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If you haven’t updated your theme this past year – or in even in recent years, gasp! – it’s probably about time you reviewed your site, checked out the current trends, and thought about how your design could be better.

Because great designs aren’t just about flashy animations. With a well-thought out design, you not only grab your visitors’ attention, but you have better show at increasing your conversions and improving your SEO.

So to get you started here’s my round-up of the best freemium and premium themes of this year, all of which feature fresh designs, follow the latest trends, and also take into account classic functionality, like responsiveness and compatibility across desktop and mobile devices.

Some themes are demos, which are one of a few fixed layout options for a particular theme, while others are more flexible and built on a theme framework.

Without further ado, let’s take a look.

  • Parrot

    parrot2

    Parrot is a professional theme built on our Upfront theme framework. It’s infinitely customizable in Upfront’s visual drag and drop editor. It’s also easy to use and you can see exactly what you’re building as you drop page parts onto your site from text and forms to sliders, parallax and tons more.

    Interested in Parrot?

  • Scribe

    Scribe, Upfront theme

    This theme is best suited for artisans or anyone who needs a portfolio with a color scheme and typography that exudes creativity, skill and professionalism. You can also drag and drop your way to the exact theme design and content you need with our Upfront visual editor.

    Interested in Scribe?

  • Panino

    Panino Upfront theme

    Panino is a stunning one-page theme with smooth transitions for restaurants, small business or professionals who need to post their résumé online. You can also customize it to your most strict of needs with our Upfront visual, drag and drop editor.

    Interested in Panino?

  • Spirit

    Spirit Upfront theme

    The Spirit theme is best suited for businesses centered around lifestyle and well-being or anyone who needs a design that matches their premium and exclusive content. You can also tailor this theme to your most exacting requirements with Upfront.

    Interested in Spirit?

  • Luke + Sara

    lukesara

    Luke + Sara places your images front and center making your work or story shine. Whether you’re a professional photographer or blogger, this theme won’t let your photos shy away from the spotlight. It also comes with well-crafted selling features such as pricing tables and can be infinitely customized with our Upfront visual theme framework.

    Interested in Luke + Sara?

  • Fixer

    Fixer

    Fixer delivers a crisp, flat design with vivid colors that’s currently on trend. You should have no problems standing out and setting your site apart from all the rest. You can also easily change anything you want from the teeniest detail to the entire design with its bundled Upfront visual theme framework.

    Interested in Fixer?

  • Agency

    Agency, Avada theme

    The Agency theme provides the same kind of professional features you would hope to see in a business theme, though, the design and layout are unique and modern. Instead of the typical horizontal navigation at the top of the page, this theme has a stationary vertical menu that keeps important links handy at all times. It also has many customization options available.

    Interested in Agency?

  • Renew 2

    Renew 2, an X-The Theme theme

    Renew 2 is one of the many themes bundled with X-The Theme. It features a largely flat design with its bold typography and 2-D images but also includes animations in certain areas to keep things lively. If you want a theme that’s more trendy, this is a great theme to consider.

    Interested in Renew 2?

  • Enfold

    Enfold theme

    Enfold has many demos you can import in a couple clicks including the Startup Business demo. It features bold colors, sticky navigation and parallax to create a cohesive design.

    Interested in Enfold?

  • BeArt

    BeArt, Be theme

    The BeArt theme has page sections stacked on top of one another and each of them sports a bright and bold background with complementing pops of color coming from the content. It creates a fun and artful design for anyone who needs a site that stands out and reflects their creativity.

    Interested in BeArt?

  • Opitulus

    Opitulus, Jupiter theme

    Opitulus has a single color background that’s carried on throughout the home page and site. White text is displayed to contrast the choice of background and it successfully unifies all the content on the page. It’s an old design choice that has been given new life and a modern twist.

    Interested in Opitulus?

  • Chequered Blog

    Chequered Blog, Bridge theme

    Chequered Blog offers a lot of opportunities to prominently display images as well as text with its grid layout. This kind of layout also helps keep visitors engaged since there’s a lot to look at and click while also letting you showcase multiple items. It’s a suitable and trending way to replace image sliders.

    Interested in Chequered Blog?

  • Newspaper

    Newspaper theme

    Speaking of sliders, many news themes feature them at the top in order to display the most popular stories, but since sliders don’t work, many designs are using a grid layout instead, like the Newspaper theme. With this design, posts are more click-worthy and prominently displayed, especially with the colorful category headers that are included.

    Interested in Newspaper?

  • Portfolio Metro

    Portfolio Metro, Uncode theme

    Uncode offers a unique approach to eye-catching design with its white background and large, striking black text that draws in your focus at the top of the page. Most themes feature a full-width image, video or colorful background above the fold, but this theme doesn’t and yet it works. What follows is a grid layout without padding for a striking design with needed pops of color that complete the look.

    Interested in Portfolio Metro?

  • Flatsome

    Flatsome theme

    Flatsome is an eCommerce theme featuring an image slider for those who are keen to include one on their site in order to display many of their products. It also has many ways to display products from large to small thumbnail images.

    Interested in Flatsome?

  • Salient Blog

    Salient theme

    The Salient theme includes quite a few demo layouts including their Blog layout. It has full-width featured images and a trending masonry grid without padding to display all the featured images for your posts on the home page.

    Interested in Salient Blog?

  • The7 Photography

    Photography, The7 theme

    The theme features a full-page image slider and thumbnail images of all the items in the slider’s queue which isn’t typical, but makes for a more user-friendly experience. It’s a great theme for photographers or anyone who needs to place images front and center on their site.

    Interested in The7 Photography?

  • Impreza Agency

    Impreza theme

    The Agency demo of the Impreza theme has a full-width video background that angles at the bottom to form an arrow, beckoning visitors to scroll down and view the rest of the page. You can also display your portfolio in a popular grid format without padding.

    Interested in Impreza Agency?

  • Kalium Agency

    Kalium theme

    The Agency demo for the Kalium theme features a soft gray background and typewriter-style typography as well as a masonry grid for displaying your portfolio. Your text also takes the spotlight at the top of the front page to showcase your message in an eye-catching way. These style choices combine old school with new school for an overall contemporary design.

    Interested in Kalium Agency?

  • Flat

    Flat, Total theme

    This theme has a mostly flat design save for a few small animations. It can also display posts and portfolio items in a grid and comes with an image slider. It’s a great fit for personal or business use and for those who need a theme that has a trendy design with some added flair.

    Interested in Flat?

  • V24 Photography

    Photography, Oshine theme

    The V24 Photography theme places all the focus on your images with a simple and uncluttered gallery as the front page and a thin vertical mobile menu on the left. It’s a great option for photographers or anyone who needs to showcase their images. It also includes the Oshine page builder to customize the design to fit your needs.

    Interested in V24 Photography?

  • Aesthetic

    Aesthetic theme

    Aesthetic displays posts and featured images prominently with large, easy-to-read typography and an uncluttered design. The main component of the layout is your posts so they have a better chance catching your visitors’ eye.

    Interested in Aesthetic?

  • SocialMe

    SocialMe theme

    This theme is great for blogging, but it’s specifically designed for a social media type of site. It has a flat design with many bursts of color and noticeably displays important elements such as profile information, avatars, posts and login details. It’s also suitable for a Facebook-style post feed.

    Interested in SocialMe?

  • NewsPaper

    NewsPaper theme

    NewsPaper uses a masonry grid to display featured posts at the top of the front page as well as a grid with large thumbnails for posts when you scroll down the page. It displays posts cleanly and shows category tags alongside excerpts which are colorful to add personality to the design.

    Interested in NewsPaper?

  • Charlotte

    Charlotte theme

    Charlotte is an excellent theme for personal blogs and has a style that is on point and congruent with the most popular blogs. It includes large featured images, a right sidebar to display a large avatar, information about the blogger and social media icons.

    Interested in Charlotte?

  • Frank

    Frank theme

    This theme has a minimalist and flat design approach. Colorful thumbnails in a grid layout offer pops of needed color on an otherwise blank canvas. It lets your content shine rather than placing focus on page elements that don’t otherwise add much or engage visitors.

    Interested in Frank?

  • Twotone

    Twotone theme

    Twotone is a must-see theme for musicians. It has a full-page image with a minimalist music player and call to action on the front page. When you scroll down, information about the artist, album, tour dates and other relevant news can be displayed in a two or three column layout.

    Interested in Twotone?

  • Marquee

    Marquee theme

    Marquee is another theme designed specifically for musicians that splits the page into two parts: the left side displays a fixed image with a music player and text overlay while the right side includes the scrollable page content. It’s a clever way to keep the focus on the musician and their music while still being able to offer up content at the same time.

    Interested in Marquee?

  • Obsidian

    Obsidian theme

    Obsidian is yet another theme aimed at musicians and features a full-page fixed background image which the site’s content scrolls over. It also has a fixed horizontal menu at the top of the page and a music player at the bottom.

    Interested in Obsidian?

  • Encore

    Encore theme

    Encore’s homepage is setup to display a title, an avatar and a music player. There’s a navigation menu at the top of the page that doesn’t disrupt the music player in that the song continues where you left off when you click through to another page, though, there is a short pause until the page fully loads.

    Interested in Encore?

  • Constructzine

    Constructzine theme

    At the top of the Constructzine theme, there is a contact form and horizontal menu overlay on top of a full-page background image. This is a great option to consider for any business where you want potential clients to request a quote. Since you can customize this theme, it could even be suitable for YouTube and other online creators who want their viewers to engage with them and offer topic suggestions.

    Interested in Constructzine?

  • Story

    Story theme

    The Product Style Full-Width Page demo of the Story theme is inspired by flat design with its lighter background color above the fold and bold color accents. It also includes an image slider which is more accessible than most other sliders out there.

    Interested in Story?

  • Creativity

    Creativity theme

    Creativity doesn’t display its navigation menu or other page elements until you begin scrolling. This effectively places all the attention on the full-page slider and its images or bold background colors as well as the text overlay.

    Interested in Creativity?

  • Parasponsive

    Parasponsive theme

    Parasponsive features a full-page image slider and creative design accents. Some of the background sections are angled creating an innovative and sleek design, much like the accents of a certain blog post you’re reading at the moment.

    Interested in Parasponsive?

  • Zinc

    Zinc theme

    Zinc is a creative and bold theme for agencies, developers, designers and professionals. It’s fixed vertical navigation on the left ensures important links are continuously in reach while offering a fresh and eye-catching style. It also includes subtle animations that further accent its mix of warm and dark colors.

    Interested in Zinc?

  • Zillacommerce

    Hype theme

    The Zillacommerce demo of the Hype theme creates a sense of comfort with its warm and soft closely knit set of colors that are carried throughout each page. While it lacks the bright and contrasting pops of color most of the other themes have, it creates a sense of cohesiveness and calm that can be passed on to the visitor.

    Interested in Zillacommerce?

  • Archi Side Navigation

    Archi theme

    This is another theme listed here that has a fixed vertical menu on the left. Similar to the Zillacommerce theme above, it has a single main color that’s carried throughout the theme to create a uniform look, although, the bright yellow color begs to be noticed by visitors and creates a sense of urgency.

    Interested in Archi Side Navigation?

  • Empathy

    Empathy theme

    Empathy sets itself apart from other themes because its vertical navigation is narrow and includes icons as well as text. What’s particularly interesting about Empathy is that it’s actually a one-page theme even though it may not appear to be right away. When a menu item is clicked the content smoothly scrolls to the next section.

    Interested in Empathy?

  • Minimal

    Minimal, Mo theme

    The Minimal demo of the Mo theme certainly earns its title with an uncluttered layout, soft color palette and rounded sans-serif typography. It’s a versatile theme that can be used as a portfolio, eCommerce store or for a personal or business blog.

    Interested in Minimal?

  • Photolog

    Photolog theme

    The Photolog theme has a simple, yet striking layout that balances images and text so they’re both showcased well. Half the screen is reserved for a post’s featured image and the other half displays the post itself. Each post that’s displayed reverses the image and text so readers are drawn from side to side gradually in a pleasant way that keeps you engaged.

    Interested in Photolog?

  • Expo

    Expo theme

    Expo provides an unexpected user experience that’s best suited for those who need a creative portfolio. When you land on the main page, you’re prompted to click a button to enter the site which has a full-page background image. When you click through, instead of being met with a standard page, a large carousel appears that you can manually scroll through from left to right.

    Interested in Expo?

  • Full Frame

    Full Frame theme

    This theme features images like no other which makes it a great choice for portfolios or photographers. It displays full-page images, one directly after another, as you scroll down the page for a rich viewing experience. It includes the ability to add a text overlay as well.

    Interested in Full Frame?

  • Awesome

    Awesome theme

    Awesome is a blogging theme that displays large featured images and has typography that’s easy to read. It also has an interesting, narrow and vertical navigation menu that initially displays only icons until you hover over it to show text links.

    Interested in Awesome?

  • Finder

    Finder theme

    If you prefer a contained layout rather than a full-width design, Finder is a suitable contender that displays large featured images without padding so they line up perfectly. Featured images are also displayed on the front page without text so your photos can speak for themselves until a visitor clicks on them to reveal the full post.

    Interested in Finder?

  • Perle

    Perle theme

    Perle has a simple and elegant layout that’s reflected in the graceful typography, crisp, white background and slow animations when feature images appear on the page as they scroll into view. It’s best suited for bloggers or for portfolios.

    Interested in Perle?

  • Oren

    Oren theme

    Oren is a theme for photographers. It has a full-width image with a text overlay to introduce yourself and a grid layout for image posts that’s displayed tightly on the front page. It creates a wall-to-wall view of all your photos that stimulates the eyes and draws them in close.

    Interested in Oren?

  • Extra

    Extra, Divi theme

    The Extra theme incorporates many elements of a flat design, but doesn’t compromise when it comes to animations, sliders, carousels and a grid-style layout to display categories in a way that can display all your posts without needing infinite scrolling. If these features are important to you, then this theme may be for you.

    Interested in Extra?

  • Aspire Pro

    Aspire Pro theme

    If you’re searching for a theme that has a blend of contemporary flair and the classic page elements geared toward marketing, the Aspire Pro theme may be exactly what you need. It has features such as a clear and colorful call to action paired with a full-page image at the top and the ability to inspire trust through displaying logos of your clients’ businesses.

    Interested in Aspire Pro?

  • Altitude

    Altitude theme

    Altitude has several full-page parallax sections which are striking when displayed in between short page sections with quick bursts of information. You can also show text overlays for the parallax-powered images that draw your eyes in. It can be a great theme for anyone looking to make a big first impression.

    Interested in Altitude?

  • Parallax Pro

    Parallax Pro theme

    Parallax Pro is similar to the Altitude theme above with its full-page parallax images, but what this theme has that Altitude doesn’t are page sections and accents with bright colors that seem to further demand attention.

    Interested in Parallax Pro?

  • Kallyas

    Kallyas theme

    Kallyas is an eCommerce theme that doesn’t shy away from animations and colors. There’s also ample opportunities to display posts, ads and calls to action.

    Interested in Kallyas?

  • Zero

    Zero theme

    Zero is a blogging or photography theme has a serious focus on images. The logo and menu are small in size, but the typography is sans-serif and large and when you click on a header, the post dynamically appears. The demo has a flat style solely because of its images which means you can upload your content and let your images set the style and tone of your site and its design.

    Interested in Zero?

  • Chillout

    Chillout theme

    Chillout is a versatile theme that can be used for many purposes since it has a modern color scheme of shades along with a masonry-style grid for displaying posts, products or portfolio items on the front page. It also has a few animations which help keep things interesting without being overstimulating.

    Interested in Chillout?

  • Alona

    Alona theme

    Alona is a theme to consider for anyone who needs to position themselves or their business and communicate creativity through their design. It’s full-page image and grid layouts have a clever white border around them which echoes the message and style of your images.

    Interested in Alona?

  • Sleek

    Sleek theme

    Sleek is big on content with its masonry grid layout for displaying posts without padding following the latest trend and includes infinite scrolling. It also has a vertical menu on the left and a sidebar on the right to display links and profile information for a twist on a classic layout.

    Interested in Sleek?

  • JustWrite Pro

    JustWrite Pro theme

    JustWrite Pro is a newspaper theme that’s different from others in this category since its content spans the entire window rather than being contained to the center of the page. It’s also equipped to handle an eCommerce site. It has many pops of color which adds drama to an otherwise low-profile black and white background.

    Interested in JustWrite Pro?

Wrapping Up

No matter which theme you choose from this list, you can be sure your site won’t look out-of-date. Even if these themes aren’t quite right, many of them are highly customizable so you can achieve the exact design you need.

Alternatively, you can draw inspiration from these trendy themes and customize your way to building your vision with our Upfront theme framework.

View @ WPMU DEV

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