WordPress: Most Popular Free WordPress Themes

This overview features the most popular (and still relevant) collections of free WordPress themes that have been published on Smashing Magazine in the last years.

Quick Overview

In this article, the first in our WordPress “Best of” series, we’ll go over WordPress newspaper themes. We’ll bring you the 30 best WordPress newspaper themes, as well as two news-aggregator themes. We haven’t included “news magazine” themes, but we’ll get to those in our upcoming article on magazine-style themes.

Smashing Magazine newspaper

The themes are categorized a bit differently than what you may be used to. The line between magazine and newspaper themes is blurry, but we’ve tried to make that distinction. For our purposes, magazine themes look something like Smashing Magazine, whereas newspaper themes look like the Daily Telegraph, New York Times and so on.

You’ll find some great themes in here. And if you know of any others, do drop a link in the comments. At the end of the year, we’ll publish a round-up of all the best WordPress themes.

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It’s interesting to look back at our previous WordPress themes round-ups. It’s almost like looking at a visual timeline not only of WordPress’ advances in theme design, but of the rapid development in functionality of the CMS itself. The themes from year to year clearly differ in style as Web design trends have evolved. As each year passes and more functionality is added to WordPress’ core, these improvements are strongly reflected in the themes developed for it.

Portfolium

Once upon a time, all WordPress themes looked like traditional blogs, with basic functionality and not a heck of a lot more. But as you will see from the themes below, that original “blog” design style is clearly gone, perhaps never to be seen again. It makes you feel nostalgic.

Nowadays, user requirements for WordPress themes are very high. Users expect all themes (including free ones) to have pages for admin options built in, where you can quickly set up your website and personalize it with a minimum of fuss. With the rise of these options pages, niche-specific theme designs (such as for portfolios, blogs or magazines) are no longer required and are, in fact, few and far between.

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It’s hard to believe that a year has passed since our last WordPress theme collection, but there you have it — the time has come again. Once a year we feature the most useful and interesting WordPress-themes that we are collecting over months and present them in a nice quick overview. The collections from 2007, 2008 and last year are still useful, but some of the themes are outdated or updated now.

Imbalance

Looking back over these previous theme articles, you can clearly see how and why WordPress has rapidly matured into the CMS powerhouse it is today. With all of the features that have been added and improvements made with every new WordPress version and with its ever-increasing popularity among the design and development community, the quality of free themes is evident. Developers are continually pushing WordPress’ boundaries, giving us today’s outstanding free theme collection.

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High quality free Wordpress Themes have become harder and harder to find in the past year, with the influx of premium themes, more and more designers and developers are selling themes (and rightly so, they do amazing work). However, the quality of freely available themes has improved as well; in fact, some themes are very advanced and professional and can serve as a solid foundation for your next designs.

Mainstream

There are a lot of choices out there for someone wanting to choose a Wordpress theme for their blog. But, that aside, the quality is certainly there, and we are sure you will be impressed with this Wordpress theme compilation.

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In January 2008, we put together a list of 100 Excellent Free Wordpress Themes. Over a year has passed and Wordpress development has progressed very fast and gained even more in popularity. We felt it was the right time to put together an updated post and offer our readers the best free themes that Wordpress can offer.

Free Wordpress themes

High quality free Wordpress Themes have become harder and harder to find in the past year, with the influx of premium themes, more and more designers and developers are selling themes (and rightly so, they do amazing work). But, that aside, the quality is certainly there, and we are sure you will be impressed with this Wordpress theme compilation for 2009.

Read more…

You might be interested in the following “Best of” selections as well:

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