We all know Themeforest, ElegantThemes, Woothemes and the other major theme designers. But there are hundreds if not thousands of other theme designers out there that are either obscure, new or quietly producing some of the best WordPress themes out there.
These theme designers offer high quality designs for a comparable price. However there is one huge benefit to using these little-known designers: their themes are largely unique. For example, some major providers sell thousands of themes each month. That means if you deploy that theme on your WordPress site, several thousands other sites are using the same design. On the contrary, choosing one of these designs means your site looks unique to a lot more people.
Check out some of these designers. We think you will be pleasantly surprised, and hopefully you learn of a couple new designers you never knew about.
If you’re looking for a jazzy, creative and completely original theme, check out YooTheme. Pingable’s design is actually a modification of a YooTheme product. They started by creating Joomla templates, then realized Joomla is dumb, bloated and a sinking ship. Now they make both, porting all of their previous Joomla templates onto the WordPress theme framework.
You may have seen their work over at SmashingMagazine.com, but they don’t tend to churn out a great deal of themes, just the occasional, high quality, funky looking design. They also do custom work starting at $1,500.
I have to admit, the name caught my eye. Obviously themes can’t be organic, but I appreciate the sentiment. I also appreciate their designs. I’m going to go ahead and make up a word now, simplism. That’s what comes to mind when I browse Organic Themes’ work.
Although their themes aren’t drop-dead gorgeous, they may be the right foundation for your custom work. Every vision needs a starting point. Every painter needs a canvas. And so on.
They also started with Joomla and just recently launched their WordPress membership package. Unlike most designers, you can’t buy these themes individually, you must join their “club”. This is a much more common model in the Joomla community. By joining the club, you get access to all their themes, but can only use them on a specific number of sites depending on which license you purchase. Similar to Elegant Themes. RocketTheme has always led the pack with Joomla designs, now they are bringing their expertise to WordPress.
Mojo Themes is one of the larger providers listed here. They also produce Magento and Tumblr themes and have a really killer deal going on at press time to celebrate their anniversary: 14 premium items worth $442 for $25. Similar to the themeforest bundles that occasionally come out.
I have seen their work elsewhere, but perhaps there has been a rebranding at some point. EVO in particular is familiar looking. Either way, there is some nice work and creativity displayed here.
If I hadn’t already invented the word “simplism”, I would invent it again to describe the work of Pagelines. Their work is both elegant and minimal, which is a lot harder to pull off than one might think. Kudos Pagelines. They also feature a drag-n-drop feature which is really nice. Although I haven’t personally tested it, it promises to be handy.
I’ve always been a fan of graph paper. The actual paper with the little squares on it. So neat, confined, clear. It really makes one feel secure. Oh, and the design shop isn’t bad either. Their stuff looks really classy. You can never trust a design shop that uses someone else’s theme on their own site. GraphpaperPress’ work is truly unique.
The WP Ninja
Your run of the mill, standard WordPress themes, with a little kick added in. There is something for everyone over there, a good mix of functional, blog and professional themes. Definitely worth checking out.