Making a theme is really exciting. It’s a great way to practice your coding skills. It could be a good way to bring in some extra pocket change. Best yet, seeing someone use something you’ve built is incredibly rewarding. I’ve watched the quality of theme design get better and better in the WordPress.org directory in the last few years, but I still see a lot of themes that look the same. Free themes still lag behind premium themes in terms of design quality. You can help change all that. You don’t need a design background to make good design decisions: a developer conscious of design can still make a good-looking theme. Here are a few general tips and tricks you can apply to your themes to give them a solid design base, regardless of your background. Pick a Direction When planning out your new theme, have a specific user or use case in mind. That use case shouldn’t be “a theme for everyone.” Your use case can still be pretty broad — “a modern theme for small businesses” is still targeted enough for your ideal user to solve a specific goal by using your theme. Alternately, you can get super specific, giving yourself a prompt like “a food blogging theme targeting smartphone photographers.”
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