As an artist, you know the feeling a striking visual can invoke in people. And while the artwork you create will no doubt convey your intended message, your website must also present your portfolio in the right light. By neglecting your website’s design, you may as well draw a curtain over your best work.
A theme to display your artwork must have the right balance of functionality and customization, enabling you to craft the best design to complement your art. However, finding the needle within the haystack can be nigh-on impossible if you don’t know where to look.
Fortunately, the hard work has been done for you – we’ve sorted through the vast pile of themes developed with the needs of artists in mind, bringing you 27 of the best on the market today.
If you’ve been around WordPress for more than five minutes, you’ve no doubt heard of Divi. This multipurpose theme has a stellar reputation, but given its wide scope, can it really be suitable for artists?
The answer is: yes! For a start, your inner designer will be unleashed once you explore the monolithic Divi Builder. This drag-and-drop page builder includes over 46 content elements for building your pages. However, if you’d like to get up and running as quickly as possible, there are also over 20 pre-built layouts to choose from.
Displaying your portfolio is also no problem. Divi includes a number of customizable templates for doing so. There are full-width gallery, grid, and carousel layouts (with boxed versions available), and your portfolio can be filterable as well. The layouts are basic, but look stunning, and can be tweaked to perfection with the in-built Divi Builder options.
There’s no doubt that Divi delivers. We’re pleased to say it can be the ideal choice for artists who need design flexibility and power, and we wholeheartedly recommend it for creating your website.
As an artist, a standout website is paramount for capturing attention and offering a snapshot of your style. As such, a killer theme such as Kalium will arguably be the most important website choice you’ll make.
Although other themes offer modern functionality and features, Kalium feels as though it’s on the ‘bleeding edge’. Plus, it’s easily configurable to your needs. To get started quickly, you can install one of 13 pre-built demos, although you’re also able to create your own layout using the bundled Visual Composer plugin. As for design customization, you can choose from over 1,500 fonts courtesy of Google and FontSquirrel, and with a premium upgrade you can also add over 2,500 Typekit fonts.
Of course, that’s not all. Kalium includes a dedicated admin panel that enables you to customize design elements such as colors, headers and footers, blog and portfolio pages, your storefront, and much more besides. Finally, the theme has been translated into 16 languages, and is fully compatible with the WPML plugin.
Overall, Kalium has a number of elements that feel familiar to other themes. However, this theme has an air of quality that many others just can’t match. We can wholeheartedly recommend Kalium, and urge you to check it out pronto!
In terms of enabling your art (rather than your site's design) to do the talking, Dorsey is a front-runner. There's not an awful lot to it – a simple navigation menu to the left (which disappears on smaller devices) and your art to the right.
You could see this as a good or bad thing, but beyond that, there are some nice touches. For example, when hovering over your artwork on the homepage, left/right arrows and a gallery icon will appear depending upon the placement of the mouse cursor. This intuitively enables visitors to navigate through the images on your site with ease, which has to be your number one priority when it comes to showcasing your art.
But Dorsey isn't basic to the point of unusable. It comes complete with blog and shop templates, so your site can be much more than just a placeholder for your artwork. You'll either love or hate the extremely minimalistic design, but if you're in the ‘love' camp, you may need to look no further than Dorsey. (Having said that, you'll need to really love it, as its price is far higher than many of the alternatives.)
As you browse through the almost limitless number of available themes, you’ll find that many focus on the same sub-niches – usually quirky design agencies or freelancers. However, for those specializing in more serious concepts, you’ll need a theme that can do your work justice, such as Blaze.
When you first open up one of the 12 demo layouts, you’ll likely notice the almost total absence of color from any of the templates. This monochrome approach is ideal for more formal works. Of course, it can also be changed to your exact needs via the built-in admin panel, along with a number of other elements. For even deeper tweaking of your design and layout, the bundled Visual Composer plugin provides plenty of options. All the demo layouts can be installed with one-click, and are fully customizable.
Due to the default color scheme, media will look prominent – making this an ideal portfolio theme. Rollovers are smooth, and for the most part the default headings are bold and clear. This is definitely a theme for showcasing your work at the expense of all else – although given the bundled plugins and back-end options, the world is your oyster in this regard.
In short, Blaze provides an option that’s distinct from many other themes. It’s a great-looking solution, and should be considered by those wishing to display their work prominently, regardless of their style of work.
Artists can fall into a wide range of categories – graphic designers, painters, musicians, and filmographers, to name a few. In Uncode, you’ll find a theme designed to appeal to any type of creative – with flexible layout design, stylish visual elements, and extensive branding options.
Uncode’s design is based around an included version of the Visual Composer plugin, tailored to provide you with only the layout options you need, and six menu styles – including an off-canvas option to keep your menu from obstructing your content. With the included LayerSlider and Revolution Slider plugins, you can display your best work prominently, and images can be showcased within a customizable lightbox, courtesy of the bundled iLightBox plugin.
The theme has extensive font choices from Google Fonts, Typekit, Font Squirrel, and Fontdeck, and the option for a cutting-edge SVG logo – so your branding can be pin-sharp, regardless of the users’ device.
To appeal to as many creatives as possible, Uncode has enhanced media library support, enabling integration with Spotify, SoundCloud, Instagram, and more.
Finally, the developers have also included 30-plus demos (each with one-click import) in order to help you get up and running in a hurry. If you need further assistance, their website has extensive documentation, along with a number of narrated video tutorials.
In a nutshell, Uncode is a commendable and worthy theme for all creative types showcasing their work.
Wave is the perfect antidote to Dorsey if a uber-minimalistic style doesn't take your fancy. While it is hardly razzle-dazzle, it is a far more colorful and engaging design of its own accord (i.e. before you start uploading your artwork).
Wave serves as an eye-catching display for your artwork without looking overly commercialized. Furthermore, it is beautifully responsive, adjusting seamlessly to all popular device resolutions and screen sizes. It's clear to see that the developers put an above-average amount of time into ensuring that people can view your art on whichever device they choose to access your site with.
Beyond that, this theme offers a vast number of display styles across its blog and gallery templates. You can go from one column all the way up to four, with various options for content placement. The shop template is as clean as the rest of the design, and certainly won't put people off from making a purchase.
Marble is a fantastic example of stunning simplicity in action. If you have a lot of art to share and you have confidence in it standing on its own two feet (rather than having to be supported by a complex design), it could be the right theme for you.
You can immediately tell that Marble was designed with mobile displays in mind – while the desktop version of the site looks superb, the design adapts and degrades beautifully to smaller devices. Beyond that, the developers have done very little to get in the way of what really matters: enabling visitors to browse through your artwork with intuitive ease.
The theme offers multiple layout options for the homepage, blog and shop. If you like the look of this design, its flexibility will ensure that you can make it work closely or precisely to your requirements.
Weston is a multipurpose theme for creatives that packs in the functionality and includes a couple of popular plugins to help you enhance your website’s design.
Themes focused on creatives are often minimalist, and in that regard, Weston doesn’t disappoint. There are 12 demo layouts, called ‘concepts’, to choose from, typography is clear and easy to read throughout, and negative space is used to perfection. It’s understated, meaning all of the focus is placed on your work – just as it should be. For further layout tweaking, you can press the bundled Visual Composer plugin into service, and create compelling visuals that incorporate your work by utilizing the Slider Revolution plugin.
As for the portfolio, there are really only two: a masonry layout and a four-column design. However, what Weston lacks in number of choices, it makes up for with excellent design – they all look sleek and stylish, and the masonry layout also comes with a full-width template. The single project pages also look lovely, with your work displayed prominently without overwhelming any associated textual content.
Weston is minimalist at heart, and that includes its design and overall functionality. However, it’s just the ticket for minimalists, and could even find a home with those needing something busier, given its bundled plugins.
Creative themes often fall into two camps – visual-heavy or text-based. However, it’s not often that you find extremes at either end. Werkstatt looks to buck that trend, and succeeds in providing a stellar-looking theme in the process.
As we alluded to, this theme is completely focused on visuals, to the point that there is little space for additional text. This makes it an excellent portfolio theme. The default layout offers a full-screen masonry grid for your portfolio’s elements, so showcasing your very best work is going to be easy. There are other demo templates to choose from, including some that look more ‘traditional’, but each has a unique style that many other themes can’t replicate.
As you’re designing your site, you can use the demo templates in their default setup, or tweak your layouts further (or build your own) using the bundled Visual Composer plugin. There are also a number of pre-built portfolio styles to choose from, along with a myriad of customization options to make sure your portfolio matches your initial concept.
In a nutshell, while Werkstatt is capable of providing a solid foundation for many types of sites, it really excels at portfolios. We think it’s one of the best available for showcasing your work, and as such, should be at the very top of your shortlist!
Recital looks good – that much is clear at first glance.
However, developing a great theme is about far more than creating a good aesthetic. You need to conform to all of the usual expectations in terms of responsive design, retina-ready images, etc., and provide suitable customization options so that the end user can tweak the theme to their satisfaction.
Fortunately, Recital matches its good looks with a plethora of customization options. It is fully responsive and retina ready as you would expect, and also translation ready – often a good sign that the developers have really paid attention to detail. But that's just the beginning. This theme offers light and dark skins (along with options for creating your own custom skin). It comes complete with an admin panel from which you can brand your site as well as change colors, fonts, etc. Speaking of fonts, Recital is set up out of the box with all of Google's 600+ fonts.
Then there's shortcodes, a unique 100+ strong icon set, custom widgets and more. Recital is definitely and all bells-and-whistles theme, but its elegant design belies the strength of customization – the best possible combination.
The Curator is a unique theme: it offers you the ability to showcase your artwork in chronological order.
This will either work for you or not. But if it does, The Curator offers you a rare opportunity to present your content in a somewhat unconventional and eye-catching manner.
The Curator's functionality is obvious to any visitor: thumbnail images are presented horizontally, and the user can scroll through them using the interactive timeline at the bottom of the page. Clicking on a thumbnail opens up a light box on the same page with a larger view of the image. The interface works impressively well on desktop and mobile devices.
The blog and e-commerce templates are less impressive about the homepage, but this theme's key selling point is clearly its homepage.
The first thing that struck me about Wright was its price: with most themes in this collection costing between $50-60, Wright has to prove that it is head and shoulders above the alternative options. (In case you are wondering, this theme is a sibling of the above-featured Dorsey.)
Upon inspection, there is nothing in particular about Wright that justifies it being worth its sticker price. It's not a bad theme – far from it in fact – but it doesn't really do enough to justify its cost.
Wright theme puts your artwork front and center, allowing just a little room at the top and bottom for a logo, navigation elements, social media icons, etc. And that's really all there is to it. Check it out if you're a minimalistic design fan, but make sure you check out the cheaper alternatives too.
Elegant does a great job of living up to its name. Having said that, how elegant your website ends up looking is largely down to the imagery you use, because Elegant is a full-width theme that provides a practically blank canvas for your artwork.
Developed by Themify, Elegant comes complete with their proprietary drag-and-drop website builder, which means that you don't need much in the way of technical chops to put your site together. Furthermore, it doesn't skimp on page templates, with options available for blog posts, a features page, an agency page, an artist page, a magazine page and an e-commerce store.
From a more practical perspective, Elegant has a 30 day money back guarantee and a year of support and updates, and you get a free alternative theme thrown in with your purchase.
Wonder is on the cheaper end of the options available, but don't let that fool you: there's a lot to love about this theme.
The first thing you'll notice is a striking and engaging homepage, with eye-catching CSS3 animations when you hover over the gallery of images directly below the logo, nav and copy. The single column design keeps things simple while ensuring that all of the visitor's attention is on your artwork.
Then there's the plethora of additional feature and options that come packaged with this theme. Beyond many of the things you would expect (theme customization, various page templates, etc.), Wonder comes complete with six free plugins that you can use to boost the functionality of your site.
Peak employs a Pinterest-style layout to cram an awful lot of imagery into one screen. This will either appeal to you or leave you feeling a little claustrophobic.
Ease of functionality certainly seems to be the main focus here – artwork is displayed to the right, while navigation options are to the left. The primary nav menu offers the traditional links that you would expect, while the secondary menu enables visitors to filter by categories (in the demo content, examples include illustration, photography and so on).
There's not an awful lot more to this theme than initially meets the eye, but that isn't intended as a negative statement. Browsing through Peak feels like a smooth and intuitive process – ideal if you want visitors to focus on your artwork rather than the design.
Crush is billed as “the portfolio theme to end all portfolio themes.” But talk is cheap; especially when it comes to WordPress theme copy. Does Crush get close to fulfilling its promise?
While no one theme can be deemed the ‘ultimate' – rendering all other designs valueless – Crush is certainly not without its charm. In fact, there's rather a lot to like about it: from the striking mouseover effects on homepage portfolio images to the visual consistency of the blog template.
Crush could be described as a bolder and more vibrant version of Rangefinder above, which is quite the compliment. It's well worth a look.
Keen offers a flat, minimalistic design – what you see is what you get. While it won't be to everyone's taste, if it catches your eye at first glance, it could be the theme for you.
Keen has clearly been designed to adapt to any device, with a full-width display on desktops and laptops devolving elegantly into consistently scaled-down versions on smaller screens. Visitors accessing your site will not get the sense that they're accessing two different sites when using multiple devices; something that many themes cannot boast.
That said, one can't help but feel that a greater sense of style has been lost in an effort to create a device-agnostic design. Both the layout and fonts are somewhat unimaginative, which might be seen to bring the perceived quality of your featured artwork down. It really depends what you're looking for in your theme, but Keen is arguably not one of the stronger candidates in this collection.
Alona is evocative of artistry at first glance – the design itself is effectively ‘framed' within the browser window. This creates a pleasing effect that is bound to catch the eye of your visitors.
This theme isn't short on templates or functionality either. There are two homepage designs and four different portfolio styles to choose from, and you'll also find a blog template along with an (admittedly underwhelming) Services page. Alona also comes packaged with a modest selection of shortcodes.
With its unique ‘frame' design, Alona offers something a little different to the usual theme fare and is well worth consideration.
A surprising number of WordPress portfolio themes don't actually include e-commerce templates, but KON/CEPT isn't one of them. And that's just the tip of the iceberg – this particular theme offers a great deal more than out-of-the-box e-commerce functionality.
The first thing you'll notice is the striking flat design that makes up the homepage. The focus is clearly intended to be on your artwork, without anything else getting in the way (as should be the case). Individual portfolio pages are well thought-out, demonstrating that the developers haven't just set out to create a flashy homepage while ignoring the finer details.
The shop template is nearly as simple as the rest of the site, with some simple filter options at the top of the page differentiating it. There is a pleasing congruency of simplicity throughout the theme – the design never seeks to overpower what really matters: your art.
If you're attracted to the rather simple styling, Candela has quite a lot going for it. The fully responsive design reacts nicely to different mobile devices, and the Pinterest-style layout with manual infinite scrolling will be comfortably familiar to many of your visitors.
And while Candela may seem somewhat imaginative at first glance, it does offer unique features: a fly-out menu, a fly-out sidebar and flyout social media buttons. This truly is a sign of the times – Candela has sought to relegate all of these elements to button-activated status in order to provide a consistent experience across all devices. You'll either love or hate this concept.
Beyond that, there isn't an awful lot else that can be said for this theme. At $79 it's one of the more expensive options available to you, and given its relative simplicity, one might reasonably question why.
If nothing else, you can commend the developers of Artist for creating something unique. In a world where flat, minimalistic design is well and truly en vogue, Artist is a bit more, well, artistic.
Of course, choosing to adopt a unique, strong style means that Artist won't appeal to everyone. There are also arguably limitations in terms of what media you can use with this theme – many images simply won't sit well within the context of the design.
If you find yourself immediately drawn to Artist then it may well be the right choice for you, but one might feel that it won't be right for the majority of people.
King Size, as you might reasonably expect from the name, features a full-width, image heavy design.
The main image on the homepage is in fact a slider, enabling you to feature key pieces of art in all their glory to new visitors. The lapel-styled navigation menu is superimposed over the image, meaning that you can't really have an awful lot going on on that particular part of the screen.
Themes like King Size really succeed or fail on how well the design has been implemented beyond the homepage, and it doesn't fail to impress on that front. Highlights include six different gallery types, a custom portfolio post type, support for various shortcodes and much more. It's clear that a great deal of care and attention has been put into the design of King Size, and its striking homepage gives you good reason to consider it carefully.
At first glance, Filtered is not a theme that inspires. It is quite reminiscent of the official WordPress Twenty Twelve theme, with its box layout and rounded corners, and the textured background seems rather dated compared to many of the flashier full-image background designs.
So is there anything to redeem this theme? That's up to you, but competition is intense in the world of theme development, and Filtered probably only appeals to a narrow range of people. Beyond the overly-familiar design, the text will be too small for some people's eyes and the typography is uninspiring.
Furthermore, Filtered's $59 price tag places it in a higher pricing bracket than most other options as well. You can expect the all the usual bells and whistles – responsive design, theme customization, custom page templates and so on, but few people are likely to find this their top pick.
Does Snazzy live up to its name? If you're looking for an attractive and stylish design, you may well be inclined to answer in the affirmative.
There's not an awful lot to this theme, but that is part of the reason why Snazzy is so impressive. The gallery-style border-free portfolio section on the homepage is right at home with the current trend for flat design, and the navigation bar is functional and unobtrusive. The image mouseover effect is far more subtle and unassuming compared to many of the flashier hover styles on alternative themes.
Snazzy feels like a theme with nothing to prove. The developers knew they were onto a good thing and didn't over-egg the pudding with redundant styling and functionality. The result is a simple yet pleasing design that will work for people whose art fits in with the modern styling.
In case you don't know, yin and yang is the Chinese philosophy that opposing elements can actually be complementary. Given its name, you might expect the Yin & Yang theme to draw upon that theme.
What quickly becomes clear is that the allusion to the concept of yin and yang focuses entirely on the contrast of black and white. It's an interesting idea. With all of the images on the homepage gallery being rendered in grayscale, you might consider the design somewhat restrictive in terms of your art being able to fully express its character. On the other hand, the selective use of color (i.e. on single portfolio pages) could be considered to create a greater impact when the color of your art is finally revealed.
Beyond the color scheme, Ying & Yang offers up a simple yet pleasing design – nothing spectacularly groundbreaking, but it seems like the developers were keen to focus on the color (or lack thereof) while letting your artwork do the talking.
Puzzle is one of those themes that promises so much on the homepage, but just doesn't really deliver when you get under the skin.
The homepage reveals why the theme is named Puzzle – the artwork is combined to create a jigsaw-style montage of imagery that looks rather engaging. (It should however be noted that from a practical perspective, your own images may not fit well with the varying image dimensions.) However, clicking beyond the homepage and into single portfolio pages reveals an plain and uninspiring two column design. To be blunt, there is nothing original or even interesting about the design beyond the homepage.
Are there any saving graces? Puzzle is (as you would expect) fully responsive, but doesn't offer any advanced customization options or anything else that you would expect from a theme with a whopping $99 price tag. You're paying for a homepage, and that's about it.