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2013 Design Trends for WordPress Themes

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It’s the New Year and some of the hottest topics across web design blogs have been focused on the future of web design and the sorts of design trends you will expect to see in the next year (2013).

Throughout my time working with WordPress I’ve seen how themes have changed from one year to the next. Not only design trends but also in terms of overall styles and functionality. Looking over the latest trends in WordPress theme development as well as overall web design I’ve put together a list of what I think are some of the things we’ll be seeing a lot of when it comes to theming in 2013. As a theme developer  it’s important to stay on top of these trends not only because you want to provide users/customers with modern themes using all the latest WP functions and designed with the hottest trends… but also because that’s usually where the money is at!

Without further adieu, below are my WPExplorer approved predictions for WordPress theme design and development in 2013.

Metro Style

Microsoft sparked interest and imaginations with their Windows 8 design, and it’s sure to be popular in 2013. Bold blocky elements and minimal styling will be all over WordPress marketplaces this year, and I’m sure will see the metro influence in all areas (plugins, templates, and psds included).

Here are a few themes that are already ahead of the game:


Metro Style for sale on ThemeForest is a great minimal metro theme. The bright color and bold layout capture your attention and the theme is full of fun extras.


Nemo is a perfect example of a dark metro style theme, and is for sale on Themeforest. An elegant vertical navigation and grid layout are great features of this theme.


One Touch is a light an airy version of a metro style theme on Themeforest. Interesting sliders, hover effects, and lots of bright colors make this theme stand out.

Emerald Green

Pantone officially introduced its color of the year, so lots of themes are sure to use a bejeweled palette with varying shades of emerald, jade, and peridot.


A great theme example of this trend (and a few others, as you’ll see as you keep on reading) is one of our old themes – Bulletin. Touches of cool jade have been added throughout the WordPress theme elements, such as buttons, accordions, pricing tables, text selection color and tag cloud (seen below) and much more.


Bulletin is a beautiful tumblog inspired theme, and is perfect for blogs and portfolios. The theme is responsive and includes useful features such as a notification bar and Ajax post loading. Also, the theme supports a variety of post formats so you can text, images, links, videos – whatever you want to share with your readers.

Parallax Universe

Depth is another great trend I see exploding this year. Parallax effects allow different layers of a theme move at different rates to create a 3D like quality by altering your perception. And luck for you, some designers already have parallax themes available.


Slide One is an elegant one page portfolio theme on Themeforest that uses parallax to feature different background images for each  section. The images overlap each other as you scroll down through the site creating obvious delineations between content areas.


Mercurial is a one page corporate business theme available for purchase on Themeforest. The clean layout, bold typography, and fun parallax backgrounds are a great way to make a lasting impact on potential and new clients.


Pen & Paper is a portfolio theme for sale on Themeforest. This theme showcases a lighter parallax background effect as it transitions between various patterns rather than images.

Subtle Tone, Texture & Typography

Think subtle. Soft tones, barely there textures, and clean typography (goodbye Lobster and hello Helvetica). We use lots of resources here at WPExplorer but three of the best that relate to this trend are 0 to 255, Subtle Patterns and Font Squirrel.



0 to 255 provides designers with an easy way to find gradations of a specific color. Simply paste in the hex code for your color, or choose one at random from the massive grid on the homepage. The site then provides you with 29 variants of the color from subtle to dark.



Subtle Patterns provides web designers around the world with great patterns completely for free. Plus, they’re always adding to their collection so be sure check back often.



For typography, there are probably millions of fonts out there but it can be hard to find a font you like at a price you deem reasonable. Enter Font Squirrel – your one stop shop for excellent fonts that are both free and licensed for commercial use. Yes Google Fonts is good too, but since Font Squirrel has  a couple hundred more options it wins. View by popular, recently added, or use the search bar to narrow your search.

KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid

When in doubt, keep it simple stupid. 2013 will be full of clean, simple, uncluttered themes. This puts more focus on quality content. Take a look at some of the theme stores that have already jumped on the minimal bandwagon. Not only do they make clean themes, their own sites match their design aesthetics.


Themes Kingdom underwent a redesign and emerged with in a beautifully minimal site. They also offer some great themes with lots of clean lines and simple design touches.


MintThemes provides many clean and simple niche WordPress themes for band, churches, blogs, and more. Their own site is no exception to this rule.


ElegantThemes is a great source of minimal and of course elegant WordPress themes, including their own. Their collection is bursting with lovely and straightforward themes.

Your Predictions

What do you think of my predictions above? What do you think the WordPress trends in 2013 will be like? Let me know – I’d love to hear what you think!

Article by Kyla staff
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  1. Doug

    Just wondering why you don’t have your name in your masthead????

    Design asthetics ??? “new age” branding strategy ???

    I can’t recall seeing a design or web company not include their actual company name in a masthead.

    How do you explain this decision to clients who notice?

    • AJ Clarke | WPExplorer

      I’m not quite sure I’m understanding…But if I’m right you are asking why we use our logo and not our actual name at the top of the site? A few reasons..

      1. Looks better without.
      2. We want to focus on branding our logo.
      3. We have enough/exposure already that we can get away with this.
      4. If anyone is curious what our brand name actually is they can look at the URL they are at 😉

  2. Kawsar Ali | Desizn Tech

    Great write up. I am happy with the minimal trend and websites are becoming more useful. RWD is also becoming more popular.

    PS: Love wpexplorer, awesome themes and plugins. Keep up the good work

  3. Andrew

    Hey Kyla,

    nice article, thanks! Agree with most of the predictions. One more that I could add from the top of my head (also because it currently occupies a lot of space in my thoughts) is the mobile focus trend, which I suspect will only keep growing this year and beyond, as an increasing proportion of traffic comes from mobile devices.

    • Kyla Avatar Kyla

      Thanks for the comment – and that’s a good one! Mobile/responsive is definitely a huge trend with WordPress that we’re sure to see lots more of this year!

  4. Elizabeth

    As a web designer, it is critical to keep up with new styling trends to please customers. Thanks for some insight onto what the future may hold!

  5. chickiephi

    I totally agree on the logo only branding strategy… a user who can navigate to your url can certainly find the name of your company. A design company must stand on its visual/design graphics.

  6. Hassan

    I am so addicted to this whole “Metro” design thing and the “content not chrome” philosophy. It’s been a while since we’ve seen something “really” new and refreshing in terms of design. Haters are still gonna hate, but I think Microsoft has finally nailed it!

    • Kyla Avatar Kyla

      I definitely agree! I love the metro style that Microsoft has made popular, and I really hope we see it in more creative design interpretations this year. Thanks for the comment! 🙂

  7. agenzia web roma

    Very beautyfull themes. Thanks

  8. PASCAL Philippe

    Reponsive is the first one, but it seems obvious now.
    In fact, almost all those trends are related to touch devices : metro, typography, clean and simple…they all take advantage of small screen size and less ressources.

    I would stay away from parallax : impossible to browse on my iPad, so it is out.
    Same applies to big backgrounds : too much RAM usage and loading time.

    To me : responsive, clean and simple, tumblr/pinterest like because it isolate elements better than one page. And stay from Metro, because it will be outdated when W9 is out 😀

  9. Steve

    Flat design rocks this year.

  10. Amnor Co.

    Very beautyfull themes

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