennett.
Cast: Lindsay Farris, Stephanie King and Brendan Cowell.
Synopsis: Parker has just suffered the loss of his young son, his marriage is on the rocks and he is close to bankruptcy. He goes back to work as a private investigator and take up an assignment to observe a woman from an abandoned apartment complex. He begins to witness bizarre happenings around her and falls prey to a dark presence in the building.

Website layout: Single page layout.
Home page component break down:

Full screen image background with movie title at center and top navigation bar
Full screen video trailer (YouTube) below the fold
Links to venues screening the movie
Awards, accolades and review quotes
Movie credits

Case 2: Basic Human Needs

basic human needsGenre: Romantic comedy.
Website: www.basichumanneedsmovie.com.
Director: Matthew Yim.
Cast: Laura Abramsen, Matthew Yim and Natalie Lazarou.
Synopsis: Miles and Audrey are two young adults living in small town Canada. Their dream is to move to the big city, but they do nothing proactive to get there. Instead, they are stuck in their mundane everyday lives, fantasising of an ideal grown up life. But that all changes with news of a missing condom, a pregnancy test, and some invaluable life lessons.

Website layout: Single page layout.
Home page component break down:

Full screen image background with movie title at center and top navigation bar
Full screen video trailer (Vimeo) below the fold
Movie synopsis (text and photo)
Creative team profiles (text and photos)
Links to venues screening the movie
Sponsor logos
Contact box
Social media links

Case 3: The Space in Between

the space in betweenGenre: Documentary.
Website: www.thespaceinbetweenfilm.com.
Director: Marco Del Fiol.
Cast: Marina Abramovic.
Synopsis: The Space in Between is a documentary that doubles up as part road movie and part spiritual thriller. It follows world renowned avant garde performance artist, Marina Abramovic, on her journey through Brazil. It is both an ode to the artist’s work and an attempt at pushing the boundaries of documentary filmmaking.

Website layout: Single page layout.
Home page component break down:

Full screen image background with movie title below the fold at center
Full screen video trailer (YouTube) below the fold
Movie synopsis (text)
Movie credits and sponsor logos
Social media links

Case 4: Goodnight Brooklyn – The Story of Death By Audio

Goodnight BrooklynGenre: Documentary.
Website: http://www.goodnightbrooklyn.com.
Director: Matthew Conboy.
Cast: Oliver Ackermann, Edan Wilber, Matthew Conboy and Stephanie Gross.
Synopsis: Goodnight Brooklyn is a documentary that focuses on the last underground venue for music and art in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a neighborhood once defined by its cultural contributions to the city of New York.

Website layout: Single page layout.
Home page component break down:

Full screen image background with movie title at top and navigation bar + social media links below title.
Video trailer (Vimeo) above the fold at center
Movie synopsis below trailer

Summing up the features

The features shared across all the movie websites I looked at in researching this post, include a single page layout, a full screen background image made of stills from the movie, and YouTube or Vimeo video trailers.

The sites differed on the level of information they gave visitors. Some sites pushed their info to the limits with synopses, credits, screening schedules, actor, director and creative team bios and media downloads. Other sites kept the info to a minimum and made the trailer their main point of focus.

I tried to take these similarities and differences into account while selecting WordPress themes suitable for indie filmmakers. All the themes listed below are capable of replicating the function and atmosphere of the 4 case studies mentioned above.

One of the most disappointing discoveries in compiling this post was the distinct lack of free WordPress themes for indie filmmakers. I could only find 5!! If you happen to know of others, please leave a link in the comment section below.

I hope this list is helpful to anyone involved in filmmaking. If you decide to use one of the themes for your project, please, please post a link to your film site in the comments. It would be great to see what you are up to.

Free WordPress Themes

Let’s start with a selection of free WordPress themes that emulate some of the style layout types highlighted in the case studies above. All of these themes can be used to set up websites for indie filmmakers with minimal effort and zero cost.

1. Singl

Singl
Author: Automattic
Notes: Although this is pitched as a theme for musicians, its simple single page layout with a strong background image could easily be used as a movie promotion theme. Instead of embedding a soundcloud track, you could embed a vimeo or YouTube video trailer. And instead of tour dates, you could add realease and screening dates.
Price: Free
Demo and Download »

2. Athena Lite

Athena Lite WordPress Theme
Author: SmartCat
Price: Free
Type: This is a single page parallax theme with a useful full screen image slider and clear title and menu layout. Scrolling down the theme’s front page, you will find sections that you can edit and customize to add film credits, or recent news etc.
Demo and Download »

3. Focus

Focus Indie Movie WordPress Theme
Author: Greg Priday
Type: This theme has a neat grid layout with a clear menu at the top. It also has a full screen slider with video capability. The video slider could be used to show a film trailer or some promotional content and the grid section would house news or blog content.
Price: Free
Demo and Download »

4. Coni

Coni WordPress Theme
Author: Quema Labs
Type: Although Coni is billed as a “business theme” its light and bright layout with full screen image background and editable home page sections makes it a good contender for a movie website. This is the “lite” version of a feature-rich premium theme.
Price: Free (see premium version below at #11)
Demo and Download »

5. Showbox

Showbox Indie Movie WordPress Theme
Author: Dessign
Type: This theme was designed with photographers in mind, but with a few tweaks it could easily be adapted into a film promotion theme. The front page opens with a bold full screen image slider and a clear and prominent site title and navigation bar. It has that strong impact factor that would work well for an indie movie site.
Price: Free
Demo and Download »

Premium WordPress Themes

The themes in this section are all paid. They tend to be more feature rich than the free themes and come with support. Most of them are very close to the design layouts highlighted in the showcase section above.

6. Vignette

SKT Photo Session
Author: CSS Igniter
Type: Fullscreen video background theme with a single page portfolio style layout.
Price: $39
Demo and Download »

7. Vidiho

Phogra
Author: CSS Igniter
Type: This is a video blog style theme with a large video showcased at the top of the homepage. It could easily be adapted to fit an indie movie launch page.
Price: $39
Demo and Download »

8. Film Maker

Film Maker Premium WordPress Filmmaker Theme
Author: Beautheme
Price: $49
Notes: A striking single page theme which opens with a fullscreen image and title and then leads the visitor into different info sections about the movie.
Demo and Download »

9. The Producer

Snapshot
Author: theMOLITOR
Type: This is a simple theme that opens with a full screen image, navigation menu and central text message. Users can add more items to the homepage since it has parallax scrolling capability. The theme was designed with ease of use and simplicity in mind. An excellent option for WordPress newcomers.
Price: $49
Demo and Download »

10. Vysual

Vysual WordPress Theme
Author: theMOLITOR
Type: The homepage displays the film title and a large centered video play button superimposed over a video background. The footer contains movie credits and the navigation menu is a mobile drop-down style.
Price: $49
Demo and Download »

Premium WordPress Themes

The second part of my list contains paid or premium WordPress photography themes. All of these themes offer at least 1 year of professional support and all come with multiple layout and customisation options.

11. Footage

Footage WordPress Movie Theme Press
Author: ThemeProvince
Price: $49
Notes: this theme allows your visitors to sample different media connected to your movie. So you could start with the movie trailer and then include cast photos, behind the scenes interviews etc. The left sidebar navigation is very clear and opens up options to link to other pages (blog, contact, about etc.) and social media accounts.
Demo and Download »

12. Entourage

Entourage WordPress Movie Theme
Author: WebRedox
Price: $49
Notes: This is a simple but effective fullscreen theme with a top layer navigation bar. You can run Vimeo, YouTube or self-hosted video on the main page, or set up image sliders instead. The theme comes with blog, portfolio, gallery and Woocommerce shop templates, making this an extensive and capable theme for film promotion.
Demo and Download »

13. NRG Producer

NRG Producer WordPress Indie Film Theme
Author: NRGThemes
Type: The home page screen displays a video at the center with a row of thumbnails for extra media at the bottom. The footer contains space for film credits. The navigation menu is simple and the theme is mobile oriented.
Price: $49
Demo and Download »

14. Movie Me

Movie Me Indie Movie WordPress Theme
Author: WebRedox
Type: The homepage of Movie Me functions as a single page portfolio. It starts with a fullscreen image of the movie with centralized video play buttons for the trailor. The navigation bar is clear and prominent at the top. As you scroll down, you find a range of content sections including a space for cast photos and bios, a video gallery, blog/news posts and a contact section.
Price: $44
Demo and Download »

15. Soho

Soho Indie Movie WordPress Theme
Author: GT3 Themes
Type: This theme comes with multiple homepage options. The default landing page consists of a full screen image with an animated logo transition at the center. Users click through the landing page to the main theme layout with a clear navigation bar at the top and social buttons at the bottom. The center of the screen can house a photo slideshow or a YouTube, Vimeo or HTML5 video. This theme also includes Woocommerce shop integration – hence the slightly higher sales price.
Price: $59
Demo and Download »

16. Vid

Vid Indie Movie WordPress Theme
Author: Dessign Themes
Type: This is a very simple theme with a bold black and white navigation bar at the top over a background video and call to action button at the center of the homepage.
Price: $39
Demo and Download »

17. Videographer

Water Lily
Author: Dessign Themes
Type: This theme is more of a blogging theme with a focus on video content, however it could be adapted to showcase a movie trailer followed by new or blog posts. Simple and effective design.
Price: $39
Demo and Download »

18. Reverzo

Reverzo Indie Movie WordPress Theme
Author: Tym Berry
Type: This is an interesting and innovative theme. The split screen transition effect that moves you from section to section creates a nice layer of user interaction that would work well for an indie movie site.
Price: $59
Demo and Download »

19. Tides

Tides WordPress Photography Theme
Author: Thommus Rhodus
Type: Although not a dedicated indie movie WordPress theme, Tides can be easily adapted to support your film project. It is a single page portfolio theme that starts with a bold video background and call to action button. The top layer navigation bar is clear and usable and as you scroll down the page, there are sections for a portfolio, blog posts and a contact form. These can be replaced with text and images or whatever you want.
Price: $44
Demo and Download »

20. Zeus

Zeus Indie Movie WordPress Theme
Author: QuemaLabs
Type: Zeus theme was developed as a photography theme, but its single screen homepage can play video and its overall minimal design makes it a solid option for an indie film promotion theme.
Price: $49
Demo and Download »

Next list? You Decide!

Do you have a suggestion for the next #THEMESFOR list? Is there are a particular niche, profession or activity you would like me to cover? If so, please either send me an email, a tweet (#themesfor), a message on Facebook or leave a comment below. Thanks.

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WordPress Themes For Photographers

This is the first post in my new #THEMESFOR series, in which I handpick the best free and premium WordPress themes for use in niche-specific contexts. In this post, I take a look at the world of artistic photography.

How do some of the world’s leading photographers display their work online and which WordPress photography themes can be used to create similar portfolios?

Exploring the niche

I began my research by surveying the websites of 17 influential contemporary photographers, including:

Julie Blackmon (USA)
Nick Brandt (UK)
Edward Burtynsky (Canada)
Mitch Epstein (USA)
Franco Fontana (Italy)
Tierney Gearon (USA)
George Giorgiou (UK)
Joseph Hoflehner (Austria)

Sebastian Kim (Vietnam)
Mark Neurdenburg (UK)
Erwin Olaf (Netherlands)
Martin Parr (UK)
Terry Richardson (USA)
Hiroshi Sugimoto (Japan)
Spencer Tunick (USA)
Ellen Von Unwerth (Germany)

In reviewing these sites, I noticed 3 different homepage layouts. Each layout has a significant impact on the way the artist’s work is received.

Layout Type 1: Single Photo + Navigation Menu

This layout style is the most popular of the three. It consists of a single image, often at the centre of the page, with a simple navigation menu either in a left hand sidebar or in the header area. This type of layout uses whitespace to pull the visitor into the main photograph, mimicking the experience of a contemporary photo gallery.

Examples of artists using this layout include Terry Richardson, Martin Parr, Josef Hoflehner and Ellen Von Unwerth.

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Layout Type 2: Fullscreen Photo

This layout type removes all whitespace and immerses the visitor in the artist’s world. It is a great way of communicating a particular vision, aesthetic or theme to an audience in the blink of an eye. This approach is used by Tierney Gearon, Spencer Tunick, Mark Neurdenburg and George Giorgiou.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Layout Type 3: Thumbnail wall / Masonry

The final pattern, and one that is more rare, is the use of a full screen thumbnail wall (aka masonry layout). You can see this in use on Sebastian Kim and Franco Fontana‘s websites. This layout gives the visitor an immediate overview of the artist’s subject matter and style range.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Free WordPress Themes

Let’s start with a selection of free WordPress photography themes that emulate some of the layouts highlighted above. All of these themes can be used to set up artist portfolios with minimal effort and minimal cost.

1. Expositio

Expositio
Author: WPShower
Type: Horizontal sliding portfolio with left hand navigation menu.
Price: Free
Demo and Download »

2. Touchfolio

Simona
Author: Dmitry Semenov
Type: Horizontal scrolling portfolio with left hand navigation menu.
Price: Free
Demo and Download »

3. Silvia

Silvia
Author: ThemeJunkie
Type: Thumbnail grid layout with top level navitaion menu.
Price: Free
Demo and Download »

4. Tography (Lite)

Tography Lite
Author: Quema Labs
Type: Thumbnail grid layout with top level navitaion menu.
Price: Free (see premium version below at #11)
Demo and Download »

5. Blackoot Lite

Blackoot Lite
Author: Iceable Themes
Type: Dark background blog layout.
Price: Free
Demo and Download »

6. SKT Photo Session

SKT Photo Session
Author: SKT Themes
Type: Fullscreen photo layout with top level navigation menu.
Price: Free
Demo and Download »

7. Phogra

Phogra
Author: Andrei Serban
Type: Fullscreen photo layout with top level navigation menu.
Price: Free
Demo and Download »

8. Water Lily

Water Lily
Author: Christine Rondeau
Type: Masonry style layout with left hand navigation menu.
Price: Free
Demo and Download »

9. Snapshot

Snapshot
Author: Greg Priday
Type: Masonry style layout with top level navigation menu.
Price: Free
Demo and Download »

10. Portfolio Press

Portfolio Press
Author: Devin Price
Type: Thumbnail grid layout with top level navigation menu and right hand sidebar.
Price: Free
Demo and Download »

Premium WordPress Themes

The second part of my list contains paid or premium WordPress photography themes. All of these themes offer at least 1 year of professional support and all come with multiple layout and customisation options.

11. Tography (Premium)

Tography Premium WordPress Photography Theme
Author: QuemaLabs
Type: Horizontal scrolling front page, with grid layout for portfolio pages.
Price: $59
Demo and Download »

12. Border

Border WordPress Photography Theme Press
Author: PixelGrade
Type: Fullscreen layout with top level navigation menu.
Price: $59
Demo and Download »

13. Trend

Trend WordPress Photography Theme
Author: Peenapo
Type: Fullscreen layout with top level navigation menu. Also contains multiple layout options (horizontal scrolling, masonry grid etc.)
Price: $49
Demo and Download »

14. Malory

Malory WordPress Photography Theme
Author: Tommus Rhodus
Type: Portfolio with fullscreen slider and magazine capability.
Price: $49
Demo and Download »

15. Uno

Uno WordPress Photography Theme
Author: CodeSymbol
Type: Horizontal scrolling portfolio with top level navigation menu.
Price: $49
Demo and Download »

16. Raw

Raw WordPress Photography Theme
Author: UDTHEMES
Type: Full screen single image and masonry grid layout options with left hand navigation menu.
Price: $49
Demo and Download »

17. Photojax

Photojax WordPress Photography Theme
Author: WPExplorer
Type: Masonry grid layout with top level navigation menu.
Price: $49
Demo and Download »

18. Focus

Focus WordPress Photography Theme
Author: metrothemes
Type: Horizontal sliding layout with top level navigation menu.
Price: $49
Demo and Download »

19. Dorsey

Dorsey WordPress Photography Theme
Author: minim:l
Type: Single image layout with left hand navigation menu.
Price: $100 (includes access to 4 other themes)
Demo and Download »

20. Wright

Wright WordPress Photography Theme
Author: minim:l
Type: Fullscreen layout with top level navigation menu.
Price: $100 (includes access to 4 other themes)
Demo and Download »

21. Avamia

Avamia WordPress Photography Theme
Author: meydjer
Type: Multiple layouts. This is a very simple and visually effective theme.
Price: $49
Demo and Download »

Next list? You Decide!

Do you have a suggestion for the next #THEMESFOR list? Is there are a particular niche, profession or activity you would like me to cover? If so, please either send me an email, a tweet (#themesfor), a message on Facebook or leave a comment below. Thanks.

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20 Free WordPress Themes For Bloggers in 2017

For the past week, I spent about an hour every evening after work searching the Web for reliable free WordPress themes that I could use to launch my new blog – Curatable.net

I set up a Pinterest board to keep track of the best ones I could find.

In total, I installed 102 themes. Many simply didn’t meet my requirements for a blog theme in 2016, and among those that did, many performed poorly on mobile platforms.

Finding themes that were a) well designed, b) user friendly, c) elegant and stylish and d) fitting for a content curation blog was no mean feat.

In this post I want to share with you the 20 free WordPress blog themes that were potential candidates for my new site. In the end, I went with the Shamrock Theme by Meks and I will be posting an in-depth review of that theme shortly.

So if you’re looking to start a new content oriented blog and you’re on a budget, then take a look at this list of free WordPress themes.

1. Looki Lite Theme

Looki Lite Theme

Looki Lite is a simple and clean masonry style theme that comes with all the up-to-date WordPress features, including different post formats, customizable colors and settings, a changeable background image and a range of shortcodes.

Good for: a personal blog.

2. Sean WordPress Theme

Sean WordPress Theme

Sean is a clean yet bold design, allowing your articles and images to do the real talking. With a fully responsive layout, you can customise fonts and colours to add more impact to your site. The theme is based on the popular Bootstrap framework and is therefore fully optimized for mobile devices.

Good for: a personal blog or portfolio.

3. Silk Lite WordPress Theme

Silk Lite WordPress Theme

Silk Lite is a fashion oriented blog theme developed by PixelGrade. As its title indicates, this is a reduced option version of the company’s premium theme by the same name. The premium version is priced at $125, which for me is a little too high. The lite version is more than capable of powering a personal blog or simple magazine website.

Good for: a personal blog or a simple magazine.

4. The Vesta Lite WordPress Theme

4. The Vesta Lite WordPress Theme

Vesta lite is a minimal and clean, content-focused theme with an emphasis on simplicity and readability. I really like the layout of the front page, which is separated into sections, including a carousel with your latest blog posts, a personal intro section and a masonry blog area. The typography is also well thought through and it comes with some dedicated widgets too!

Good for: a personal blog or portfolio site or a simple magazine.

5. Diamond WordPress Theme

Diamond WordPress Theme

Diamond is a minimal magazine and blog theme arranged in a simple masonry layout. Single posts shift the layout to 3 columns with a sidebar either side of the main content. The theme is customizable and widgetized.

Good for: a personal blog or a simple magazine.

6. Riba Lite WordPress Theme

Riba Lite WordPress Theme

This is a beautifully designed minimal blog theme with an emphasis on strong visuals. It is fully responsive and works across browsers. It also supports translation.

Good for: a personal blog; a photography Blog; or a creative design company.

7. Atwood WordPress Theme

Atwood WordPress Theme

This is a clean and simple blog theme, built with solid coding on the Bootstrap framework. You can choose from hundreds of different fonts thanks to Google fonts support and you can also customize colors and widgets through the default WordPress customizer. This is a traditional blog theme that works right out of the box.

Good for: a personal blog or a simple company website.

8. The Journal Theme

Journal WordPress Theme

The Journal is a sophisticated free blog theme with all the bells and whistles of a premium theme. First of all, I just love the design aesthetic of this theme. It oozes class. It comes with separate homepage, blog and portfolio templates as well as dedicated “about” and “contact” pages. It also has built in shortcodes and offers a decent array of customization options from the main WordPress customizer. This is a fantastic theme!

Good for: a personal blog; a writer’s website.

9. Poris WordPress Theme

Poris WordPress Theme

Poris is a crisp and clean 2 column blog theme with a clear and simple layout. It comes with some nice add on features such as a dedicated contact page, shortcodes and several widgets. I love the simplicity of this theme and its use of grey and white colors. It was crafted by the guys over at ThemeWarriors.

Good for: a personal blog.

10. The Pencil WordPress Theme

Pencil WordPress Theme

Pencil is a clean and minimal blog theme that comes with 3 different homepage layouts, 4 post formats, 2 widget areas and supports a range of social media plugins making this an interesting prospect for a new blog.

Good for: a personal blog.

11. The AcmeBlog Theme

The AcmeBlog WordPress Theme

The AcmeBlog theme is a professional looking, SEO friendly theme with strong visuals and an overall “tech” feel. It is easy to customize and very lightweight.

Good for: a tech blog or simple magazine.

12. Sanremo WordPress Theme

The Sanremo WordPress Theme

Sanremo is a light and elegant theme with a user friendly backend system managed through WordPress Live Customizer. It comes with an awesome front page slider, and a bespoke social widget. It is built on top of the popular Bootstrap framework making it fully responsive.

Good for: a personal blog.

 13. The Lontano WordPress Theme

The Lontano WordPress Theme

Although this is the “lite” version of the theme, offering users fewer options than its premium cousin, I include Lontano because it still packs a good punch as a free theme. I particularly like the classic design and layout. It is very lightweight and fast loading and looks good on mobile devices too.

Good for: a personal blog.

14. The Scripted WordPress Theme

The Scripted WordPress Theme

This is a timely and elegant theme. I just love the simple use of white and gray and the excellent font work. The theme comes with a blog template and also supports the WooCommerce plugin making it easy to set up a simple online shop. Very cool looking theme.

Good for: a personal blog or portfolio site.

15. The Freedom WordPress Theme

The Freedom WordPress Theme

This is a minimal blog theme with an emphasis on visual images. The front page contains a nice slider an a two-column masonry layout. Single posts have a widgetized sidebar/ You can also customize the theme using the standard WordPress customiser.

Good for: a personal blog.

16. The Munchkin Maestro WordPress Theme

The Munchkin Maestro WordPress Theme

This is a clean and simple blog based on the popular Stargazer theme by Justin Tadlock. Munchkin is a traditional two-column blog with high contrasting tones that make it very easy to read. It comes with two top level navigation areas and some simple customization options.

Good for: a personal blog.

17. Kouki WordPress Theme

Kouki WordPress Theme

This is the first of three themes in this list by German web designer, Felix Dorner. Each of his themes are inspired by Japanese aesthetics and this particular theme is called “Kouki,” which means brilliance or brightness. It is the most minimally designed theme in the list, but I love how easy it is to navigate and use. It looks sleek and slender and works brilliantly on smartphones.

Good for: a personal blog or small art project.

18. The Kiyoshi WordPress Theme

The Kiyoshi WordPress Theme

Kiyoshi is the second theme by professional web designer, Felix Dorner. This theme is oriented towards designers and architects, offering a simple image and title based front page to showcase visual work. This is a very simple theme, but that doesn’t mean the design is simplistic. It is fully widgetized and the font work is brilliant. It also works well across all form factors.

Good for: a personal blog, a simple photography or architecture website.

19. The Yuuta WordPress Theme

The Yuuta WordPress Theme

Yuuta is a clean and free Word­Press theme de­signed to serve as a vi­sual di­ary. It is the third theme in this list by the German designer Felix Dorner. The theme supports all post for­mats making it ca­pa­ble of being a compelling mixed media blog. What I love the most about this theme is its airiness and beautiful font work. Amazing attention to detail.

Good for: a personal blog, a design agency website.

20. The Shamrock WordPress Theme

The Shamrock WordPress Theme

Last but by no means least is the great Shamrock WordPress theme by the awesome design team known as Meks. This is the theme I chose to use for this website. I am currently running a modified version of the theme. I chose it because it does several things very well. It is lightweight and has a solid code base that is easy to modify. It integrates all WordPress core functionality and works well with the Jetpack plugin. It is elegant and spacious and has very easy to read fonts. It comes with some bespoke widgets and it works well across all platforms and screen sizes. This, ladies and gentleman, was the right fit for me.

Good for: a personal blog.

Bonus. The Bundler WordPress Theme

The Bundler WordPress Theme

As a bonus entry in this list, I have added the Bundler theme. This is the “lite” version of a premium theme that was designed to run coupon style websites. While the free version still retains the ability to generate coupons, it has been paired down and repackaged as a blogging theme. The homepage supports the popular revolution slider plugin and content is laid out in grid form making this a light, bright and airy theme that works well for building collections of content.

Good for: a personal blog; a portfolio; a coupon site.

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WordPress Themes For Colleges and Universities

WordPress education themes are being used by some of the world’s top colleges and universities as cost-effective solutions to run everything from school magazines to fully fledged university portal websites. Take a look, for example, at the University of Arkansas’s website, or the University of Maine, and Georgia State University too. Beyond the US, the University of British Columbia uses WordPress to power its blogs, so too does Freie Universitat in Berlin, Germany, and the University of Melbourne, Australia.

So what options are there right now in terms of WordPress Education themes for colleges and universities? In this post, I take a look at the most recent free and premium themes, giving you an overview of current design trends and feature sets. Of course, these themes are not restricted to higher education and could just as well be used by primary and secondary schools and other types of organisations.

[wpsm_numhead num=”1″ style=”4″ heading=”2″]University WordPress Theme[/wpsm_numhead]

University Theme

This is a very simple WordPress blog theme designed to look like a standard school website. On the plus side, it is lightweight, responsive, and easy to use and setup. It comes with a front page image slider and a featured post section. There is one widgetized sidebar which appears on the homepage and on single pages. On the negative side, the theme will no doubt lack in features for those looking to run a more complex user-oriented content management system.

[wpsm_offerbox offer_linkid=”” button_link=”http://www.vivathemes.com/university-free-wordpress-theme/” button_text=”Demo and Download” price=”Price: Free” title=”University WordPress Theme” description=”What this theme lacks in features it makes up for in ease of use and elegance of design.” thumb=”http://www.vivathemes.com/wp-content/themes/viva2013/images/logo.png” ] [wpsm_numhead num=”2″ style=”4″ heading=”2″]Educate[/wpsm_numhead]

Educate Theme

This theme comes in 2 versions, a free and a paid version. The paid version gives you more modification options, include colour schemes, page layouts and different font options. The free version as it stands is very usable. Although there is no user account facility and you cannot restrict content to certain groups of users (though there are many plugins that can do this) the theme does allow you to create courses and other non-blog post content. The front page is well laid out and easy to understand.

[wpsm_offerbox offer_linkid=”” button_link=”http://fruitthemes.com/wordpress-themes/educate” button_text=”Demo and Download” price=”Price: Free” title=”Educate WordPress Theme” description=”A well designed theme with a few more options than a simple blog theme. Professional looking and simple to use.” thumb=”http://fruitthemes.com/assets/images/logo.png” ] [wpsm_numhead num=”3″ style=”4″ heading=”2″]Academica[/wpsm_numhead]

Academica Theme

The Academica WordPress theme by WPZoom is another simple but professional offering in the free theme segment. Its strong points are its clean design and three column layout with multiple widgetized areas. Its lack of image sliders and feature post sections may rule this theme out for some. As a canvas to build on, Academica sits on a clean code set and would be easy to modify.

[wpsm_offerbox offer_linkid=”” button_link=”http://www.wpzoom.com/themes/academica/” button_text=”Demo and Download” price=”Price: Free” title=”Academia WordPress Theme” description=”This is a simple 3 column blog theme with a formal, minimal educational feel. It may lack in bells and whistles, but is a good option to build on.” thumb=”http://take.ms/qJUjk” ] [wpsm_numhead num=”4″ style=”4″ heading=”2″]University Edu Theme[/wpsm_numhead]

University Edu Theme

The “University: Education, Event and Course Theme” to use its full title is a multi-purpose theme capable of running a University website portal, a course oriented e-learning website, an event based website and an online shop or business site – or a combination of all these strands. These different features function through pre-installed templates that you can activate either in the theme’s option panel or as page-based templates. The theme also integrates the buddypress plugin opening the theme up to user subscriptions and social interactivity, it also integrates BBPress, the popular WordPress forum plugin and the WooCommerce plugin giving it powerful e-commerce capabilities. Overall, this theme has an incredible array of options, which may be daunting to use at first, but once harnessed, makes this theme a real contender.

[wpsm_offerbox offer_linkid=”” button_link=”http://wpliving.net/universityedutheme” button_text=”Demo and Download” price=”Price: $59″ title=”University Edu Theme | by CactusThemes” description=”Options galore! Use the theme to run a University website, an events page, an online store or an e-learning course site.” thumb=”http://take.ms/T2Yov” ] [wpsm_numhead num=”5″ style=”4″ heading=”2″]Graduate Theme[/wpsm_numhead]

Graduate Theme

The Graduate theme does a good job of maximising the use of simple WordPress post and page functionality. It doesn’t have the bells and whistles of more recent premium themes, but its frontpage template gives the user a range of options for setting up different types of content: an image slider, text, sidebar widgets, ad spaces, image galleries and blog posts. This theme is best suited to a simple static information site rather than a cutting edge social and interactive multi-purpose site. I find the $59 price tag a little steep when compared to competitor themes in the field. The theme lacks options, and the design feels somewhat contrived. That being said, it’s accessible and easy to use.

[wpsm_offerbox offer_linkid=”” button_link=”http://wpliving.net/themes/graduate” button_text=”Demo and Download” price=”Price: $59″ title=”University WordPress Theme” description=”Limited in terms of options and design, what the Graduate theme does well is maximise WordPress post and page functionality.” thumb=”http://take.ms/uVLVO” ] [wpsm_numhead num=”6″ style=”4″ heading=”2″]University: WordPress Theme For Colleges[/wpsm_numhead]

University Theme

This theme is similar in its functionality to the Graduate Theme. It is a fairly simple and traditional WordPress blog theme designed to mimic typical University or College websites. The theme’s colour scheme is customisable. It comes with some useful pre-installed widgets such as the event and contact widgets. Overall, this is a simple theme that could get your education site up and running within minutes.

[wpsm_offerbox offer_linkid=”” button_link=”http://wpliving.net/themes/universitywordpresstheme” button_text=”Demo and Download” price=”Price: $44″ title=”University WordPress Theme | by theMOLITOR” description=”A simple theme with a well laid out design. Easy to use and modify.” thumb=”http://take.ms/kQNLK” ] [wpsm_numhead num=”7″ style=”4″ heading=”2″]Grand College[/wpsm_numhead]

Grand College Theme

The Grand College theme is an elegant theme with a decent feature set. Among the most interesting features is the course template which enables users to set up a series of courses, display them in a table with links to individual course pages and descriptions. The theme comes with a wide array of shortcodes which makes it easy to add modular content to posts. Also worth mentioning are the support tutorial videos that guide users through the theme’s different options. All in all, this is one of the more serviceable WordPress education themes available right now.

[wpsm_offerbox offer_linkid=”” button_link=”http://wpliving.net/themes/grandcollege” button_text=”Demo and Download” price=”Price: $49″ title=”Grand College WordPress Theme | by GoodLayers” description=”Simple and elegant theme with added functionality. Not the be all and end all of education themes, but a strong contender nonetheless.” thumb=”http://take.ms/AQaCc” ] [wpsm_numhead num=”8″ style=”4″ heading=”2″]Academica Pro[/wpsm_numhead]

Academica Pro Theme

The Academica Pro theme offers a classic take on the university theme genre. Its colour scheme and modular-style layout hark back to an earlier era of theme design. At the same time, it is a very capable template with some nice original touches. The built-in twitter and testimonial widgets are a welcome addition, as are the colour customizable menu and text widgets. The home page template allows you to create a portal-style website pulling content from posts, galleries and widgets to get the job done. Is the theme worth $69? Well, there are obviously cheaper alternatives, but WPZoom is a tried and tested company and their themes are trustworthy, bug-free and fully supported, so it depends what your priorities are.

[wpsm_offerbox offer_linkid=”” button_link=”http://wpliving.net/themes/academicapro” button_text=”Demo and Download” price=”Price: $69″ title=”Academica Pro WordPress Theme | by WPZoom” description=”A classic take on the University theme genre, Academica Pro presents your content in a clear and consistent layout with modular functionality.” thumb=”http://take.ms/qJUjk” ] [wpsm_numhead num=”9″ style=”4″ heading=”2″]Educampus[/wpsm_numhead]

Educampus Theme

Educampus is a contemporary portfolio style theme adapted for the education sector. The theme’s front page presents a range of different content types, from images sliders, blog posts, testimonials and more, in a scrollable and easy to access design. The theme is built on a mobile-first approach, with emphasis placed on immediate content retrieval rather than deep links. It comes with all the staple elements for an education theme, including course pages, different ways of arranging static text content and various pre-defined templates. All in all, this is a very contemporary take on this genre and comes at a competitive price.

[wpsm_offerbox offer_linkid=”” button_link=”http://wpliving.net/educampus” button_text=”Demo and Download” price=”Price: $49″ title=”Educampus WordPress Theme | by WPmines” description=”Lots of eye-candy in this design and it comes with a full feature set. Highly recommended.” thumb=”http://wpliving.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/wpmines.png” ] [wpsm_numhead num=”10″ style=”4″ heading=”2″]Xscholar[/wpsm_numhead]

Xscholar Theme

This is probably my favourite theme in this selection due to the fact that it can handle so many different variations on the education genre. It comes pre-installed with over 10 different home page layouts. It can run online courses with user registration capability. It can run events and forums. This really is a fully-fledged CMS theme delivered in a beautiful contemporary design. It is mobile and tablet friendly and should be one of the contenders on any theme shortlist. Go take a look at it in action.

[wpsm_offerbox offer_linkid=”” button_link=”http://wpliving.net/xscholar” button_text=”Demo and Download” price=”Price: $59″ title=”Xscholar WordPress Theme | by SpaceX” description=”Beautiful designed theme that can handle online courses, events and more. One of my favourites by far.” thumb=”http://wpliving.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/spacex.png” ]

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10 Great Horizontal WordPress themes for 2015

In doing some research for this post, it has become clear to me that horizontal WordPress themes have been growing steadily in popularity over the past few years. I first began listing horizontal themes in 2012 and posted an update in 2013. At that time I noted how the sideways form factor was still a niche category in WordPress theme design. That’s still generally the case, but the widespread use of mobile devices – smartphones and tablets – has made horizontal themes that much more usable and therefore desirable.

It’s been interesting to me to look back at 2012/13 and see just how far the usability side of these themes has come. The themes listed below excel at ease of navigation; at providing seamless transitions between different types of content (blog, portfolio, pages etc.); and at presenting visual content in a compelling way.

My overall feeling is that horizontal themes in 2015 have finally come of age. They are most suited to websites that want to put visuals first: architects, designers, artists and so on. The only real caveat to all this, is that there’s a distinct lack of free horizontal themes – just 3 here worthy of mention.

// Free Themes

 

1. Boardwalk

Boardwalk was designed by Automattic, the company behind the WordPress platform. The one thing this theme does well is to translate the traditional top-to-bottom blog “stream” into a horizontal layout. The homepage gets you straight into the blog content. The posts are displayed in concertina style with a clear emphasis on images, while the post titles are easy to read and the post dates give you that important sense of time. On the minus side, once you click on individual posts, navigating around the theme seems more difficult than it should be. It would have been nice to have a top layer menu or some breadrcumbs to jump between home page and single page view. It would also have been nice to make the text more accessible – balancing text and images 50/50.

Author: Automattic / Type: Blog / Demo & Download →

 

2. Portra

Now this is just a brilliant portfolio theme! The first thing I love about Portra is that it takes less than a few seconds to figure out what’s on offer. When you land on the front page, you are immersed in the content. Switching between portfolios is a breeze with the top layer navigation bar and transitions are smooth thanks to some nifty jquery action. On individual portfolio pages, I love the option of adding some contextual information about the collection, before you get into browsing the images. The only downside to this theme is that it doesn’t come with a blog. But if you’re an artist or designer looking for a cost-effective way of showcasing your work, then this theme is definitely worth considering.

Author: Wpshower / Type: Portfolio / Demo & Download →

 

3. Samarcanda

Samarcanda, get its name from the ancient Uzbek city of Samarkand; though it’s hard to see quite what the relevance of that connection is. On the surface, the Samarcanda theme seems to offer a wide range of options. You can configure 7 different home page styles, display portfolio and blog posts, testimonials and quotations, and different image sliders. When you probe a little further however, it becomes clear that the theme is based on a single design element: a center-positioned scrollable carousel superimposed on a background graphic. My overall feeling is that the content could do with a bolder, perhaps larger presence. [Note: If you can’t get the demo to work, try cancelling the top navigation bar]

Author: YiThemes / Type: Portfolio and Blog / Demo & Download →

// Premium Themes

 

4. Magpie

The Magpie theme is a minimal theme targeted at photographers. In many ways it feels like a more sophisticated and polished version of the Boardwalk theme above. Magpie is not restricted to a horizontal layout. Its portfolio pages can be configured to masonry, case study and vertical pop-up layouts. It also offers an interesting “split-page” configuration option on traditional pages. I also like the inclusion of a client-only password accessible area. This makes it an interesting theme for professional photo companies looking for a front and backend content management solution at a very reasonable price.

Author: Theme Village / Type: Portfolio / Price: $49 / Demo & Download →

 

5. Camilla

Camilla is an elegant photography-oriented theme by the developers of Magpie. What this theme does particularly well is to create a seamless visual experience for the user moving from the full-page home layout, to the concertina-style portfolio page and onto the vertical-scrolling blog section. Each part works in communication with the others to create a visually cohesive theme. It comes with 2 main colour variants: Dark and Red. All in all, a solid solution for a commercial type agency.

Author: Theme Village / Type: Portfolio / Price: $49 / Demo & Download →

6. Talent

Talent is the 3rd theme by the two-person team known as “Theme Village.” Like the two before it, Talent is also aimed at photographers, though it could just as well be used by designers and artists or anyone looking to showcase visual material. What I like most about Talent are the atmospherics. This has a lot to do with the choice of demo content, but it’s also a result of design choices: from the home page slider to the portofolio carousel, the theme’s dark background helps give the photos a dramatic feel. One thing I would like to see with this theme is the addition of a top-layer menu bar. That would help make site navigation a tiny bit easier. All in all, these are 3 interesting themes by two designers with a clear command of horizontal form.

Author: Theme Village / Type: Portfolio & Blog / Price: $49 / Demo & Download →

7. Acid

Acid is the 4th and final theme by Theme Village, and in my mind the cream of the crop. It comes in three main colour schemes: dark, retro and bright. Each scheme has its own unique feel. The dark variant is moody and subdued and makes the portfolio and blog sections most suited to a fashion type set up. In contrast the retro and bright variants are really playful opening the theme up to young design agencies. The theme does a great job of organising and presenting content in an interactive way. This is definitely one of my favourites.

Author: Theme Village / Type: Blog & Portfolio / Price: $49 / Demo & Download →

8. Horizillax

Despite its slightly awkward name, Horizillax is a really catchy and fun theme, bursting with energy and colour. It’s one of the few horizontal sliding parallax themes available at the moment. If you don’t know what the “parallax” effect is, in simple terms it’s an optical phenomenon whereby when the viewpoint moves side to side, the objects in the distance appear to move more slowly than the objects close to the viewer. What the effect does is make the content feel “animated.” This theme uses that animation effect to its full potential, playing with 2D graphics based on traditional Indian Kathakali theatre motifs. It comes with all the staples of a WordPress portfolio theme and also allows you full control over the parallax visual content. That being said, I’m not sure how easy it would be to replace the Kathakali imagery with material of your own and achieve the same sense of visual wonder. In any case, this is really fun and refreshing theme, well worth a look!

Author: Productive Themes / Type: Portfolio / Price: $49 / Demo & Download →

9. Regolith

The Regolith theme is a business oriented portfolio theme. The demo content is setup as a real estate or travel agency type business. The front page layout brings the theme’s main elements together into a series of windows including an intro message, about sections, portfolio and blog entries. Single pages work in vertical fashion and are set against a grey background with a strong corporate visual motif. This theme would be a great option for a company website.

Author: Planetshine / Type: Portfolio / Price: $49 / Demo & Download →

10. Reversal

Reversal is a one-page side-to-side theme with a minimal approach to its design aesthetic. It’s easy to scroll through the different elements of the theme. The blog laid out in traditional vertical style. This theme would be a great option for an individual portfolio/resume type website. It is uncluttered and light, making it a fast-loading theme.

Author: Bit Fade / Type: Blog & Portfolio / Price: $44 / Demo & Download →

11. Idol

Idol is a minimal theme focused on media. I love the font work with this theme, the way text is elegantly superimposed on subdued background images. This theme has a real air of sophistication about it. It comes with 3 different homepage layouts, a gallery, portfolio, blog and shop templates and it all operates smoothly thanks to some neat javascript work. All in all, an elegant and evocative theme.

Author: mountainthemes / Type: Blog & Portfolio / Price: $49 (includes Genesis Framework) / Demo & Download →

12. Modern Magazine

The Modern Magazine theme is, as its title suggests, a theme targeted at web publishing, particularly suited to online magazines, journals, newspapers or blogs. This horizontal scrolling magazine theme does a great job of presenting mixed media content in an easy to use, well balanced design. One of the best things about this theme is its gallery template which organizes your site’s photos in a neat masonry style block layout set against a dark background. This feature would work particularly well for a photography magazine or a photo-intensive publication. All in all, this is a refreshing take on the WordPress magazine theme category.

Author: Kluska / Type: Magazine / Price: $49 / Demo & Download →

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10 More Stunning Horizontal Scrolling WordPress Themes

A while back, I released a small collection of horizontal scrolling WordPress themes which became quite popular. I remember thinking at the time that nobody would really care about horizontal themes, since they’re often perceived as just a gimmick in the WordPress theme world. Actually, it turns out that there is a good deal of interest in this unusual form factor.

Since that post, I have kept track of new horizontal theme releases and here is a list of newcomers to the field. The more I look into this form factor, the more it is clear to me that it fits our world of smartphones and tablets. The first tablet I ever purchased was a Google Nexus 7. I’m still using it today and I love it. One thing I’ve noticed is that it has changed the way I look at WordPress theme design.

The first “test” I run on any new WordPress theme that catches my attention is to see how it performs on my tablet. By “perform”, I mean what sort of “experience” does it provide? The second test is to see how it performs on my iPhone and the same criteria applies. Finally, I check the theme out on my laptop. If the theme responds well across all 3 platforms, I put it on my “themes for future projects” list.

Many of the horizontal scrolling WordPress themes below are part of that list. Take a look for yourself. Keep an open mind and let me know what you think about the whole horizontal form factor in the comments section below.

1. Camilla

Camilla - a Horizontal Scrolling WordPress Theme

Camilla is one of my favourite horizontal scrolling WordPress themes. Designed with photographers, graphic designers and anyone who works with images in mind, the theme offers 3 different colour schemes (light, dark and red), a portfolio section, a bespoke resume template, a blog section and contact form. A lot of work has gone into the user experience of this theme. For example, New visitors are met with a small popup explanation of how to scroll and use the theme. Transitions between sections are smooth and easy to navigate. The portfolio, about, and blog pages work vertically to give users extra space to play with. All in all, this is a very professional looking theme with a solid feature set and good usability.

Author: ThemeVillage / Type: Portfolio & Blog / Price: $49 / Demo & Download →

2. Fluxus

The Fluxus WordPress theme is one of my favourite “minimalist” portfolio designs. The homepage presents visitors with an immersive fullscreen image slider. If you jump to the portfolio template, the core part of this design, you can choose between a horizontal layout or a typical vertical grid layout. You have the best of both worlds in that sense. The blog template is also horizontal scrolling and the image sizes and layout are smaller than the portfolio template. This is key to differentiating between different types of site content. You can also choose between “light” and “dark” versions of the theme and of course, as you’d expect, the design is responsive and works well on all form factors. All in all, this is a super clean theme that puts the emphasis on your content in a professional and classy way.

Author: InTheme / Type: Portfolio & Blog / Price: $49 / Demo & Download →

3. Slider

Slider horizontal scrolling WordPress theme

Slider is a beautiful, photography oriented horizontal scrolling portfolio theme by the New York based WordPress developers, Graph Press Paper. Right off the bat, I love the way content is framed in “polaroid” style, giving each image on the front page a space and look of its own. This theme is really focused on its presentation of images and I could see this working well for artists and designers. The theme supports the Google font library which means you can select from over 40 different font faces and change the look and readability of the theme. Another neat feature is the gallery template, which allows you to present multiple images in a single post. The layout of images and text really blends well together. Finally, I also appreciated the double layer of navigation for laptop or desktop computer users. While horizontal themes lend themselves well to touchscreen mobile devices, navigation can still be somewhat cumbersome on traditional PCs. This theme addresses that issues by adding extra layers of navigation. All in all, this is one of my favourite themes.

Author: Graph Press Paper / Type: Portfolio / Price: Free / Pro $99 / Demo & Download →

4. Highlight

The Highlight theme, by another New York based designer Shaken & Stirred Themes, is a minimal, responsive, horizontal scrolling portfolio and blog that comes in “light” and “dark” colour schemes. The portfolio template is horizontal scrolling while the blog template is laid out in traditional vertical style. So you get the best of both worlds with this theme. The portfolio is very simple; no frills, just a string of images lined up side by side with no space for text, which to me is a bit of a shame. The blog template is straightforward and presents content in a single stream with a left-hand sidebar.

Author: Shaken & Stirred / Type: Portfolio & Blog / Price: $40 / Demo & Download →

5. Core

The Core Minimalist WordPress theme is another minimalist portfolio theme targeting photographers or anyone looking to showcase graphic intensive collections. The front page gallery, along with the main portfolio template are horizontal sliding. The author has added a wealth of layout options including vertical grid based layouts with 2 or 3 columns for an alternative approach to portfolio content organisation. One of the key presentation features of this theme is the “mirror” effect added to images. Each image in the theme’s slider has a faded mirror double displayed beneath. This creates a slick feel to the whole design. The theme is feature-rich and comes with an array of templates and configuration options. For more info, check out the presentation page.

Author: Peerapong / Type: Portfolio / Price: $49 / Demo & Download →

6. Modern Metro

As its title indicates, this theme is inspired by the Windows 8 operating system design, known for its primary colour tile based layout. Like the Windows 8 welcome screen, the Modern Metro theme houses all your content in small sections on the theme’s front page. From left to right you can arrange the elements to include your latest blog posts, then portfolio entries, contact and general info and you can even generate visual info-graphics with the metro chart system. The theme’s comprehensive admin panel allows you to manipulate colour schemes and you can set background images on posts and pages.

Author: Kluska / Type: Blog & Portfolio / Price: $44 / Demo & Download →

7. HWP

The HWP theme by Greg Ponchak – a devotee to WordPress horizontal scrolling themes – is easily the most minimally designed theme in this selection. It doesn’t get much more simple than this. A clean white background, an image front and centre, and a few controls around the outside. This theme is really an image slider with the ability to overlay text and setup some WordPress pages. It is the sort of theme that could be used for a single collection of images. I could well imagine setting up a WordPress network and using this theme to run several different photo collections. If you’re looking for something to display tons of data then this is obviously not for you. If you want to showcase your artwork though, this could well be a candidate.

Author: Greg Ponchak / Type: Blog & Portfolio / Price: $40 / Demo & Download →

8. SimpleSlider

I hesitated to add this theme to the list, since only the front page slider is horizontal scrolling, but since it’s such a dominant part of the theme’s overall design, it seemed worthy of a mention. Furthermore, I think “hybrid” themes are the way forward. Simpleslider shows off your portfolio entries in its elegant front page slider, which serves as a springboard into the site’s main content. The theme is clean and airy, perhaps with a little too much whitespace at times, particularly on the vertical scrolling pages between the main content and sidebar areas. I think the overall weighting and proportions of elements in this theme could do with a little more fine tuning. That being said, I think the theme lives up to its name. It’s slider is great and it certainly is simple to use and navigate.

Author: Dessign.net / Type: Blog & Portfolio / Price: $39 / Demo & Download →

9. Magpie Theme

The Magpie Horizontal Scrolling WordPress Theme

Number 9 in this list is a theme is called Magpie. It is a beautifully crafted, responsive and horizontal scrolling theme. One of its key features is the ability to add custom background images to blog posts and pages. The post content sits on top of the image over an opaque overlay. You can navigate from one post to the next via clearly defined scrolling arrows, which maintain the sideways momentum of the theme. The theme comes with 6 different colour schemes and a range of built-in templates including a blog, an archives page, a contact page and more.

Author: ThemeVillage / Type: Blog & Portfolio / Price: $49 / Demo & Download →

10. Diablo Theme

At number 10 is the all new Diablo Theme. This theme has been reworked into a beautifully executed horizontal grid layout. You can play with the way post entry thumbnail images appear, either using a rollover effect or displaying the post title and metadata directly. Single posts are also well laid out and easy to use. The added left-right navigation buttons on single posts makes it easier to go through site content. The theme comes with several core colour schemes including light and dark variants and the blog has a range of different template styles from horizontal to metro style. All in all, this is a welcome addition to the horizontal theme world.

Author: CosmoThemes / Type: Blog & Portfolio / Price: $49 / Demo & Download →

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10 Stunning Horizontal Scrolling WordPress Themes

I’ve written and spoken quite a bit about horizontal scrolling WordPress themes on this blog, mostly in relation to the work of one of my favourite theme developers, Greg Ponchak. You can see my take on his work in this video here in case you missed. And while I’m on the matter, I can announce that I’ll be reviewing one of his latest themes soon and showing you how you might use it to create a simple art project. Exciting stuff on the horizon!

Anyway, back to this post. It seems to me that the horizontal scrolling theme category has never really been taken seriously simply because our experience of the web is still dominated by a top-down layout of content. Consequently, horizontal themes tend to be seen as ultra-niche, a novelty that often inspires wonder, but doesn’t really convert into large sales figures. Well I think that’s about to change.

Why? Portable devices are changing the way we access and experience web content. Tablets for example, support landscape and portrait views and their touchscreen capabilities make horizontal navigation just as easy as vertical. In addition, people use tablets for a different experience of the web. They want to be immersed in the content. They don’t want to do complex data retrieval manipulations that your keyboard and mouse allow you to do. So video, photos and audio are really coming of age with tablet culture. For these reasons, I see a serious future for horizontal scrolling WordPress themes.

So I decided to bring together a collection of the ten best horizontal scrolling WordPress themes for 2012 in the hope that it might sway a few more heads in the direction of this neglected form factor and get people thinking outside the box in terms of web and content design. So without further ado, here’s my list. It’s not in any order of preference by the way, just a free form list. Enjoy!

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Horizontal WordPress themes for artists

Check out my collection of 10 stunning horizontal sliding WordPress themes for 2015

In this video I take a look at some clean, horizontal WordPress themes suitable for housing a collection of artistic images that might be part of a catalogue or portfolio.

I’ve spoken before about the distinct lack of WordPress themes oriented towards artists and these themes offer an interesting solution to anyone looking for a simple blank canvas to house their artwork.

The horizontal format is usually not a practical option for content heavy websites, but for a focused series of photographs with textual inserts, these themes work well. The horizontal effect emulates something of the experience of viewing a gallery or an exhibition.

Moreover, scrolling horizontally is a lot less problematic in a world increasingly moving towards tablet devices (note the announcement of Microsoft’s Surface today) for which touch-sensitive navigation is an integral part.

The themes were developed by horizontalwp.com, they are all premium themes, but the price tag of $40 seems reasonable enough to me. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

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