By vandelay in All on Date 05/04/2008

Resources for New WordPress Theme Designers

One of the reasons that WordPress is the most popular blogging platform today is because there are so many resources for users and for designers/developers.

One of the reasons that WordPress is the most popular blogging platform today is because there are so many resources for users and for designers/developers. As a user, there are thousands of free themes to choose from, and plugins to do just about anything you can image. As a designer, there is an abundance of documentation that will allow anyone with some HTML and CSS knowledge to get busy customizing their own themes, and even building themes from scratch if they like.

Some of the resources for WordPress theme developers are from the people at WordPress, and others are from users like you and me. Together, all of these resources result in a truly amazing community that makes just about anything possible.

In this post I'd like to take a look at a number of resources that should be very helpful to new theme designers. If you're a more advance theme designer, some of these resources may help you and some may not. But for those who are looking to get more involved in WordPress theme development and want to do some research on their own, these resources are invaluable.

The WordPress Codex

At you'll find a wealth of information that has been compiled by the knowledgeable and helpful WordPress community. Almost any topic you could think of has an article. Some cover the basics of using WP as a blogging platform or CMS, and other focus on developing and customizing themes.

Here are some of the articles from the codex that I think all newish theme designers and developers should read.

Using Themes - Before you can design and develop effective themes, you need to have a solid understanding of how the theme system works. This article gets started with basics of explaining exactly what a WordPress theme is and how it works, how to add new themes and where to find them, and even gets into the basics of creating themes.

The Loop - The loop is really the heart and soul of WordPress. It has so much ability and without it functioning properly your theme is basically dead. Getting an understanding of the loop is one of the first things you need to tackle as a theme developer. This article will help, although it could be a bit more up-to-date.

Templates - WordPress websites and blogs use a variety of templates that interact with the database to ultimately create the page that is displayed to visitors. This article includes tons of links to other articles that explain how you can use templates to do just about anything with WordPress.

Theme Development - Obviously, this one is relevant to all of us. If you haven't worked on your own theme yet, be sure to read this article. It covers the anatomy of a theme, style sheets, templates, and general guidelines for theme development.

Designing Themes for Public Release - There's a big difference in designing a theme for your own use and designing one to be distributed to other users, whether it's a free theme or a paid theme. This article covers the basics of what you should be doing to prepare a theme for other users. It even goes into the topic of promoting your theme once it's developed.

Other Resources for Creating and Customizing Themes

The official WordPress codex isn't the only place to find information and tutorials regarding theme development. There are tons of blog articles that cover the topics very well. Here is a small collection of some of the better articles.

Blog Design 101: Creating Your Own WordPress Theme

Customize Your Own WordPress Theme

Secrets of WP Theming - Part 1

Optimize WordPress for Search Engines

Color Resources

Although they are not specific to WordPress designers, there are a number of free tools online that can help you with the difficult decisions involving color schemes. Save yourself some time and allow these tools to aid you in the process


Color Schemer Gallery

Website Color Picker

What Are Your Favorite Resources?

What else have you found to be very helpful for new WordPress theme developers?


  • Steveorevo
    9 years ago
    Dreamweaver users might like ThemeDreamer. It enables you to further personalize almost any theme by just loading it up and manipulating it like it was just plain 'ol HTML. It makes visualizing CSS easy. It also takes it one step further by emulating the actual parameters that you pass template tags so that the effects can be seen visually in realtime.
  • davebrenner
    9 years ago
    Nice post, I think you did a good job of simplifying where to find the basics in WordPress Codex. Here are some SEO plugins I find invaluable when building a WordPress site.
  • bh4k
    9 years ago
    Often times, a color scheme will look great on kuler and then I go to add it to a design in photoshop and I realize that without the huge black background of the kuler site itself, the colors look completely different. :P
  • vandelay
    9 years ago
    That's another good resource. I love the color tools that are available, I think they're some of the most useful tools out there for designers. The problem for me is I could spend hours looking at them because there's so much there.
  • bh4k
    9 years ago
    Great post! For color combos I also love
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